BY CHRIS OGUNLOWO
Oh my friggin’ world!!!! This is one heck of a gem I found. (But I should digress for a sec. A few weeks ago, I stumbled on an Instagram ad for Wikipedia. The ad features that tiny Internet phenomenon called Emmanuella. Expectedly, it has the slapstick humour one expects from this girl, sometimes exaggerated for effect. I love it).
Then this one. Still by Wikipedia. It features Pete Edochie and Chinua Achebe‘s famous book. One must commend the guys behind this for a clever casting of an actor whose career is most notably associated with his role as the lead character from a TV adaptation of the book. (In my head, Pete Edochie is still registered as Okonkwo).
There are many layers to this beautiful ad. One of this, it seems, is that our stories, and cynically, like our humanity, are at the mercy of capitalism. This is a simple evidence –
Wikipedia wants to sell itself to a Nigerian (African?) audience, and so the advertising minds – for sake of advertising profits – exploit arguably Africa’s biggest story to tell the story of Wikipedia. Capitalism is bae!
But that’s not necessarily the most important layer. It is the storytelling quality – of the directing, of the acting, of the very substance of resurrecting Things Fall Apart in an era where history is a footnote in Nigerian classrooms, and in an era where creatives elevate technique above good idea. This ad – let’s appropriately call it film, doesn’t distract with techniques. This is a strong narrative informing an execution, not the other way round.
I love this work. Proud of it.
(I recently turned down a speaking request in a university. I gave a flimsy excuse. I should go and beg them to forgive my shakara so I can use this ad as a case study in storytelling)
This was first published on the writer’s Facebook page.