‘Niger Bridge light-up a historic landmark’

In this interview, the duo of Messrs Wasiu Ola Abiola, Head, Media, Digital, Brand PR & Sponsorship, and Omotunde Adenusi, Portfolio Manager, Mainstream Lager Brands speak on the recently-launched Niger Bridge light-up initiative by Life, a lager beer on the stable of the Nigerian Breweries Plc. Excerpts:

How will you describe the project initiative by NB PLC Life Beer to light you the Niger Bridge?

The Niger Bridge light-up is a historic landmark event not only for Nigerian Breweries Plc but also importantly for the people of the South-East because of our long-standing history.

This project embodies the progressive spirit of the (Igbo) people; especially in the present trying times, it offers a beacon of hope and resilience and encourages the people to live and Enjoy Life Responsibly because as long as there is life, there is light at the end of the tunnel (Nduka).

 

Niger Bridge light-up
Wasiu Ola Abiola

What informed this project initiative?

Life Continental lager beer has always had a long standing heritage of progress. Over the years, the brand has launched various initiatives that embody and inspire progress through its communication and notable initiatives that discover and support entrepreneurs and creative talents.

On May 1st, 2020, Life Continental relaunched with an exciting new packaging design that reflects its progressive traits and prominently displays its long-standing iconic brand identifier, the Niger Bridge, a bridge we term the ‘Bridge of Progress’ because it represents the progressive journey of optimism and assurance of hope for a better life.

As a climax to the relaunch activities, Life Continental delivers a first-of-its-kind beautification of an iconic landmark in Nigeria, breathing new life and aura to the iconic bridge – by illuminating it in a symbolic gesture that enlivens this famous gateway entry into eastern Nigeria and the lifeline of trade and commerce for the region.

 

How long did it take to achieve this?

The project spanned a period of almost two years, and we are quite pleased with the dedication of our outdoor partner agency, New Crystal, in helping to actualize this transformation of the iconic Niger Bridge with beautiful neon lights.

The bridge has been displaying our brand (LIFE lager beer) message since 2012, we decided to do something more befitting with the bridge, with the magnificent lighting that was commissioned on August 1st 2020.

 

Niger Bridge light-up
Omotunde Adenusi

Was this born out of desire to take brand war to the door-step of competitors or a deliberate CSR initiative aimed at identifying with the people?

Life Continental beer was first brewed in Onitsha, Anambra State, in 1981, and the brand has since then grown from just a regional beer brand to becoming the biggest beer brand in the country.

In view of this, the brand has always shared a very strong connection with the people of South-Eastern Nigeria, owing to its message of progress, a key narrative that the brand pioneers, and now with this project, we are reigniting the progressive spirit of the Easterners, whilst strengthening the connection with our roots.

Furthermore, with this feat, we have gone beyond elevating the brand’s key identifier to an iconic landmark but have breathed new life to this historic monument that serves as a testament to the progressive spirit of our people. What better way to identify and say thank you to the people that made the brand No 1 brand in Nigeria.

 

What is the significance of this effort?

With the lighting of the Niger Bridge, we want to pass across a strong message of resilience, progress and togetherness. It is a tribute to the long-standing show of love from one kinsman to another, and we hope this message resonates with everyone and inspires them to keep living right in their pursuits of progress.

 

What do you intend to achieve with this?

While more bridges will be built, more routes to connect the cities in the East, and even more means of transportation may arise. But none will be as iconic as our historic Niger Bridge – Our Bridge of Progress.

For many, this bridge symbolises the start of something new and its long tradition of progress will withstand the times, so the project represents preserving this historical monument that has created an easier way for its citizens to move around, but more importantly for the Igbos, it is a symbol of trade, access to greener pastures and bears so many tales for many different people.

 

As a project which directly falls within your purview, how do you feel with the completion of this project?

I am highly elated and honoured to be part of the team that conceived this project and also led it to conclusion.

With this achievement, we have brought something different to our landscape and the brilliance of the lights serves as a message of our strength and adaptability, especially in these times, because life is progressive.

As you know, media is anywhere consumers can be reached with our brand’s communication messages. I can modestly refer to this as the greatest media platform I have been involved in its creation in my over 20 years of advertising media management, both on the agency and client sides.

 

What impact and brand equity would this project have on Life beer?

With this ground-breaking transformation, we hope to offer a distinctive point of differentiation and build a stronger emotional bond with our core consumers.

The lights on the Niger bridge carries the message – ‘enjoy life responsibly’ which is a call back to the message of self-preservation, a message that could not have been more relevant in times when not just our livelihood but our lives are being threatened. It is imperative that we treat life as the precious gift (Nduka) while pushing forward in our resilient pursuits.

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