TV Reviews

This is how we made the dope Mawowowo ad: Abel Mutua explains


Abel Mutua, the writer of Ilara milk’s ‘mawowowo’ advert. COURTESY

It is not surprising that an advert as dope as the “mawowowo” one for Ilara milk would be the work of Abel Mutua, one of Kenya’s top creatives.

Mutua, who scripted the ad, has finally explained how they came up with the concept.

He has also shown behind-the-scenes details of making the ad, where top-billed actor-cum-singer Pascal Tokodi played a big role.

In an Instagram video shared by his erstwhile protege Njugush (watch it here), Mutua says the task he faced was to explain that Ilara has riboflavin, the chemical commonly called Vitamin B2.

Not just that; the former Tahidi High actor was supposed to explain that in a language that a six-year-old could understand.

“It was a hard nut to crack,” he explains in the video.

“How we planned to make this thing stick into people’s minds was by incorporating the element of rhythm and dance,” he says, then performs the “mawowowo” dance that has now gained a place in Kenya’s households.

Those who watched the ad will easily retell the message that Vitamin B2 gives them energy, or “mawowowo”.

In a Facebook post in April, Abel Mutua praised Pascal Tokodi’s role in creating the ad.

“I saw this young chap @Pascal Tokodi several years ago, killing a school play at Lenana High School. Immediately, I knew he was going to be a force. I’ve seen him rise to greatness in a very short time. So when I heard that we’d be working together on this piece, I knew that it was going to be 🔥 [lit]. And the boy did not disappoint!” he wrote.

Mutua added that this is how roles were shared in creating the ad:

Written by Abel Mutua (Philittv)
Directed by Pascal Tokodi
Produced by Mojo Productions

Mojo Productions is headed by Jossie Ndanu and is located along Lenana Road, Nairobi.

Their list of their clients, as detailed on their website, has virtually every big company in Kenya including Safaricom, Scanad, Nation Media Group, KTN, Samsung, Coca-Cola, PSI, Unga Group and Brookside.

The mawowowo advert has been widely acclaimed by spectators for its creativity and its being relatable.

(Read our analysis of audience reception.)

And it is not the first hit for the Ilara brand. Previous adverts of their yoghurt also got many positive reviews and it seems like Abel Mutua is on the way to rewriting the way we view our adverts and marketing strategies in the country.

Njugush, ever the clown, said in his post that the only problem with Mutua, despite his bright mind, is that he is a fashion disaster.

“Never met half genius the being that you are,” Njugush chided. “Shida yako tu ni kuvaa cap, hoodie na ma timber na making jeans unakaa mwatha kwai. Kubaaaaf; you can’t have brains na huwezi vaa. Nkt.”




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