The days of letting those who only wrote TV/radio ads tell you what to be proud of are over
First of all I want to say a big thank you to Portos, the Nigerian god of portfolios. Then to Seyi Owolawi who I owe many thank yous for days. And to you, who always take time to read my work.
Having people who take time to read your story isn’t easy in this life. Let me tell you something, people have a lot of things they’re doing: Big Brother is impressing; and Twitter is serving gist about one lady who just got scammed because she wanted to show she has money. There’s simply too much to catch up with.
Now, on a second thought, I think I owe you many more thank yous and I will be saying it as long as I continue to live.
Anyways, one fine August day on Jackland, some people decided to trend something that said “Look at your copy, are you proud of it?” or that kind thing. This thing startled me.
No. It’s not because I didn’t have a copy to look at. Depending on the side you’re looking at it from, I have a portfolio that’s above decent by many steps. And when you look at my range too, it’s quite insane. But I still didn’t have the confidence to join the show.
The moment I started writing for advertising, I’d told myself if the work didn’t see outside then it won’t make it to my portfolio. I also told myself no “proactives” — work that nobody saw but is “creative”. And even worse, I chased television spots and print ads a lot. Why, because they’re what people way above me (creative directors, hiring officers & agency heads who had 15–20 years headstart) rated and since I want to play where the big boys play, the platforms my work appeared on determined how much I liked and respected the work.
This was a mistake.
Look, there were days where I wrote fire flacks; web essays; and press releases — which is a PR role by the way. There were also high-engagement social media posts and stuff like that. I particularly hated the social media posts for no valid reason other than the fact that I ranked TVCs and print above everything digital. Therefore, all of these were unaccounted for in my portfolio.
However, these things happen. When you keep hearing “is it not just a social media post?” or “anybody can do that” from those who create 100-slide decks to convince clients about how the future is digital and how clients must “adapt or die” you’re bound to rank your digital banners and social media posts lowly when putting your portfolio together.
I only realised this in July, which was a great month for me portfolio-wise. A couple more TV spots and squeeze backs added. Even more YouTube bumper ads and digital boards. But I have told myself, it’s the bumpers, the social media posts, the web banners and other digitally-signed work I will add to my portfolio because why not?
A few months back, I was wondering why my 15-day content calendar was worth less than a single print ad in the eyes of people who only did TV and radio commercials; where they’re lucky, they get some prints. When I saw one of the copywriters on the VW account during the legacy years of DDB Bob Levenson’s portfolio. I saw that he did over 50 print ads for a single client. Why? It’s simple, it’s print that was reigning that time. The equivalent of that today would be a series of 15/30-day social media calendars or e-commerce banner ads. And if you feel like you can reduce the respect you have for my work because it didn’t appear in print or on television, then sorry, choke on your dishonesty.
The days of letting people who only wrote radio and television commercials be telling me which of my work to be proud are over. You too, you can’t be letting them tell you that. I mean, look at it, they only wrote TVC and radio and print ads that they can’t beat their chest and say 5 million Nigerians saw these commercials. But you, you’re writing TVCs, you’re writing print, you’re writing YouTube Bumpers and TrueViews, you’re writing social media captions and posts, you’re writing digital banners, you’re writing Zikoko sponsored listicles, you’re writing email newsletters, influencer tweets and many more. And the good thing is, you can beat your chest and say 10 million people saw my ads in Nigeria and 5 million of those viewed it from Lagos. My contemporaries, you have two heads.
Stack your portfolio with your social media posts for the accounts you work on; the captions you like; the fire tweet that got mad engagements etc. Screenshot them and give them a prominent spot in your portfolio. Because why, it’s digital that’s reigning. Those who like their fine prints and TVCs can travel back to 1960s for work that NTA no longer have in their archives.
And what did I say? The days of letting people who only wrote TVCs tell you what to be proud of in your portfolio are over.