SEVEN THINGS WE LEARNED FROM THE HEADIES 2015

headies

1. Hire your fashion stylist from an asylum

It is difficult to tell what memo was sent out on the night, but the dress and grooming on display clearly looked like someone who broke loose from an asylum got the gig of fashion consultant. But when the award hosts came on stage dressed like they raided Denrele’s wardrobe, it gives us an idea what to expect.
And to the ladies bringing the award on stage, did the memo say the awards are the Hoodies or the Headies? Also, when you frown that way, we can tell the occasion is a serious one. Continue reading

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DEALING WITH CELEBRITY HIGH RISK LIFESTYLE

Muna

Munachimso Obiekwe, prolific, even if controversial Nollywood actor died on Sunday January 18 due to complications arising from kidney failure. He is survived by a wife and two children. My sympathies are with them at this difficult time.

There is, understandably, sustained media focus on the incident. He is after all a fine actor (and I mean that literarily too.) No role was too controversial for him; he would play the role of a homosexual with almost the same fervour he acted as a randy womanizer. An intensely private person, he managed to keep the press out of his business- that is until his business spilled into the news. Continue reading

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UPSETTING A CULTURE OF SILENCE

stephe

Renowned Nollywood actress, Stephenie Okereke-Linus recently issued a statement following the alleged raping of a 300-level student of the University of Lagos by her brother. It wasn’t the statement that got me curious so much as the way both the alleged rape incident was reported and how Stephenie’s statement was misconstrued.

While it is courageous to speak up on the matter especially as she has taken a stand on such matters in the past, serve as brand ambassador and is related to the accused, however the reporting of the incident in the media have been sadly unprofessional. Continue reading

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AFRIFF 2014: South African actress Xolile Tshabalala appointed ambassador

Xolile Tshabalala…Says “I’m excited about anything that brings Africa together”

As the world eagerly awaits November 9 to 16 when the much-publicised 4th edition of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) will come up, one remarkable move by the organisers to create a sense of harmony among filmmakers in the continent is the endorsement of notable South African actress, Xolile Tshabalala, as Goodwill Ambassador of the festival.

Tshabalala met with the AFRIFF team at the ongoing Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), where she held talks with the Project Director Afie Braimoh and the Artistic Director Keith Shiri who joined the team from London.

The actress, whose short film, Through Her Eyes, is screening at DIFF, was excited to join the team, having been eager to lend her voice to projects that promote Africa.

“I’m very excited as an artiste and as a female filmmaker. Also, as an African, I am so happy about anything that brings Africa together and puts us on the world map. I’m overwhelmed with joy for being a part of the AFRIFF team,” she said to reporters at the festival.

The star of Mnet’s Jacobs Cross and SABC1’s soap, Generation, alongside Nollywood actress Rita Dominic, will be the ambassadors for the festival.

Interestingly, Tshabalala resumed duty immediately, talking to people at the ongoing DIFF about the qualities that differentiate AFRIFF from other festivals.

The actress, who has already marked the festival date in her diary, further added that it would be her second time in Nigeria, when she arrives on November 8, a day to the festival’s opening ceremony.

AFRIFF holds at the popular Tinapa Business Resort in Calabar, Cross River State. The event will feature daily film screenings, workshops, master classes, exhibitions, film premieres, glamorous opening and closing ceremonies. It will round off with an award night that will celebrate winning film entries as well as their cast and crew.

Tshabalala’s Through Her Eyes, a ‘Man’s World’-themed film will also be showing at the festival.

Although her first stint with Nigeria was in Abuja, she cannot wait to witness Calabar, a city she learnt is the tourism hub of Nigeria.

“When Chioma Ude, the founder of AFRIFF, called me, I had no choice but to jump at the offer-perhaps, it is also because it’s woman power.

“Yes, the festival is being run by an amazing woman. So, I feel excited about an opportunity for me to share my experience and belief about the beauty of Africa. More importantly, I am excited because it will also offer the opportunity to show that AFRIFF has demonstrated that she can hold a film festival equal to internationally acclaimed festivals,” she said.

Born in Vrede in the Free State, the 37-year-old actress is best known for her role as Julia Motene in Generation. She also played alongside her mentor, Thembi Mtshali, in The Crucible at the Market Theatre.

She enrolled at the National School of the Arts and graduated with the honour of best overall performer. She has worked on other television productions, including Justice for All, Scoop Schoombie, Isidingo, Secret in my Bosom and Soul City, among others.

Xolile, as she is simply called, has received a number of acting awards, including Duku Duku Viewers Choice award (2003) and People Magazine Crystal Award for Best Soap Actress (2004), among others.

She took a break from acting in 2005 to attend the New York Film School, honing her skill as a film producer and director.

She played the role of Sister Zama in the seventh season of the SABC1 drama series, Soul City (in 2006) and played a guest role in the fifth season of the American drama series, NCIS, in 2007.

She starred as Mandi Mbalula, Mvelo’s (Yonda Thomas) father’s calculating accountant and second-in-command at Nobela Holdings in the SABC1 drama series, Fallen, in 2011.

She also starred as TT’s gorgeous wife Gugu, an ambitious player development executive who gives the casino’s high rollers whatever they want, but is unable to give TT the one thing he wants- a child- in the SABC3 drama, series High Rollers, in 2013.

Xolile is also popular for her campaign about being natural, leading that line with braids and Afro-hairstyles alone.

 

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DEATH BE NOT PROUD – A Tribute to Amaka Igwe

Amaka-IgweIt was John Donne, the English poet, satirist and lawyer who stared down at you and reprimanded you thus: Death be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadfull, for thou art not so.

Indeed, John Donne was right about one thing; you are not mighty otherwise you would pick an opponent very much prepared. If you had really known Amaka Igwe, known the beauty of her mind, the generosity of her heart, the strength of her convictions or the promise of tomorrow, you would have known this is a fatal error. But poor death, you have no reason to be proud, you’ve only stolen a prized possession. There is no pride in larceny.

Though some have called thee mighty… and I’m still wondering why they do. How could anyone call you mighty, poor death? Death and might do not even belong in the same sentence. Where’s the might in sneaking up a giant from behind? Do you whisper an invitation for a duel or lash out at an opponent who has not even girded his sword? No, you cannot be called mighty by any stretch of the imagination. To call you mighty will be to do violence to the concept of might.

I really can’t fathom why anyone will call you mighty, where’s the might in seeking to halt the pelting march of thunders by an eclipse? Does a river course up a mountain to prove the point of its necessity? How does truncating a dream become an art of great courage? Why should anyone want to deify the source of pain or write an ode to the enemy of bliss? No death, be not proud.

When some call thee dreadfull, they are speaking the truth, for indeed thou art dreadfull. You have to be dreadful to conceive bringing an end to such gaiety, such intelligence, such grace, such talent, such passion, such a woman, such as Amaka Igwe. How can you not see that doing this, is to do harm to the thousands who drank from her well of knowledge, to the many who saw in her what they could become, to all those people who saw in her life the blueprint from which success was built.

No death, how do you not know that by snatching this woman from God’s green earth, you were denying a man his wife, three children their mother, someone’s closest friend, someone’s sister, someone’s daughter, someone’s mentor, a people’s pride! How do you not know you leave the world poorer without Amaka in it?

Please know, poor death, that we rage, that our blood foams in anguish because this is one pain too many. Please know that we shall not forgive this. We shall not also forget. But we will wait – wait for the morning of glory when death shall be no more: death, thou shalt die! 

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DIMMING A HALF OF THE YELLOW SUN

HOAYSThere have been palpable outrage since the Nigerian producers of Half of a Yellow Sun movie, an adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s book of the same title, Shareman Media announced that the release of the movie has been postponed due to delays in obtaining certification from the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board.

There are conflicting reports about the reason for this situation and is worsened by the silence of the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board over the development. It has neither released a press statement nor issued a release on her website. The flaw in this strategy is that, as they say, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter unless the lion hires his own story teller.

The British broadcasting service and the New York Times articles the issue claimed that there is a fear the film could stoke up ethnic tensions in a country already plagued by terrorism.  And reports from some segments of the Nigerian media seemed to suggest that Thandie’s boobs are the reason for the ban.

The reality is this; the movie has not been banned; only the certification for public release has been delayed. What many do not realise is that this is a routine procedure in NFVCB. Many films submitted to the NFVCB for classification and approval for release in the country are delayed over elements the Board finds inimical to public interest. Films with really graphic scenes, nudity and brazen voodoo (a staple of so-called gospel films) are routinely sent back for removal of the offensive scenes before they are approved. HOAYS movie is generating this much noise because not only is the story interesting the producers have good PR system. It also helps that corporate sponsorship is involved.

While this is not an attempt at explaining the thinking (or lack of it) involved in the decision to delay the release of HOAYS movie, it is instructive to note that NFVCB has a tough job balancing the right of freedom of expression guaranteed in the constitution and managing the government’s paranoia over access to information by Nigerians. The Board at the end of the day is an agency under the Ministry of information, a government ministry that thinks its key function is to keep information from Nigerians.

According to the website, the Board’s mission is to contribute to the positive transformation of Nigerian society through the censorship and classification of film and video works, whilst balancing the need to preserve freedom of expression within the law, and limit social harm caused by films. Different countries censor movies based on the reality in their countries. Indonesia, a multicultural and multi-religious nation with 209 million Muslims banned the movie Noah because it contradicted the flood stories in both the Koran and Bible. The Malaysian censors board also banned the movie because they fear it can cause turmoil in a multi-religious country whose 30 million population has 60 percent Muslims. So the reality is, the peculiar nature of the country determines the logic in censoring movies rather than just what seemed universally acceptable.

It is true that the theme of the civil war is still a sore point but the wounds of the war still fester largely due to the unfathomable refusal by the government to encourage the process of dialogue/diagnosis and subsequent healing. Under Hitler’s Nazi regime, the Jews were targeted for extermination through genocide but today there are museums recounting the experience. The Americans have not tried to wipe out the memory of their brutal civil war, its part of their high school curriculum. At some point in a nation’s history, the people have to decide to confront the reality of their existence, perhaps this is why HOAYS movie should have been encouraged.

However, the producers should have envisaged that the theme of the film will attract more than a fleeting interest. The argument that since the book never generated an ounce of vitriol from the powers that be, the movie adaption should get equal treatment is not only disingenuous but shows a poor grasp of reality. In a country where the vast majority do not read, few may have heard of the HOAYS book. Also, among the media channels, the broadcast media has the greatest power to influence hence governments both democratic and dictatorial view it with suspicion. It has the power to reach millions of widely dispersed people at once and visual presentation of the story makes it more compelling.

Hence, the producers of the movie should have consulted with the board at the script development stage and if possible seek government buy-in. Admittedly, the film may end not being very faithful to the original work but that is the point of adaptation anyway, it is only a derivative of the original work. This is especially so since the board in its guidelines for classification clearly states: Whilst the Board does not have any taboo subjects, it is important that producers who intend to deal on certain sensitive subjects or themes consult with the Board prior to full productions in order to avoid situations where such finished materials are refused classification.

The option opened to the producers of the film is to extract portions of the movie that the Board finds offensive. They could appeal the decision, but what makes this option ridiculous is that the appeal is to the same institution that refused it classification. Will it distort the original story or create a watered down version of the intent of the producers? Possibly, but from an economic sense, it will help to recoup the investments in the production of the film – which, regardless of everything said and done, is a key reason for producing the film in the first place.

Isaac Anyaogu, a financial consultant, also writes screenplays for feature films.

 

 

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WHAT NOLLYWOOD STARLETS CAN LEARN FROM LUPITA NYONG’O

Since playing the poignant role of Patsey to critical acclaim in Steve McQueen’s film 12 years a Slave, Kenyan-Mexican Actress Lupita Amondi Nyong’o has taken the world by a storm.

The decibel has been so loud that we easily forget that only eight years ago she was trolling movie sets as a production assistant. Few remembered that she was on the set of the successful Kenyan television drama Shuga in a career journey that has led to the winning of a Best Supporting Actress at the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards for her role in 12 Years a Slave.

Whether for her brains, or her talents or even her caramel skin, we love Luipita because it’s easy to find something to love. The reason the Twitterati took up arms against Vanity Fair magazine when the editors lightened her skin on their cover was because we don’t like people repairing what is not damaged. Despite living in a city where many folks prefer the skin whiter, Lupita has largely remained original.

Like many actors, 30 year-old Miss Nyong’o sweated for her garlands. Upon graduating from Hampshire College with a degree in film and theatre studies, she worked on the production crew of many films including Fernando Meirelles’s The Constant Gardener and Mira Nair’s The Namesake. This is what the concept of paying your dues actually mean. And it is not just limited to film making, lawyers do grunt-work for partners before they climb up the corporate ladders. It follows then that success often accompanies hard work. Of course there have been exceptions, but they are mostly that- exceptions. Therefore the desperation seen in many Nollywood starlets to hit fame quickly even at the cost of professionalism or moral integrity is actually a disservice to their careers.

It is interesting to note that Miss Nyong’o graduated from Hampshire College with a degree in film and theatre studies but subsequently enrolled in an acting programme at Yale School of Drama and graduated with an MFA. At Yale, she was exposed to the fundamentals of stage productions and had roles in many plays including Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. All that learning crystalized in 12 Years a Slave, for her evocative performance in that one feature film earned her more nominations that many actors ever got in their lifetime.

Many of Nollywood’s starlets are in such a hurry to chase fame that they get thrown under the bus. In the past there were reported cases of sexual harassment by producers but recently it seemed that it is the producers that are being harassed by these desperate wannabe stars. The thing about talent is that it needs training for it to be refined, hence talent is not enough. While beauty can enhance your chances of getting noticed, it is a poor substitute for talent. Education and training are largely complementary to talent and desire, so however, good you think you are, always strive to be better. Do not settle for less.

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10 Rules for accessing the N200billion entertainment fund

Media reports have it that only six applicants have successfully accessed N700 million of the N200 billion entertainment fund disbursed by the Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) for the entertainment industry.  Yet the entertainment industry is in dire need of these funds as the industry especially the film sector is in coma. For the purpose of clarity, the objective of the fund is to stimulate the entertainment industry by funding of production, distribution infrastructure, acquisition of hi-tech production equipment and project refinancing.

Many practitioners have decried the conditions attached to the fund hence this attempt to demystify the process:

1.      Change your orientation- It’s a loan not a grant.

Most applicants still consider the fund a grant. While a grant is non-repayable fund disbursed by the government or its agencies, corporation or foundation often for a specific project, a loan requires repayment, the meeting of certain conditions and here’s the best part – a security or collateral. A loan is generally provided at an interest. So, change the mind-set because if you view it as a loan it becomes easier to consider the terms.

2.     Apply as a corporation – Don’t own one, affiliate with one.

The fund is available to only incorporate companies so if you only registered a business name or enterprise you may not be eligible.  You need a memorandum and article of association, forms CAC2 and CAC7). The company must operate in the entertainment and creative industry. So that registration certificate of Alawada and Sons Limited your father registered in the 60’s to carry out the business of importation of Tokunbo vehicles will not apply.

Funding under the NEXIM bank facility only covers segments of the entertainment industry in the following categories: Music, Film, Television, Radio (Production and distribution) and also fashion segments. So, if you are in the fashion industry and you have been searching for funds for that fashion show, well, you’re welcome.

3.     Meeting the conditions is not rocket science – Hire a consultant

Non-compliance of stipulated guidelines by the practitioners in the entertainment industry it has been observed is the greatest constraints to accessing the funds. However this does not have to be difficult if you are smart enough to hire a consultant. A firm of chartered accountants and tax practitioners will help you to prepare audited accounts, statement of cash flow, statement of affairs and project feasibility study/business plan. These documents give a picture of the financial state of the business so that NEXIM bank can determine whether it is a viable enterprise. But ensure you do not patronize quacks, it will haunt you when the tax people come calling. Also, the lenders know a statement of accounts prepared by professionals. Call me.

4.      Collateral is not only the family house – Think outside the box

A major constraint to securing loans in this part of the world is our often skewed idea about what constitutes collateral. Usually a secured loan requires the borrower to pledge some assets, e.g., a car or a property. Unsecured loans are not secured against the borrower’s assets.

In the case of NEXIM bank, it is a secured loan hence you require an asset. But there are tangible assets such as a house or a car and intangible assets such as trademark or copyright. So, if you are looking to produce and distribute a film your collateral can include proprietary rights to your business or intellectual property right. Yep, the copyright to the screenplay, music score (soundtrack) can suffice if you pledge this to NEXIM bank. They will only need to secure it by a stipulated amount.  How nifty is that? And don’t forget the distribution rights – so you need a lawyer to protect you. Check rule 3.

5.     Work with structures – Corporations protect you

Incorporated entities have legal rights and liabilities that are distinct from its shareholders hence there’s the presence of a corporate veil that serves to shield its owners in times of adversities. Also corporations prefer to do business with corporations.

However, in the entertainment industry rather than corporations there are groups and associations mostly informal and lacking legal framework. This structure is defective and makes it difficult for other industries to engage the entertainment industry. Register your company.

6.     Set up a disbursement chain

So NEXIM bank has finally agreed to dole out the cash to you (of course, you followed Rule 3) but you need a collection account hence your company’s current account should not be dormant or to be on the safe side, open a dedicated account for it. Loan proceeds too could be disbursed directly to your service providers/contractors against job completion certification hence it is important that you hire only registered service providers.

7.      The best part of the loan is the interest – take advantage of it.

The total interest to be charged on any loan facility under the NEXIM bank scheme is in single digit. This means for loans with a maturity duration of 2 -1o years they shall not charge more than 9% interest rates. This is way too generous when you consider that currently banks lend at rates above 22% and in some instances up to 35% with conditions that for the lack of milder adjective we’ll leave at punitive.

There are charges associated with the loan, a processing fee of 1% flat on approved amount, annual management fee of 0.75% of outstanding loan amount payable at anniversary date of the facility drawdown on outstanding loan amount from time to time to cover project management and monitoring fees and legal fees charged to the account of the applicant for sundry legal filings and documentation.

8.     Checklist – the tricky items

Most of appraisal requirements are relatively easy so let’s dwell on the tricky parts. Valuation report on collateral to be pledged – this could be land/building, equipment or intellectual property. When the physical asset is not available, you must be ready to produce a valuation report that will show how your intellectual property secures the loan. You must also produce past audited accounts and the most recent management account/statement of affairs and tax clearance. Confused? See Rule 3.

9.     Have a sound business plan – It’s your best defense

If you’ve watched the popular series Dragon’s Den a Sony entertainment franchise where entrepreneurs pitch business ideas in order to secure investment finance from a panel of venture capitalists, then you’ll understand the importance of a business plan.  To be effective, it should give a detailed history of the project, the ownership structure of the company, details of activity, marketing arrangement, cash-flow and profitability analysis.

10. Protect your investment

Now that you have understood the value of a corporation, secure yours. Take out insurance indemnity; pay relevant taxes usually with a tax consultant supporting you as they may best advise you on allowances due you. Most importantly, keep a record of every transaction and regularly have your accounts audited. And don’t use the loan proceeds to pay for your wedding. Trust me, your bride will not be happy if she learns she was married on a loan.

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A NEW ROLE FOR THE NOLLYWOOD STAKEHOLDER

If you wish to support Nollywood and help the industry grow to develop her potentials, then you should shoot all the stakeholders.

 To the extent that the Nollywood stakeholder has become a barrier against progress and a means to accentuate dereliction, crass opportunism and elevation of mediocrity to the status of an art form, then we should shoot them. At every forum, at every event and in consort with all manner of persons especially when entertainment is the issue, the Nollywood stakeholders have been a hindrance rather than help. So, please let’s shoot them all.

There have been numerous schemes and projects designed to develp Nollywood  into a profitable industry. Many didn’t leave the paper on which they were written. Others were sabotaged by the very same people who designed them, often for their own selfish interests. Worse still, the industry is so fragmented, disorganized and barely regulated such that calling it an industry appears like an aberration. For some, flippancy is acquired disposition but for Nollywood, it seems genetic.

According to a report by BusinessDay, the Nigerian government through the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) proposed to invest N75 Billion funding facility to stakeholders in Nollywood to revamp the entertainment industry. The fund in November 2011 was set to be ready for disbursement, over six months later, it is still getting ready.

So much have been written about the $200 million largess President Jonathan announced for the entertainment industry that it seems trite to even mention it here. But needless to say, the fund, like a freight train that has gone off course, is heading nowhere.

It is instructive to note that Nollywood stakeholders have been blamed in all these schemes that hit the rocks. For the purpose of this report, let’s clarify the Nollywood stakeholder. A stakeholder is a person, group, organization, member or system who affects or can be affected by an organization’s actions. Invariably, we are all Nollywood stakeholders; the producer and his crew, the government and regulating agencies, the gang of Alaba marketers and pirates, the cinema operators and the distribution agencies, the community of Nollywood audience and critics alike, yes even Aki and Paw paw. But those within the industry, especially those who enjoy media attention don the toga rather too zealously.

While stakeholders play a crucial role in achieving the objectives of the industry, but a common problem that arise from having so much stakeholders in an enterprise or industry is that there may be a conflict of interests- and egos. Precisely, that seems to be a major problem with Nollywood.

It is instructive to note that, this dispensation actually marks the first time serious overtures is being made to develop the framework for a real industry for Nollywood. There are emerging structures for script conferencing and consultations, agencies are into artiste management and guilds and associations within Nollywood are asserting their right to be taken seriously. What is more, credit agencies are making serious overtures at Nollywood as can be seen in the moves by NEXIM and Bank of Industry. What then can Nollywood do to take advantage of these opportunities?

For one, any serious organization that wishes to take a loan conducts market research; writes a business plan and show how the loan can be repaid. They often hire consultants, accountants and other professionals with expert opinions. Many Nollywood stakeholders have whined in the media that the overtures by the credit agencies are as difficult to assess as a camel passing through a needle’s eye but the sore question has always been, have you done all that you should do?

Nollywood guilds were created to solve a problem but more often than not they have become the problem. The Actors Guild for example does more acting on the pages of the newspaper than on the screen. Beyond the grandstanding and intractable conflict they are reputed for, the guilds can actually become more useful by creating structures to access the funds the credit agencies are making available. They can also proactively secure their members interests rather than only being content in collecting registration fees and subscription dues.  They should have a strong presence with regulating agencies so that their interests can be protected. The scriptwriters guild ought to be affiliated with the Nigerian Copyright Commission and the Association of Movie Producers should have a strong rapport with the Nigerian Film Corporation, only then can the Nollywood stakeholder be seen as living up to his name.

Isaac Anyaogu writes screenplay for feature films.

 

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MAKING THE MOST OF CORPORATE ENDORSEMENT IN NOLLYWOOD

The stars have clearly begun to align for Nollywood.  Like the beautiful bride, corporate suitors it seems, have turned out in a duel for the hands of some of Nollywood’s brightest stars. It gets better, many are renewing cool deals.

How much is Monalisa Chinda’s smile worth? According to industry sources, Vita500, a new energy drink from South Korea shelled out N30 million for her face on the energy drink. She was also the face of the Rivers state cultural fiesta and Glo sweated millions it has been reported, to have her as their ambassador. Monalisa’s face is every photographer’s dream and her smile conjures the memory of spring. Monalisa should insure her face.

Perhaps, no corporate entity has demonstrated proven commitment to Nollywood in terms of endorsement than Globacom Nigeria Limited. The telecommunication giant at the last count has appointed close to a dozen Nollywood A-list thespians as ambassadors according to information on their website. In an industry long abandoned by corporate Nigeria, Globacom serves as a refreshing alternative.

The rave seemed to have caught on. MTN Nigeria, the company with some of the most creative advertisements in Nigeria, in the past treated Nollywood with courteous indifference. But recently, Nkem Owoh and Patience Ozokwor have featured in the company’s advertisements. Perhaps the days of the cold shoulder are over.

The use of film stars in the marketing of products is not the exclusive preserve of Nigeria. If anything, we seemed to have taken a page out Hollywood’s playbook. Gwyneth Paltrow has been tapped to be the latest ambassador for Swiss watch brand Baume & Mercier. Natalia Portman will also be the new face of the Miss Dior Cherie. Sylvester Stallone has been chosen as the brand ambassador for luxury pen manufacturer Montegrappa and popular martial arts film star Jet Li has been announced by Swiss Hublot timepieces as their newest brand ambassador.

The use of famous faces as brand ambassadors is not just limited to the use of actors and actresses. Corporations have been known to appoint as brand ambassadors sports men and women who have proven their mettle in the field. Rafal Nadal is a brand ambassador for Georgio Armani.

The use of artistes as brand ambassadors by corporations is with the objective of linking their product to a winning athlete or personality to enhance their image and boost sales revenue. Corporations use these popular artistes as validation for their products and hope to transfer their goodwill and star power so as to influence the fortune of their offerings.

Most endorsement deals are designed to offer mutual benefits to both the star and the corporation. Nevertheless, there have been some endorsement deals that went south. At the height of his fame, Tiger Woods was the world’s highest earning golfer and corporations were falling over themselves to have his face on their products until some recent misdemeanors came to light.

Ambassadors of countries usually represent the values of such nations. Hence their personalities are expected to be demure, their actions reasoned and their lifestyles lofty. Similar standards are also expected of brand ambassadors. So beyond the hype and the effect on the bank balance, brand ambassadors must live the values represented by the products they endorse. O.J. Simpson was fired as brand ambassador of Hertz when he was charged with double murder.

It is also pertinent that celebrities who sign the dotted lines in endorsement deals study the content of the contractual agreements and look out for clauses in small print. Most of the deals are worded in such a way that the contract forbids them from other deals or restrict their use of close substitutes to the product they are endorsing. Release terms and other conditionality should be negotiated properly to avoid a conflict of interest.  It also makes good sense to seek legal opinion

When effectively utilized, these endorsement deals can benefit both the artiste and the industry at large. On a personal level, it provides a source of income and boosts the popularity of such artistes especially when the terms include billboards and advertisement in the broadcast media. Endorsement deals like the Glo ambassador provides an avenue to network with those who call the shots in other industries and can be a platform to push innovative ideas for film sponsorship especially those that require a huge budget. When properly harnessed, this could help foster a good relationship between Nollywood and other industries.

Isaac Anyaogu, writes and edits feature film scripts.

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