In recent times, celebrity endorsements have become a more widely used marketing tool. More and more brands hope to leverage on the popularity of a celebrity to gain product awareness and visibility in the crowded media space, especially online.

According to data cited in Zoovu, around 14-19 percent of advertisements aired in the United States feature celebrities that endorsed products and brands. Nike alone is said to spend $475 million annually on getting athletes to endorse their brand. Marketwatch reports that a simple announcement from a brand signing a celebrity or athlete can cause stock prices to rise slightly and even increase sales by 4 percent on average.

There are countless examples of this. Research on the economic value of celebrity endorsement by Chung et al reported that after Chanel signed Nicole Kidman in 2003, global sales of the promoted Chanel perfume increased by 30 percent. Additionally, Tiger Woods’ endorsement deal with Nike reportedly took Nike’s market share from 0.9 percent to 4 percent in 6 months.

Previously, Nigerian brands focused only on actors, music artistes, and athletes as celebrities with a fanbase strong enough for them to consider partnering with. However, more brands are turning to a certain hothouse of talent to find celebrities to collaborate with – you guessed it right; it’s the Big Brother Naija show.

At this point, Big Brother Naija no longer needs any introduction.

We all know what it is. It may be called Big Brother Naija (BBNaija), but it’s undoubtedly the biggest reality show on African television!

Once a new season begins, non-stop conversations around the housemates and happenings in the house cause the show to trend on social media literally every day for the three-month or so duration.

As it is a competition, a winner must eventually emerge, but it doesn’t end there. The show has gathered a cult following of die-hard fans who transfer their love for the show to their favorite housemates. Keeping up with the activities of their favorite housemate and showing support for them on social media become the fans’ new pastime.

The intense popularity of the show for viewers makes it a win-win for everyone involved. Viewers get all the entertainment they could want (and then some more), while the BBNaija organizers and advertisers get massive returns on investment. But let’s not forget the housemates themselves.

This year, the show recorded an unprecedented number of auditions – over 30,000 Nigerians auditioned for a chance to be a part of the BBNaija show. But there is a reason thousands of young Nigerians jostle for the opportunity to audition and land a highly coveted spot in Biggie’s house. They have seen repeated examples of how participating in the Big Brother Naija show has totally transformed the lives of participants.

The BBNaija show follows a ‘winner takes all’ format, but aspiring housemates don’t mind as they know that even if they only spend a few weeks in the house, their careers are as good as made. Participating in the show gives housemates a once-in-a-lifetime chance to sit in the spotlight, which opens the doors for business deals, brand endorsements, and diverse career opportunities with the potential to set them up for financial stability in life.

Mike Edwards from BBNaija 2019 in DStv Explora promotion.

Besides bagging the ₦30 million BBNaija prize money, Mercy Eke, the 2019 winner of the show has been on a roll. Since the show ended in October 2019, she has secured a series of brand endorsements, notably signing deals with brands like Unique Motors, Ciroc, Mr. Taxi, Just Furniture, and several others. With her winnings from the show, she has also launched her own real estate business – Lambo Homes – and has even secured a reality TV show with Multichoice based on her relationship with Ike Onyema, her boyfriend from the BBNaija House.

Mike Edwards who was the first runner-up of the 2019 edition of the show has also bagged series of brand endorsements, inking deals with brands like DStv Explora, Mitsubishi, Budweiser, and several others.

Tobi Bakre was a popular finalist in season three of BBNaija. Since his time in the house, his star has progressively gone on the rise. He has worked with brands such as Amstel Malta, Lord’s Dry Gin, Novarick Homes, Delta Soap, etc. Being a former BBNaija star has also opened other doors for him – he has scored some acting jobs, including a lead role in Hustle, an Africa Magic show.

Ebuka Obi-Uchendu was one of the more popular housemates from season one of the show. After his time in the house, Ebuka continued to win a series of brand deals and endorsements with brands such as Intel, H2Oh!, Gulder, etc. He also secured a series of TV hosting gigs that set the foundation for his present status as the continued host for the BBNaija show.

Bamike ‘Bam Bam’ Olawunmi, an ex-housemate from the third season of the show has also gotten her fair share of fortune, notably partnering with brands such as Fayrouz and smartphone brand, Oppo.

From season one of the Big Brother Naija show to the ‘See Gobbe’ edition, ‘Double Wahala’, and the biggest and most recently held ‘Pepper Dem’ edition, the Big Brother Naija show is popular for creating new sets of celebrities with every season, who become household names in Nigerian pop culture.

The free exposure BBNaija gives to housemates is a platform for them to advertise their skills to an audience they could not have otherwise reached on their own. And of course, with the massive following instantly gained by housemates, it’s no surprise that brands want to partner with them after their time in the house.

On Sunday, July 19th, a new crop of celebrities emerged as 20 housemates that walked into the BBNaija Lockdown house. The activities of these men and women with their diverse backgrounds and personalities will be the subject of conversations in the next 10 weeks and more to come.

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