She is a singer, songwriter, fashion designer, housewife and photographer. She means so many things to so many people. A difficult feat to achieve in the marketing world where brands even struggle to hold down and properly own a niche, TY Bello has been able to defy the norm to position herself as the Jack of all Trade and, well, she has been able to master practically all.
TY is not an explorer. But she has succeeded in making people associate her with discoveries. And she has also taken care to predetermine the kind of discoveries that she makes.
Her latest discovery, a young lady that has been created to be a bottom-of-the-pyramid bread seller, has attracted global attention in a way almost never before has been witnessed.
Olajumoke Orisanguna, TY’s newest find has been on CNN, Huffington Post, This Day Style, The Telegraph and practically every blog worth its name. The emotional depth of her grass-to-grace story makes for very interesting read. CNN described her fortune as that of someone being at the right place at the right time.
Olajumoke was selling Agege Bread, popular, bromate-filled bread consumed mainly by artisans and the poor in and around Lagos, Nigeria just a few weeks ago. Today, she has not only made the news at the highest places and become subject of homilies and sermons in churches and mosques all over the country; she has also become brand ambassador for StanbicIBTC and Payporte.
Besides these are a modeling contract and a brand new apartment in a highbrow section of bustling Lagos.
Her story draws tears from eyes. It is a story people can relate with. Just like the very first discovery TY Bello made.
Back in the days, TY was on a “journey.” That was exactly how she had put it in the promotional videos done then for her music. That journey brought her in contact to a woman who had spent all her life taking care of orphans and children of the poor.
The woman, now late, was called Madam Ekundayo. TY was so touched by the life of this woman she was motivated to do a song for her.
The song, titled, Ekundayo, was to be a major hit, announcing her as a musician and songwriter of distinction.
After a few other songs, TY was drowned by in the din of scores of other talents in the Nigerian music industry, the busiest and likely most profitable in Africa. But she moved on with her job as a high-end photographer.
So while on her photography beat, doing a job for Tynie Tempah, a Nigerian singer based in the United Kingdom, Olajumoke showed up with her Agege Bread. With all the crowd gathered at the shoot, the woman strolled right through their middle and no one stopped her until she was within camera sights.
So some stories said TY captured her accidentally, in what was described as a photo bomb. But apparently because this was less believable, later narratives said TY saw her and asked if she could take a shot.
And then 24 hours after, a search began for a bread seller that was “accidentally” captured on TY’s camera. It began online after she posted the picture (that had Olajumoke and Tynie Tempah) in the frame on her Instagram and Twitter handles.
But somehow, it seemed everyone in Yaba, Lagos, the neighbourhood TY lived were her contacts on the social network. So as the Agege Bread seller moved around with her wares, virtually everyone recognized her and informed her that her picture was on the Internet.
That same day, she was connected with TY Bello and the rest is history.
In less than one week, This Day worked with TY to have Olajumoke adorn the cover of This Day Style magazine. A few hours after, CNN and all the media in the world were interviewing and featuring the Agege Bread seller.
And while these were going on, a modeling contract was being fashioned, a flat was being furnished for her while StanbicIBTC and Payporte were briefing their advertising agencies, working out contracts and (in the case of StanbicIBTC) writing copy and releasing a campaigning with Olajumoke telling us all to “#NeverStopMovingForward.”
If I was sitting by the fire with my grandfather and other children back in 1980 hearing “tales by moonlight” I am sure this would make very strong story lines.
But things happening this quickly in 2016 without prior planning, organization and deliberate execution, I will think twice before believing the yarn was make into such a fabulous clothing material at such speed.
The truth is that TY Bello may have been able to do what many people in core marketing communication have not been able to even dream of doing – weaving emotions and strong, miracle-like narratives into what I suspect was otherwise a well-orchestrated campaign.
Her credits cannot be denied though. Great job. In an environment where the market for miracles (or the quest for it) is infinite, the story of Olajumoke is inspiring. Agege Bread just got a huge endorsement and you can bet that all the young, usually very badly dressed, most times, ill-mannered girls selling this commodity will raise their standards.
You never know where next TY Bello just might be doing another photo-shoot!
I am not such a doubting Thomas but I ask questions. If anyone has seen the copy released by StanbicIBTC on their campaign where the “former Agege Bread seller” modeled, the question should be, “who owns the rights for that picture?
Was it This Day Style that first published it? Was StanbicIBTC the one that originally paid for the shoot and then leveraged through This Day Style for maximum emotional reinforcement when eventually the campaign was launched?
Why would StanbicIBTC be comfortable to use a picture they did not purposely and purposively sponsor for their corporate campaign? Between the time the story of Olajumoke broke and the time the campaign was launched, would it have been possible to brief an agency, agree on campaign slant and then do all that were needed to release a campaign? Even if it was a mere social media campaign?
My submission is that the entire thing was planned, directed and managed to perfection from the very beginning.
But that does not take anything away from the creativity of TY Bello and everyone else behind the story. It is possible Olajumoke would have been a poor girl before now. It is possible she even sold Agege Bread. It is possible she was not educated and had to relocate to Lagos in search of the Golden Fleece everyone else there is looking for.
But I could see a careful planning behind her rise from obscurity.
But beyond this is the need for agencies in the country to begin to think differently. What wins may no longer be those very costly campaigns that have people travelling to London and South Africa for shoots and copy reviews.
Simple everyday stories as told by TY Bello here is something that carries very strong learning points for everyone. And like it was a lobby cleaner that inspired the beginning of transparent elevators we see in the outside of most high-rise buildings these days, the marketing communications industry just learnt a huge one from a photographer.