Beer company Guinness’s new commercial “The Ticket,” made for its huge Nigerian market and first unveiled in early January this year, used local actors and crew, has Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba versions (the first time Guinness made ads in local languages), and contains a realistic storyline: A loyal brother who makes sure he doesn’t forget his small town and his mum, despite his new found city ways. And a moral lesson: “A boy dreams, but a man does.” Familiar tropes about work, beer and masculinity. Locals are praising the ad for its high production values, multi-lingualism and boost to Nigeria’s ad industry. But the ad also achieves something else the marketers probably did not set out to do with its part aspirational story highlighting Nigeria’s “can do spirit” (that’s the producers’ words): it dramatizes the transport struggles of Nigerians that are now at the heart of the #OccupyNigeria movement. Guinness for the people.
* Of course brands have always been quick to jump all over the aspirations of political movements–Star Beer in Nigeria of course, as Sophia has illustrated for Egypt, and I know very well for South Africa. BTW, no more Michael Power?