If you’ve ever done any marketing, you know that marketers have the sole aim to land sales. How they go about this, and whether or not they observe basic ethical principles, is another matter entirely.

Some years ago, as an intern with NTA News 24, I had the opportunity of working at the Entertainment Desk. Though I was supposed to move round all the Desks in the Newsroom throughout the period of my internship, the Entertainment Desk was so intriguing, I decided to pitch camp. In a few weeks, I realized that it’s never too late for an old dog to learn new tricks.

One of the lessons I learned as an intern is that “ratings” aren’t controlled by media houses. It is true that the media can try to set an agenda, or sell an idea for its general audience. However, the success or otherwise of that agenda/idea totally depends on the audience.

Since media practitioners know the power of the audience to either sell or kill an idea, they LEARN to follow TRENDS. Put differently, they WATCH and LISTEN before they CREATE content to suit their various audiences. In communication studies, we call this audience analysis. It’s simply analytics – an important factor in what Google calls “the Fundamentals of Online Marketing.”

Over the years, the Big Brother Naija Brand has carefully analyzed the Nigerian situation and perfected the brand to suit it. At every point, it has LISTENED to the ‘cravings’ of many young Nigerians, fulfilled their hopes and dreams, and created the impression that if you’re not a BBNaija housemate, you will never make it in life. It is this impression that has made BBNaija a household name.

It’s interesting to note that in all 54 (55) African countries, Nigeria is the only country that has a Big Brother Show all to itself. From 2006, the show has aired four times, with the fifth currently ongoing. Each time, the stakes are increased, which translates to more money for investors and more prize money for winners. It’s an entertainment BLISS!

In the Big Brother Naija Brand, MultiChoice has stumbled on an economic goldmine – one that’ll not dry up anytime in the near future. This year, the show might even do better than all previous years because of the lockdown. No wonder they called it Big Brother Lockdown.

Every time there’s a BBNaija show, MultiChoice records significant growth in user subscriptions; higher customer subscription rates to their different programming bouquets; and ratings that sail over the roof. They’ll therefore do anything to ensure that the show goes on; and I dare say that not even the Federal Government of Nigeria can stop them.

Nonetheless, no brand can achieve half of what MultiChoice has achieved with BBnaija, without visionary and charismatic leadership. The leadership at MultiChoice understand that their sole responsibility is to GROW the brand, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Hence, to blame Big Brother Naija for the moral decadence in our society is at best arrogant hypocrisy. This country was already morally depraved before Multi Choice ever conceived of the idea of a Big Brother Naija show. The better argument would be that the Big Brother Naija Show has helped create a platform that has made matters worse (from the moral standpoint).

The case of the Nigerian Government

From where I sit, BBNaija has become more popular than the government of the day. Last night, July 19, 2020, the show opened for its fifth season, and erased from our memories all traces of the pathetic situation we’ve found ourselves in. We forgot the grand corruption at NDDC, the constant killings and kidnappings all over the country, the grand corruption in the Nigerian Army, which has led to scores of killings of patriotic soldiers, and the failure of a government to provide adequate leadership for over 200 million people.

BBNaija has become the opium of the masses; and why not? Are there better alternatives? Has our environment been able to engender young people who are at the cutting edge of various discoveries? Has the leadership of Nigeria been able to show that hard work pays better than corruption? Have we raised citizens who would rather spend time doing research than sit all day in front of Televisions as a way to escape depression?

What about Dorathy Bachor?

These days, it would seem that everyone wants a break from the ‘contraption’ called Nigeria. While we were mourning the death of our soldiers over the weekend, a certain Dorathy Bachor was flashing her bosom on international TV. While the former only made local headlines, the latter got the attention of BBC News Pigin and other international media houses.

My worry is that the personality of the 24 year old entrepreneur from Delta State is already being misunderstood. But I guess that’s what she wants, ‘cos she helped set the agenda herself. And can you blame her? She’s doing what she thinks we need, and so far, we’ve proven her right. She’s the number one trending BBnaija housemate on all social media platforms as we speak. Before entering the house, her official Instagram account was a little over 3,000 followers. In less than 24 hours, it has climed to over 60,000 followers.

Bbnaija Housemate Dorathy Bachor

But to be fair to BBnaija, they do not set the agenda for immorality, as much as the housemates themselves. The housemates are convinced that we’re more interested in their bodies than in their personalities. They know because they’re us, and we’re them. And indeed we talk more about their ‘shower sessions’ and ‘drunk moments’ than we’ll ever do about the various intellectual exercises and mind blowing creativity that BBnaija makes it a point of duty to always bring on the show.

The next time you want to blame BBnaija, blame yourself first, cos if we change our demand, the supply will change as well. Then blame the government for refusing to LISTEN to our collective needs; for putting us in a situation where BBnaija has become our best shot at success. We’re all in this mess together. If we didn’t constantly demand this kind of content, BBnaija would have had no option but to stop the supply. It’s simply demand and supply; the basics of marketing.

In the meantime, the best we can do is make personal resolves not to be involved in the grand deception that has become governance in Nigeria, and pray for the courage to make the much needed positive difference in whatever little ways we can.

We’re the ones to make a better day…

© Oselumhense Anetor, 2020.