The Cross River State Carnival & Festivals commission on behalf of the government of Cross River State have announced the retention of Okhma Global, a leading marketing communications consultancy based in Lagos, as the marketing rights owners saddled with the responsibility of leading the sponsorship and marketing drive for the 13th edition of the Calabar Carnival and Festival, that has grown over the years to become Africa’s biggest and most successful tourism destination brand. This would mark Okhma’s third year on the Calabar carnival account.
According to the chairman of the carnival commission, Mr Gabe Onah, “I have had the privilege of having served on the commission for the last ten years. I can say without any equivocation that the quality of services we have received from Okhma over the last three years has been unrivalled. You have not only tried to raise our stakes with sponsors and our other stakeholders, but you have also added outstanding value by enhancing some of the already existent offerings within the carnival platform, you have also helped in creating new ones that are not only reflective of the present times, but also fine -tuned them to meet the sponsorship and brand association aspirations of many participating companies and even helped us attract new ones.”
Consequent of this vote of confidence by the commission, Okhma used the opportunity to unveil the marketing plans for the 2017 Calabar Carnival and Festival based on the theme, ‘Migration’, as announced by His Excellency Governor (professor) Ben Ayade at the end of the last edition of the carnival. During the unveiling of the theme, governor Ben Ayade had said, “I believe, as a young people in government, we have the responsibility to reconstruct the story of Africa, to point the present and coming generation to a new direction, a place where we celebrate the fullness of our humanity and heritage as a people and show the world those unique talents and God-given gifts that makes us the cynosure of eyes across the globe. There is no need for us to seek solutions to challenges elsewhere when those solutions are right here at home.”
Each year, Calabar Carnival unleashes its magic with stunning parades and electrifying cultural and fun activities spanning the entire 30 days in December that the spectacle lasts. In line with governor Ben Ayade’s dream of turning Cross River state into the economic and tourism hub in West Africa, the state governments has set the target of attracting over five million tourists to the state to experience the thrills and frills of the month long festival.
“This year our marketing concepts will explore the theme- migration. The campaign thrust is tagged FURTHER, FASTER, BROADER. It seeks to stimulate and inspire people to focus more in exploring opportunities in Africa. We intend to place emphasis on time and speed. The earlier Africa awakens to its social, cultural and economic obligations, the easier it becomes to meet set development goals our culture and diversity which represents our strength”, said Mary Ephraim, managing director, Okhma.
Mary, who only recently was named by the Cross River State government as a member of the organising committee for the Global summit on climate change and green economy also mentioned some new campaigns to look forward to such as ’EDIYE’- face of our heritage, which means beautiful in efik language, this campaign is dedicated towards uncovering the awesome beauty of the quintessential Calabar/African woman. There is also the launch of a new theme song featuring mega stars such as Banky W. Sammy Okposo, Iyanya and others written and produced by Cobham’s, all illustrious sons of Cross-River.
A pre-carnival party in Lagos featuring Martell, Pernod Ricard brand in November, will herald the 2017 Carnival Calabar and festival events. Other events to look forward includes The Street Carnival, International Carnival, cultural parade, beach soccer, bikers’ show, musical concerts, beach soccer, festival village, boat regatta, special banquets, balls, Light-Up-Calabar- a sustainability focused event dedicated to promoting the use of recycled materials and renewable energy, amongst so many others.