by Hauwa Gambo
You’ve got to be tired of people going to events and coming back without the truth. Amazing! Excellent! Successful!, they crow – even when the world knows that just didn’t happen. This time, it was a bit too much.
How are we going to grow unless someone tells content owners and everyone else the whats and the what-nots to do? So, as part of my civic duty to the compatriots who worked hard to put this event together successfully – and failed – here is my top 10 ‘what-nots’ from the launch of the much talked about OK! Nigeria.
Being the venue where the last Women in Management & Business (WimBiz) conference was held, I really have no problems with Harbour Point. It’s certainly not trashy, and many from the moneyed crowd find its location and facilities very useful – just not for the launch of a luxury brand. And – hello! – you cannot to be stingy with money if you’re going to be running the most expensive magazine in town, can you?
There is no way I am letting this go. You call us for a luxury N1-million-a-table event (let’s set aside the fact that they were selling(!) tables at their launch event; you will be hearing a lot about this N1 million, so gird your loins) and you dare to give us food from Sweet Sensation? Not hating on Sensation (a successful and proudly Nigerian brand) but seriously, you’re asking companies to pay 5m for a full page ad! How can you give me sponsored fast food after that?
The event started late. And when it started, we were not even sure if it had started. There was a heady mix of tackiness and tardiness. For an international brand, this was disconcerting. Guests came looking for a certain higher standard. Instead, we met the same old disorganisation.
Alexander Amosu, the publisher of this magazine, didn’t make a good impression on a lot of people when he blamed squarely “Nigerians” and “Nigerian time” for the lateness of his magazine (I wonder if he talked to other magazines about that? They could certainly have warned him). For a leader and a so-called mentor, it was disappointing to see him not ready to take responsibility for his own publication’s late arrival. It was disaster enough that the magazines did not arrive on time. To see Amosu arrogantly shift blame only made it worse.
The Cool Kids
You’d expect the Lagos jet set to be at the venue of the launch of this exciting brand – at the very least they are its target market. But you wouldn’t know it if you attended the event. Instead we were assaulted with an assortment of traditional rulers (and I doubt they coughed out the N1million), complete with hangers-on blowing horns in their honour. Was this the launch of a magazine on forgotten kings? It still doesn’t make sense to me.
It hurts me to say anything resembling an unkind word about the very hardworking, very determined, very focused Goldie. But I would never associate the words upscale or luxury with our own knock-off Lady Gaga. It is not an insult. That’s just not her brand. If they were so broke (though how they can be I don’t understand? Did the N1million tables not sell? Shocking, that.), they could have got just one artist – maybe Darey, or even even Ego Ogbaro and her classy Indigo Band. Instead we found ourselves stuck with Goldie and Brymo and Davido. At a formal event. The groupie-naked-picture-leaking Davido? Okay.
Bobby Brown is a washed-up artist in America; that’s the truth. On the 9th of March however, he owned Lagos – not just because of himself, but because all our other favourite artists joined him for the New Edition concert happening nearby at the Expo Centre. Did I ask where all the cool kids expected at Harbour Point were? Silly me. They ignored OK! and went on straight for the concert; which, by the way, we hear rocked for days. I should have followed them.
What can be more embarrassing than trying to bid the first copy of your magazine at the launch venue and no one launches a bid? We almost wanted the ground to open and swallow us from the sheer embarrassment of it all? Why wasn’t anybody even planted in the crowd to fake-bid and save us that trauma? If that’s a sign, then I’d say it’s really ominous for the enterprise.
I haven’t seen them host a concert, or a club party, or a bar crawl recently – so I’d have to assume that they are still excellent at those things. Everyone knows that Freeze and Olisa separately are not the best choice for so-called black-tie events. They almost always club it up (forgetting how awkward the 40+ Olisa looks when he does that). Now, put two of them together? I felt I was at my college graduation dinner. Minus the hot ladies.
I mentioned this before, right? But it bears repeating. They’ve been talking about this magazine for a year, and still they couldn’t get copies in for the guests? Then to make matters worse, they promised to deliver the magazines to all guests (something that was obviously, even laughably, an afterthought) but didn’t even take down our addresses. So how exactly do they intend to send me the magazine? By Bluetooth?