MTN Has A Radio Commercial Running Full Speed On Zero Creativity! By "Joy Isi Bewaji"

Joy (yes, that's her name. What coincidence) is informed by her husband that mother-in-law is visiting and wants banga soup, I think.

Joy needs help. She is reminded by the voices in her head that she has a large following on social media and can find someone to assist her with this banga.

But then the voices also remind her of her own mother, an excellent cook, who is way more reliable in these matters than any friend.

So she calls mother and gets all the culinary advice she needs.

Something like that.

And of course, all of this, plus mother-in-law's smacking lips of good banga soup is made possible because of MTN
It is time advertising agencies, creative directors, copywriters and their clients remember that society is evolving rapidly... they need to catch up.

By all means, save the chunk of your budget for the stereotypes; however be smart to recognise the growing unconventional families and individuals that exist.

My name is Joy. I am a single parent. I live for work and I live for my daughters. And when I am busy, which is all the time, MTN and Airtel (the networks I am on) keep me close to my children. No matter where I am - office or Manhattan - I stay connected with my girls every other hour.

Who is telling my story?

These are unconventional truths, and society has many people like us - single parents working magic. We need to be represented.

It is tiring to watch or listen to commercials where women are always in the kitchen cooking, and men and children are waiting to be fed. Or girls trying to call for help to feed a mother-in-law.

How about an Ad where a working woman comes home, throws herself in bed, too exhausted to cook... and her man shows up by her bedside with a plate of noodles and chicken?

Or the mother stuck in a conference meeting in Dubai... wishing to give her son a pep talk before his common entrance exams the next day... and Glo or Etisalat makes it possible for her to hold a video call just before her son goes to bed.

These are our stories. These are our narratives.

Not everytime cooking woman.

The stereotypes have been there for too long. Society is evolving and changing too fast for the creative industry to remain stagnant.

Abroad, they already have Ads that incorporate into their concepts homosexuality and transgender. We will not go that route for all the obvious reasons, of course... but it is quite drab to forget that family and society is not always about conventional roles or orthodox practices.

At least recognise that there are many single parents doing good. And don't make it pitiful, your representation.

Let one Nigerian mainstream creative team come up with an Ad concept that truly empowers a woman without the need to fix her into a wifely or motherly role. An Ad that appreciates her as a full being, able to buy her own KIA car, buy her own Ignis deep freezer, open her own FCMB account.

Let her come home after work, collapse on her couch and watch DSTV alone without the need for loneliness. We are not lonely people.

Explore these narratives. They are not fiction. We are not pretending to be happy. We are happy. We are complete.

Share our stories.


By Joy Isi Bewaji
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