Nigeria is unarguably the capital of music in Africa with many talented and creative acts. Focusing on breakthrough endorsements or ambassadorial deals that brought Nigerian artistes to limelight, there is a noticeable pattern amongst them. Many of these musicians signed their major breakthrough endorsement deals only after their hit songs. WN brings you the top ten list of artistes with their breakthrough endorsement deals.
Comic rapper, Folarin Falana, aka Falz, who is also the son of lawyer human rights activist, Femi Falana, has a great musical career. The award winning rapper came into limelight with a very unique style of music which quickly became his identity, gaining him a wide range of acceptance and fan base. Falz describes his style of music as “Wahzup music”. It is the fusion of comic lyrics with contemporary hip-hop in a faux Yoruba accent. He started his musical career in 2009 but didn’t gain recognition until 2011, when he released a single titled Wahz Up Guy, then released High Class and Currency, which gained him grounds in the Nigerian music industry.
In December 2016, he became a brand ambassador for BlackBerry Messenger, BBM, which was a big deal back in the day. Falz had earlier released a song with Ajebutter22 titled Regards to Your Mumsi where he used the lyrics on his Instagram caption “You Can reash me on pinging” which may have helped him land the endorsement.
Famous Nigerian singer, Ade Ebenezer, popularly known as Olakira, bagged a one-of-a-kind global endorsement deal with the Italian luxury auto manufacturer Maserati. The brand also gifted the singer a new luxury Maserati ride. This is the first time the Maserati brand would collaborate with an African artiste.
31-year-old Olakira became famous after releasing his 2020 hit song In my Maserati, which has garnered over 36 million views on YouTube. Interestingly, the song’s lyrics have come to manifestation as the singer, as part of the endorsement deal, has been given access to Maserati luxury cars in any country he visits.
Simisola Bolatito Kosoko, better known by her stage name Simi, has been in the industry since 2006 but gained prominence in 2014 after releasing hit single Tiff.
Simi landed her first major endorsement deal since breaking into the mainstream in 2017 after her top chart music Jamb Question. She signed with telecommunications company, Etisalat and a year after in 2018 bagged an international deal with popular browser, Opera Mini as their brand ambassador in Nigeria.
4. Banky W
R & B Singer cum actor, Bankole Wellington popularly known as Banky W has been in the industry since 2002 but made his debut into the Nigerian music industry with his hit song, Ebute Metta. It was an instant hit especially because its tune was culled from American singer, Rihanna’s Umbrella.
After the release of Ebute Metta, Banky W landed his first advert deal with Etisalat in 2008. He wrote the first theme song of Etisalat Nigeria titled “0809ja for life”. According to ace music producer, Cobhams Asuquo, he got Banky W the Etisalat gig at the time due to the Ebute Metta song. Cobhams also revealed Banky W rejected the advert money which was reportedly worth millions at the time. That was only the beginning as Banky W went on to ink many endorsements deals for top brands like MTN, Samsung Mobile, Coca-Cola, Ciroc, and so on.
The pop duo have been in the frontline of entertainment in Africa for a very long time and it was saddening when they split up in 2016. Fortunately, the P-Square brothers are back, better and stronger as of 17th November 2021, the duo ended their long time feud and reconciled to the anticipation of everyone.
They’ve started their musical journey in 2003 but didn’t hit limelight until 2005, with Temptation and Bizzy Body. Their biggest endorsement deal has to be the one signed with Globacom in 2013 said to be worth about N140 million. They were also given a Glo branded Mercedes Benz G-Wagon worth over 25million naira each, making it well over 50million naira as add-ons to the cash endorsement.
Omawumi Megbele, known as Omawumi for short, shot into limelight after becoming the first runner up at the 2007 West African idols. She is said to be one of the highest paid female artistes charging up to N5 million per show. Omawumi’s breakthrough endorsement deal, like P-Square is the one she signed with the telecommunications giant, Globacom in 2013, reportedly worth over N25 million. She has since signed clinched other deals like Konga, Mortein, Malta Guinness and so on.
With D’banj’s first album, No Long Thing (2005), came his first endorsement from an energy drink called Power Fist. The deal’s worth is unknown but it was a breakthrough for him which opened doors to bigger deals many years after like the Bank of Industry (BOI), Globacom, Heritage bank, Beats by Dre, Ciroc Nigeria, SLOT and so on. Dbanj is currently among the richest Afrobeats artists in Nigeria.
Wizkid, Born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun came into limelight with his hit song, Holla at Your Boy (2010). His breakthrough endorsements were surprisingly back to back and they just kept pouring in after the first deal.
Just two years (2012) after the award-winning song, he signed a one-year endorsement deal with Pepsi reported to be worth about N145 million, which was further renewed for an additional two years. A year after In 2013, Wizkid signed a one-year deal with MTN Nigeria.
The MTN deal was said to be doubled by rival telecom giant, Globacom, to land him on their side. In 2015, Wizkid signed a 2year deal worth N128 million with Globacom.
9. Tiwa Savage
It was just like yesterday when songstress, Tiwa Savage made her debut in the music industry with her first album Once Upon a Time in 2013.
The same year, the singing bird and mother-of-one clinched an MTN deal worth N30 million. Other endorsement deals include contracts with Pepsi, Forte Oil and Maggi which has made Tiwa one of the richest female singers in Nigeria.
David Adedeji Adeleke aka Davido gained prominence the year he got into the music industry with his debut studio album Omo Baba Olowo which was released in 2011. The album won many awards and the singles Back When, Dami Duro, Ekuro, Overseas amongst others received frequent airplay. Just a few months after the release of his debut album, he clinched a record deal worth about N30 million. The deal unveiled him as the face of MTN Pulse, a marketing campaign aimed at Nigerian youth.
Year after year, Davido keeps getting major endorsements like Guinness Nigeria, Sony Music, Pepsi, Infinix mobile, a Hong Kong-based smartphone manufacturer, First Bank, Wema Bank, Munch It, Puma and so on.
In other news, here is a list of ten popular Nigerian actors and actresses with movies that brought them into limelight before they became screen gods. Read details here