BigBrotherNaija Arena: How did tech brands fare?

Today’s actions become history tomorrow hence the importance of documenting events and the lessons that we can learn from them. We can only have things to look upon when evaluating past actions or taking new ones tomorrow by doing this.

That’s a rather profound introduction to a light discourse, isn’t it?

Well, maybe it’s not as serious as we paint it to be, but the BigBrotherNaija reality TV show is no trivial discourse anymore. With millions of people actively viewing the show and raking in billions of votes for their favourite contestants, it is no surprise that the BigBrotherNaija show has never been short of sponsors. If anything, brands compete to get the spot of headline sponsor every year. Sponsors over the years have included Payporte (2017 and 2018), Bet9ja (2019), Betway (2020), and Abeg (2021), with Patricia as an associate sponsor. Other sponsors include but are not limited to Pepsi, Airtel, Guinness, Indomie, Flutterwave, Kuda, Heritage bank, Nokia, Oppo, Tecno, Minimie, Darling Hair, Dano Milk, Close Up, Revolution Plus, and Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing.

We could argue that brands want to leverage the fact that it gets viewership from the Millenials and Gen Z to gain brand awareness within that demographic. Without a doubt, it is getting increasingly difficult to reach them with Ads and messaging; hence, whatever medium can claim to drive results get a lot of attention. Perhaps, this has influenced the headline relationship between tech brands and the show in recent times.

Tech startups were not always major sponsors of the show. In fact, it was a surprise when the organizers announced Abeg as the lead sponsor for the season 6 edition of the show.

Although the very first sponsor of the show was an e-commerce platform Payporte; sponsors like Bet9ja, Betway, and Nigerian Brewery led the way. And it was not until season 5 in 2020 that startups like Flutterwave, Kuda, and Patricia joined the party—bringing onboard a youthful vibe and using social media to complement engagements from the show.

Besides the target audience, what factors gave way for the sudden interest tech brands have taken towards the show? Companies like closeup can easily give toothpaste for housemates to use, Minimie can supply chin chin but what do you do when your offering is seemingly intangible, or the entirety of your company is on a server somewhere?

How do you make people connect to a brand when the product is not physically consumable? Here are some of the lessons we learned from the tech brands that have managed to do this on this season of Big Brother Naija.


The new brand which was least expected to be the lead sponsor of the BigBrotherNaija show pulled off an excellent entry to the scene utilizing the novelty of their product idea, the brand name, celebrity influencers and the show’s viewership.

Abeg’s delivery started with an interesting video advert which had a giveaway theme song alongside a second video advert that leveraged storytelling to show the emotional impact that comes from random acts of kindness. In no time, these videos followed up by social media giveaways got the new brand consistently garnering lots of buzz, social media followership and with weeks into the show had gotten over 100,000 downloads on the app Stores.

An essential part of Abeg App’s successful outing at the BigBrotherNaija show is its brand merchandising—an instant hit for the ‘cool culture’. When it comes to a reality show of this magnitude, every touchpoint counts. Abeg did an excellent job on this as they were very intentional about the merchandise; leveraging the fact that clothes are no longer a piece of fabric to be worn but a style statement that could be an opportunity to connect to an audience. The brand seemed to prioritise making clothing items that their target audience finds cool and imprint beautiful designs on them using the brand’s visual identity element—this is how to be different and communicate the uniqueness of your brand in clothing. You would not need to imprint all possible brand messages or slap the brand’s logo on every part of the clothing item.

Abeg’s merchandise was so great that social media was agog with people demanding to buy them; not a common thing with other brands and their merchandise. How is that for brand engagement?

Safe to say the brand had a buzzing start to its journey despite loads of comments about the product being able to retain acquired users after the show and maintain brand engagement among other things.


The show’s returning sponsor; Patricia, corroborated its BigBrotherNaija visibility with social media to drive brand engagement. This was an interesting tactic to watch pan out as they did not just make social media posts about tasks but used the show’s housemates as memes alongside a giveaway contest for people who could spot their video adverts during the show. However, one thing that goes unnoticeable and could have impeded their engagement was the fact that the brand didn’t have a uniform social media handle hence oftentimes users mix up the handles or fail to mention the correct tags.

Beyond leveraging social media as a communication channel, brands would have to carefully consider how well they are branded on social media and that includes having a uniform handle across social platforms and possibly similar headers and banners.


Despite not being a major sponsor, the savings and investment platform utilized storytelling through their video advert slots to establish their product in the minds of an offline audience.

Beyond the TV Commercials, PiggyVest also took advantage of the in-house tasks to sell a visual story of financial freedom. With tasks that involved smashing a box of poverty, what better way to reinforce the brand mission of the brand, visually depicting what is achievable upon using the product. There was also an excellent use of the environmental design to subtly drive the brand’s messages with brilliant copies like: “Being ‘debt free’ is a big Flex”, “Safelock your money, not your goals”, “Music to my ears, send me your flex account number”, “What do you bring to the table? Financial Freedom”, “What beats Autocorrect? Autosave”.


Just like Abeg, Glover making its entry into the scene and the reality show for the first time had most of its efforts during the show driven by their video advert. We don’t think the video advert left that much of an impression either as it was directly pointing to the product features with no storytelling or juicy highlight to the benefits of using the app.

They also had brand merchandise for the in-house events with the “Xchange for value” copy boldly inscribed but this didn’t make much of a difference as well for a product that’s not readily known.

In conclusion, as much as we had a lot of things go right, a few other things could have been better, like Boomplay’s integration with the house parties and Buypower improving the experience on their website as an essential touchpoint. Till next year, what are the other things that you think brands need to shine their eyes on?

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