The comments on social media and the massive amount of votes suggested that the line was clearly drawn between fanatics and sceptics of the show. But whichever side of the fence you belonged, you were surely entertained with the off-screen competitions, the online confrontations, the music, the memes, the jokes, and the celebrity banter.
The other group of winners are the sponsors who made all of this happen. One of those is Legend Extra Stout, whose involvement has been pumping up the thrill both for the competitors and the audiences. Just like other backers, which are seeing an incredible resurgence in brand recognition with the reality show, Legend has become part of the Big Brother experience.
Portfolio Manager, Mainstream Lager and Stout, Nigerian Breweries, Emmanuel Agu, says, “There’s nothing like having stakes in a show as big as Big Brother Naija. It’s one of the biggest conversations online and we’re glad the brand gets to be a part of it. The fact that we also get to connect more with our consumers also goes a long way for us. Gratifying them with great conversations helps preserve that winning connection.”
Apart from a steady supply of the stout, the brand was infused into the day-to-day activities of the housemates, including their Saturday parties and daily tasks. In one of those tasks, the contestants were each put on a timer to re-enact moments from the lives of one of their favourite Nigerian legends. The other housemates had to guess whom the legends were.
Legend has also been taking the show on the street. For evicted housemates and their followers, the brand has been hosting parties. It has been sponsoring online conversations about what it means to compete in a high stakes contest that demands each challenger to be extremely competitive while appearing genial to the millions of eyes watching across Africa, twenty-four-seven.
Since the show began in January, Legend has had ex-housemates such as Miyonse Amosu, Somadina Anyama, Uriel Oputa, CocoIce, and Gifty either at the Nigerian Breweries headquarters or other locations. Afterwards, it has rallied supporters online by amplifying its own support for the brave Big Brother Naija contenders. But apart from fist-bumping the brave contestants for a job well done, it hopes these receptions will help them setting back to gen-pop.
While fans were addicted, novices found themselves compelled, often repeatedly, to check out the show, just to see with their own eyes what the hype about Big Brother Naija is all about. And when they tuned in, many of these doubters often emerged ready to root for a housemate or two—thanks to sponsors like Legend Extra Stout.
But after all was said and done, the ex-housemates came back with memories of the excitement, missed opportunities, and a question about what’s next.
“I had so much fun in the house and I’ll really miss Big Brother,” says Uriel Oputa. “Just like the other housemates, I’m looking to further my career and forge new paths. I would like to continue my music but also explore cooking, as it is one of my passions. Big Brother Naija brought me new friends, exposure and with time great strides in my career.”
For Legend, the kind of rollercoaster ride that Big Brother offers to housemates, viewers, and fans is exactly the kind of edgy fun it lives for. “Big Brother Naija not only appealed to our target audience but also showed the housemates’ realness. It is daring, courageous and youthful. These are important for the brand as they resonate with the brand's personality,” says Oluseun Lawal, the brand manager.
It is a plus that the show is such a continental sensation.
The evidence of its viral popularity cannot be ignored. Celebrities and commoners all had a horse in the keenly contested race. For instance, comedian I Go Dye converted his Cadillac Escalade Hybrid car into a mobile billboard to canvass for Efe, his countryman. Bisola’s sister on the other hand had a new day job—promoting Bisola all day every day. And before anyone could vilify TBoss for being a little less down to earth, a fierce movement erupted online to defend her and grind all haters into dust.
But what a show, this time around. Unlike the first Big Brother Nigeria, which aired in 2006, this one was propelled by a youth population with the dizzying power of the internet. And that made all the difference.
The entire thing was so captivating that 12 weeks seemed to whiz by in the twinkle of an eye. But with co-players such as Legend Extra Stout in the mix, all the parties will likely have something that will last beyond the April 9 finale.
More photos below...