HOW WE “DABBED” OUR WAY TO LONDON
(THE INNOVATUS STORY)
Written by Kolade Oluwapelumi.
Laolu informed me sometimes in June, 2016 about a contest he wanted us to enter into as a team. He explained to me about how the Unilever Ideatrophy works and that you could enter individually or as a team of two or three. He further explained that he and another friend of ours (Feranmi) had entered individually for the 2015 edition but did not make it past the first round. He believed we stood a better chance if we entered together as a team. He also tells me that for the first stage we would be required to write an essay of not more than 250 words about an idea for a close up advert, and seeing that I write, I was saddled with that responsibility. He gave me the idea he wanted for the essay piece and I was to put it into writing as soon as possible.
I was battling with a photoshop tutorial on a calm evening when I heard my phone buzz , Laolu tells me through BBM that we were moving closer to the deadline set for the essay submission and I had not delivered on my end of the bargain. I made a mental note to draft something out the next morning. As soon as I woke up, I constructed our entry essay but struggled to keep it down to 250 words. I eventually sent him 300 words and asked him to get it down to 250 words and forward it to Unilever along with our details.
( A few weeks later ) .BUZZ, BUZZ . Feranmi sent a message to us informing us that we had made it to the second round and the email had been lying in our spam for a few days. As it was, we had less than 3 days to make a video advert depicting our 250 word essay. I asked him and Laolu to come over to my place the next day so we could discuss how we could go about it!
The next day was a Saturday. At that time Dotun (a good friend of mine ) and I were taking the Vexsche music beginners’ guitar lessons every Saturday. Laolu and Feranmi walked in on the class and I went out to see them to discuss about the technicalities of the video when it occurred to me that we already had our cast for the video advert in the students of our guitar class. I went in and explained our situation to our students (who were also mostly our friends). Also, I had another friend (Keke) who was good with video editing and directing, so we asked him to help us. We all decided to meet after church the next day.
We shot the video clips we intended to use with our mobile phones, we also all contributed in building the story for the video advert. During the shoot, I figured our idea was too elaborate for a 40 second video edit and I decided that a picture story would be more appropriate to tell our story perfectly.
I got home and collated our video clips and started to extract relevant pictures from them. Laolu was there to help me and we worked overnight, by morning we had produced the beauty below.
We submitted our video, and for some reason we were confident and full of faith that we would make it to the next round. But then, we started seeing other videos from students all over the country so we knew there was good competition. Anyway, we still believed we would make it through.
Alas!! We got another mail a few weeks later; we had made it through to the boot camp!!! We were given a brief which basically stated that we were brand managers for close up at Unilever and we were to come up with a marketing plan for the re-launch of close up. Also, mentors were assigned to us. Our mentor was in Russia at the time and would not be physically present, but she gave us all the help she could through e-messages and mails.
We worked with our brief for several days before our boot camp. We conducted surveys and drafted a word document which detailed heavily the intricacies of our marketing plan. We drafted what stroke us as a pretty decent PowerPoint presentation filled with numbers, figures and charts.
After we were done with work, we were again very confident that we had what it took to do extremely well at the boot camp.
The Nigerian boot camp was awesome, we met all these amazing personalities, and I must confess, I developed cold feet within the first few minutes of meeting all these vibrant youths. I thought to myself, how would we compete with all these outspoken and confident lads. But then, I was here right? Something had to be in me too 🙂 .
Since our mentor was not physically present, we had to attach ourselves to a Unilever staff. We approached Mr Demola , who was visibly very tired after a very stressful day of receiving all the 36 students from all around the nation. We pleaded with him to take a peek at our work, and thank God he did! He took a quick glance at our work and told us that our business plan would be awesome for winning a contract and not a competition, and then he left us with these simple words. “Tell a story with your presentation”. Those were all the words we needed to hear.
That night, we thrashed our previous plan. Also, I had gotten a glimpse of how cool the presentation design and layout of some other guys at the boot camp , and I knew if we would stand any chance at this thing, we could not use a simple power point design ! I knew I had to call on my “photoshop” skills. We worked all night, every night on perfecting our presentation and story till the day of the semi-finals.
We gave a brilliant semi-final presentation, and when we finished, we were confident we had made it to the finals!!! We could read it on the faces of all the Judges.
For the finals, Laolu had suggested earlier that we do the “dab” for our introduction. I was not fully for it at first, but after seeing its warm reception earlier at the boot camp when we did creative team introductions, I had a change of heart. So we went on with it, and the reception we received after the dab gave us confidence to give another super presentation (video below). We eventually went on to clinch second place behind Team Adobe from the University of Ibadan, and we were crowned best presenters of the competition. Cool yh ?????? As second placed team, we also qualified to represent Nigeria at the African regional finals in Johannesburg.
We soon received another brief, a more technical brief. We quickly came up with an idea for the presentation within a few days after reading the brief, but continued polishing it up until the finals. We also had a fantastic team of Unilever staff assigned to us as mentors who guided our ideas every step of the way. Our idea required quite a bit of graphic editing and “photoshopping” and I could not be more thankful for the tutorials I took myself through a few months ago.
The Unilever IdeaTrophy gave me my first experience away from West Africa. I had already been to the republic of Benin, Togo, and I had been to the border of Ghana too. Also, I had only been on a plane for a total of about two hours, the Unilever Ideatrophy took my total flight time tally to a little over 20 hours.
We met beautiful and creative minds from all over Africa, and also had a lot of fun carrying out different fun activities, and learning about each other’s cultures. We had a lot of fun exploring a new country. We were lodged in awesome hotels and got to visit cool places like Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto, The hard rock café in Sandton, etc.
The semi-finals and finals held at the Gibson Institute of business science, University of Pretoria. (This campus resides in Johannesburg) . We were to come up with a limited edition close up variant with two flavour options geared towards solving a problem obstructing closeness among youths in Nigeria.
We gave a good semi-final presentation and again, we were confident we would make it to the finals. We did , and did our “dab” again, received a good reception and followed through with an awesome presentation (see video below).
We came second 🙂 and get to represent Africa as team Nigeria , at the global finals in London, later in may this year!
Thanks to Unilever for an awesome opportunity to realise resources we did not know existed within us, and above all, I am grateful to God for seeing us through.
A fresh round of the competition comes up shortly. If you are an undergraduate, I have got one word for you……………………………. APPLY !!!!!