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12 Nigerian Brands that were Exceptional on Social Media in 2016

Once upon a time, the life of a brand’s Social Media manager was generally routine: create content calendar, design cool banners, schedule on Hootsuite/Tweetdeck, moderate comments, respond to inquiries, go to sleep. Ease or difficulty depended on the brand’s product/service and/or who the TA was. But overall, social media management was pretty monotonous stuff.

Now, everything has changed. Brands now understand how important social media is and how it affects their reputation, perception, overhead and ultimately sales. Brands now know that the usual routine posts that scream ‘patronize us’ would not do much for them anymore, so those that are ‘smart’ are employing the services of highly skilled individuals and digital agencies to manage their online strategy. These professionals are tasked with ensuring their brands are heard, above the fray. To be seen/heard in the fast-paced world of Social Media, one has to be very creative, witty, fast and sometimes unconventional.

From remarkable campaigns to leveraging on trending events, these are the 12 Nigerian brands that were exceptional on Social Media in 2016.

1) Coca Cola

Singing: No-o-one can stop, me when I taste the feeling, nothing could ever bring me, dowwwnnn…

Since I was born, Coca Cola has been the most popular brand on earth – giving us hit adverts, back to back. In 2015, they definitely won the online space with their Share a Coke campaign that had everyone searching for their names on bottles like it was the book of life. Then towards the end of December 2015, just as we were wondering what next, they hit us with Share The Feeling – bottles with smileys that conveyed diverse emotions and messages. The smileys included popular Nigerian phrases giving consumers a way to share their feelings with family, friends and even enemies.

Fast-forward to April 2016, they hit us with Taste The Feeling. With the theme song originally done by Avicii, remixed by local Nigeria acts like Tuface, Darey, Yemi Alade, etc, and an ad where a big brother won’t let his kid brother be bullied, the campaign served to refresh consumers’ memories of their love affair with Coke and how the brand embodies great taste, refreshment, love and happiness.

And oh, there was a #TasteTheFeelingNG competition where people were asked to create their own versions of the theme song for a chance to win something. Y’all know Nigerians and winning something.

Before this seems like a show for Coca Cola, I will not talk about Coke Studio Africa – another successful Coke campaign in 2016. They sure had a good year and were very exceptional in 2016.

2) Access Bank

Remember in 2015, when #NigeriansAtHogwarts trended on Twitter and Nigerians shared what would have happened if Hogwarts was a Nigerian school or had Nigerian students? Access Bank was the first brand to jump on it, and their tweet was so good, their account trended all over Nigeria.

Amongst top brands, Access Bank is one of the pioneers of leveraging on trending events with very witty posts. In 2016, they did not relax, as their football banter (one of the reasons I followed them in the first place) had fans of the game reeling with laughter or pissed, depending on what team was the butt of their jokes.

This one had a few pained Man Utd fans threaten to close their accounts. It had other Man Utd fans and the rest of the football community laughing their a**es off.

This one had me in stitches. The speed with which it was done was the most impressive part.

Access Bank also sponsored the Lagos City Marathon in January – and even though Kenya’s Abraham Kiptum won the prize money, the top Nigerian bank was the real winner – seeing as they were at the center of every conversation, meme, and joke that spun off the event.

To crown it all, AccelerateTV, the visual content platform for young and upwardly mobile people that is powered by Access Bank was rebranded and is now one of the fastest growing websites in Nigeria.

Very impressive year for the bank on Social Media, I tell you.

3) MTN

A fine that ran into billions would have shut any other organization up, and down, but not MTN – Nigeria’s largest mobile network and data service provider. They still held their own in the world of Social Media with campaigns like the Don Jazzy spear-headed #ItsWhoWeAre conversation – which garnered over 20million impressions in less than 2 hours. No jokes – 2 hours.

Then Falz – probably the most loved entertainer in Nigeria – left his job as the ‘CSO of a conglomerate of other networks’ and joined the MTN Pulse family. The hilarious ad that looked like something from a Hollywood espionage movie basically had us all in stitches and has been viewed millions of times, across all platforms.

Notice the color of the ties? Nice one MTN. Nice one.

With project fame season 9, and the hilarious memes and short videos that spun off it, and the campaign to spread 4G LTE awareness and conversion, MTN re-established their position as top 10 brands in the Nigerian Social Media space this year.

4) Bauchi State

When you have a beautiful state with a rich history, but it is in a part of the North people assume is plagued with terrorism, how do you get them to know it is safe, and make them (want to) visit?

Simple, create a campaign titled #ExploreBauchi.

Well, it isn’t as simple as that. First you stun everyone with glorious pictures of your state.

Then you ask everyone to enter a competition to spend a weekend of a lifetime in the pearl of tourism.

The self-acclaimed Chief Marketing Officer of Bauchi State, Gov Mohammed Abubakar effectively used Social Media to transform the tourism industry of Bauchi State. His efforts paid off as more than 3,000 people signed up to explore Bauchi in the first 24 hours, and over 8,000 people entered the competition – for just 3 slots. Bauchi State also became one of the top tourist destinations in Nigeria, experiencing a surge in the number of people who visited Yankari National Park in 2016.

Every public servant/public service definitely has a few things to learn from Bauchi State, and their exceptional Social Media Strategy.

5) Remy Martin

One life, live them.

Are you even human if this doesn’t resonate with you? Are you?

The premium alcoholic beverage brand started the innovative campaign that encouraged people not to be defined by the one thing that they do, but ALL that they do. The message was simply ‘why be one thing, when you can be many?’

And did it catch on? Yes it did. With influencers like VJ Adams, Dj Jimmy Jatt, Falz the Bahd Guy, Noble Igwe, Charles Okpaleke, Shina Peller, Zainab Balogun, Alibaba, and Japhet Omojuwa, the campaign reached the nooks and crannies of Social Media, and increased thirst for the premium brand.

They didn’t stop there. They launched a platform to make personalized slash cards, and sooner than later, they had everyone identifying with four facets of their lives, and committing to living them.

Good year for Remy, really good year.

 6) Cowbell

Do you know what is funny about this video? When the quizmaster asked Oreofe how she thought she performed, she said “not so good”.

Cries in olodo

How can someone so young solve all those tough Mathematics questions in 60 seconds and still think she didn’t do well? What kind of brain does she have? Who gave birth to her? Does she have two heads?

These are the questions that followed most of the viral #CowbellPedia videos that saw kids in junior and senior categories blitz through Mathematics questions that would have grown ups like me sweating.

At the end of the competition that saw Juliet Ekoko and Ayoola Oguntade emerge winners in the junior and senior categories, Cowbell had proven to us that the future is bright and geniuses exist amongst us. They had also (most importantly for them) milked the competition (pun intended) and successfully etched their brand in our heads.

7) Amstel Malta

How do you respond to the yearnings of your consumers who need a malt brand that has less sugar content and at the same time contains the basic nutrients for healthy living?

Simple: create a campaign themed #WhyAddMore, and lay emphasis on the fact that sometimes, less is better. I could tell you how the campaign got people talking about simplicity and not overdoing things, but #WhyAddMore, really?


First time I saw this tweet, I had to go check if this was another parody account. But no, it was the official Twitter account of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency. I have always been an advocate for humanizing and ‘humorizing’ the communications platforms of brands and public services so this felt like a personal victory for me.

The serious and boring tone was beginning to be shed for witty comebacks and hilarious dialogues. WIN.

Some people will say they are overdoing it. I disagree. Even while trolling, they are sharing vital information about their core business and getting more eyeballs. WIN, once again.

To the guys managing the EFCC, salute. I must admit, you are walking a thin line though. Do not cross over to the side called ridicule. Thanks

9) GTBank

Truth be told, Guaranty Trust Bank is a pioneer in this Digital business. Back when many organizations felt Social Media was unimportant, GTB prioritized it and established themselves as the cool bank for young people. Even though they took a lot of flak this year due to their sometimes awful banking service, they still promoted a couple campaigns that had the Internet abuzz.

Somebody should tell the guys at GTB to improve the copies on their tweets and stop setting themselves up for clapbacks like this

10) Airtel

See, 2016 was a fantastic year for the first and most rebranded network provider in Nigeria. From sponsoring the hugely successful The Voice Nigeria show to creatively using influencers to promote their various data plans, Airtel sure had a good year. Their witty responses, some imitating the famous lines of Kanmi, the Instagram comedian were golden too.

Then, to round off a good year, Airtel launched a Data is Life campaign with a viral commercial starring Gabriel Afolayan.

Does anyone know the voice behind the jingle? Asa? Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful year for Airtel Nigeria.

11) Heineken

For the longest of time, Heineken has been the official beer partner of the UEFA Champions League. But that is not why we are here. In 2016, the brand held their own on Social Media via their #ShapeYourCity campaign. They also launched a series of limited Heineken City Edition bottles and cans, each bearing the name of renowned cities across the globe including 10 Nigerian cities namely Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Enugu, Benin, Warri, Kaduna, Aba and Onitsha.

But the most impressive thing they did in my opinion is their Go Places campaign – the most innovative recruitment campaign I have ever seen. Go see for yourself – HERE.

12) Peak

Recall a young NYSC member who posted a picture of him and his mom on social Media and mentioned that she sold fish to send him to school? The picture went viral and soon enough, Peak Milk reached out to him and asked ‘blessed’ his mother with gifts and an envelope (if you know, you know). The foremost milk brand followed it up with a campaign themed #MySweetMother and it quickly gathered steam.

Peak also launched an innovative campaign called Pecadomo – basically to show that one could do much more than just drink tea, pap, cereal with peak milk.

Really good year on social media for the milk brand.


So that’s it. 12 brands I thought were exceptional on Social Media last year. Some other brands displayed flashes of brilliance too, so I thought I’d mention them, honorably.


Many Nigerians did not know it was possible to reserve hotels online until came into the scene. In the number of years they have been in the business, they have used humor and witty posts to sell their brand on social media.


Following the footsteps of Access Bank, Stanbic has become a force to reckon with in their own right. See when they trolled the hell out of Paul Pogba. Dab.

Their #TogetherForALimb campaign also touched the very fabrics of our humanity. Great year for these guys. Great year.

Still in the Online Travel Agency space,, which promises the deepest hotel, discounts in Nigeria has found its way into the hearts of many people through their social media platforms. Their very engaging ‘always-on’ content and ability to leverage on trends has stood them out. See their tweet in the midst of the stolen MiFi incidence that trended sometime last year


Between Noodles and Jollof Rice, I sometimes wonder which is more consumed in Nigeria. But that is by the way. In 2016, the biggest noodles brand in Nigeria created campaigns like ‘#YouLikeNoOther and #IndomieBelleful’. They also almost got into trouble when they used someone’s tweet (about them) without (initially) crediting him. (This should spark debates amongst Intellectual property and copyright lawyers). They eventually made amends and …all is well that ends well.


To promote the Phantom 6, Tecno started the year with #MySpecialOne, a campaign that had us appreciating the people who are special to us. They also started a #C9ja campaign, that had celebrities and Social Media influencers exploring Nigeria and taking pictures with the beautiful Tecno C9. I don’t know how I forgot to initially include Tecno, because I personally thought their Beauty and the Beast story on Twitter was a different and interesting way to promote the Phantom 6 Plus.

Good year for Tecno and the guys behind their digital marketing.


Websites associated with the Ponzi scheme are the 5th, 17th and 25th most visited websites in Nigeria. They must be doing something right.

I’m sorry, I just had to end it like this.

Are there any brands you feel should have made the cut? Do comment.

Written by Chidi Okereke

Content creator, Digital Communications guy, Social Media Analyst, Jack of many trades, and master of some.

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