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Recapturing Ghanaian TV Ads: Mere Nostalgia, Or A Golden Age In Creativity?

Before we begin, grant your mind the liberty of pausing from the buzz of adulthood with us.

Before we begin, grant your mind the liberty of pausing from the buzz of adulthood with us. Release yourself from the humdrum of scuffling feet rushing to begin work days, to the vehemence of the road rage in traffic, and guide your breath to fall into the crevice of your childhood memories.

Now, a figurine of your guileless, childlike  self should be floating in your mind, where you are seated on the fuzz of your living room carpet, or possibly reposed on the sturdiness of your living room couch, or better yet surrounded by the cosy presence of your family. 
Whichever form the haven of your childhood takes shape as, is it safe to assume in these moments of homeliness, your space was filled with the blare of your television? Were your eyes glued to the whir of wacky, psychedelic advertisements of delicacies, or medicine, or home supplies?

Following the growth of broadcasting channels, television rapidly became a popular means of escapism and entertainment not only within films and series, but in the ads which graced our screens in the late 90s and early ‘00s, informing how we interacted with the concept of creativity at an early age. As such, let us revisit this hallmark in Ghanaian creativity with our pick of the zestiest television ads, divulging the trends within the margins:

1. Kasapa “Free Nite” Calls, Data Deal Ad.

Ads often felt fun because they were presented to us as goofy, relatable stories! The Kasapa “Free Nite” call ad is a testament to connecting audiences with the ad’s characters, where in this scenario, we follow a lady in her sitting room, a setting we are all tethered to, chatting earnestly on the phone much to her loved one’s curiosity, only for the call to be revealed as a random chat with a stranger made possible by Kasapa’s “free nite” data deal. Simple, yet mischievous, Ghanaian network ads never fell short of leaving a memorable impression on consumers like you and I.

2. Tigo Ghana, "Honey Coochi Coochi", Network Quality Ad.

This famed network ad is another which used storytelling to transport through a whirlwind of emotions, piquing our curiosity and anxiety as we watched the main character jump through hurdles to find stable network in order to speak to the object of his affection, who goes by the adorably hilarious nickname of “honey coochi coochi”, until he unfortunately ends up injured in the hospital, all which could have been avoided if he used Tigo for his calls! The “honey coochi coochi” ad was inescapable in its time, creatively taking us through a journey of ridiculously committed love with a promised solution.

3. Fanice, “So Nice”, Icecream Ad.

Ghanaian ads also incorporated selling products through a medium we all enjoy, that being music and dance, a technique heralded in Fanice’s “So Nice” ad! Here, we see Fanice lovers jubilating in unsuspecting choreography to the snappy tune of “so nice, nice, nice”, conveying the feeling of togetherness and joy Fanice promises to bring us if we give the icecream a try! Brimming with warmth and eminence, this Fanice ad remains a joyous classic.

4. Liverplex B “Vitamins” Medicine Ad.

The trend of music and dance in ads was also elevated by animation, which can be seen in the Liverplex B promotion medicine for our overall bodily health, using a colorful array of vermilion, lush fruits and vegetables such as carrots and legumes to list-sing the chemical components and benefits of the syrup. We’re sure this helped you in your science test once! 

5. Latex Foam “Flying Bed” Mattress Ad.

Taking a step further in the realm of animation was the stellar blend of live action and animation sequences, which can be seen in the lionized Latex Foam ad, where a man on a levitating mattress can be seen flying through the city as the people excitedly wave and hail him, hilariously implying that not only is the presence of flying Mr. Latex Foam normal and embraced, but he is more importantly a source of comfort for all, as the company’s mattress promises to be. Ads never failed to be fanciful, alluring, yet still so distinctly familiar to the Ghanaian experience.

6. Vodafone “Like Seriously” SIM card ad.

Last but not least, Ghanaian ads loved to use beloved celebrity faces to reel us into their product, one of the most popular brand ambassadors being the comedian Funny Face in the Vodafone commercial, where we watch him go back and forth in the weirdest moniker of an American accent in his exclamation of “like seriously, duhhh!” on  why Vodafone is the blatant SIM option for efficiency. Akin to the storytelling theme of the aforementioned ads, this ad brings home what was treasured about the creative direction of that time – it felt fresh, original, yet tender!

Returning to the present from the blissful giddiness our trip down memory lane granted  us, we can now make the parallel to how this medium evolved, as with the bolstering of the accessibility to the internet, it can be agreed that brands and companies followed its audience to advertise on social media apps, such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The face of creativity in the digital realm primarily centers celebrities and influencers as the promotion scheme within advertisement to engage the personality of social media.

One would then ask, is today’s form of creation preferred? Could nostalgia be clouding our judgment, or has the creativity in our ads developed as it should? The answer might require an in depth exploration beyond a yes or no, but what we can agree upon in this moment is, the whimsical era of television consumption should be treasured and valued for eternity.

So, what was your favorite Ghanaian ad growing up?