HOPE ’93. Everything about the Nigerian presidential election of 1993 was epochal. You must have heard repeatedly that it remains the most free and fair the country ever organised. But it also continues to be incredibly memorable, for those who are old enough to remember, because of this ad.
As an advertising person, you know that every election cycle, all your politician clients will ask you for ads “like that MKO Abiola’s 1993 advert.” As you’d agree, once they ask, it’s downhill from there because no one can create the moment, national solidarity, and uncanny interpretation that made the ad so uniquely riveting and unforgettable. Which is why we can only try; but no one can replace this historic Hope 93 spot.
Speaking of replacing the commercial, however, better looking films have been shot since it stole our melded hearts 24 years ago. It’s just that this TV advertisement keeps winning with its simplicity, street level humour, insight into the nature of disadvantaged Nigerians, and a brutally catchy jingle. We can’t deny, too, that nostalgia helps its case.
In 2019, the candidates will come again to ask for something better than the Hope 93 song. Again, agencies will try. And, as usual, they’ll fail.