By James Agberebi:
Guinness Nigeria PLC on Sunday unveiled Arsenal and France legend Thierry Henry as the ambassador for their ‘Made of Black’ campaign.
The unveiling ceremony took place along with a media press conference at the Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Present at the unveiling ceremony were Legal Director and Company Secretary, Guinness Nigeria PLC, Rotimi Odusola; Marketing and Innovation Director, Guinness Nigeria PLC, Adenike Adebola; Managing Director, Guinness Nigeria PLC, Peter Ndegwa; Corporate Relations Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Viola Graham-Douglas; and Marketing Manager, Premium Core Brands, Guinness Nigeria PLC.
Part of the events lined up during the unveiling was Henry being taught how to cook and eat Nigerian jollof rice and also photo sessions with football fans.
Speaking at the event, Henry expressed his delight coming to Nigeria. The 1998 FIFA World Cup winner revealed how he grew up watching the Super Eagles back in 1994 and the Nigerian delicacy he had on arrival in the country.
“I am happy to be here, first time in Nigeria,” he began. “I played with Victor Ikpeba, I played with Nwankwo Kanu, they kept telling me you have to go (to Nigeria) , they love the game there. I knew that for a fact because I grew up watching the Super Eagles back in 1994. Before that a lot of Nigerians played in France, (Samson) Siasia (Stephen) Keshi, may he rest in peace. All those guys played in France and that was the first time I knew about Nigeria and they did so well. And the Super Eagles backed it up at the 1994 World Cup, and what a team Nigeria had then. I am very happy to be here and I had already had fufu so I am ready.”
Henry, popularly referred to as ‘Igwe’ by Arsenal fans, was also ceremonially dressed as an Igbo chief at the event.
In his speech, MD, Guinness Nigeria, Ndegwa, gave reasons why Guinness decided to pick Henry as the ambassador for their Made of Black movement.
“We are delighted at Guinness Nigeria PLC to be hosting a major milestone for our business and our partnership with football. We want to thank everyone that has been associated with Guinness,” Ndegwa said.
“Guinness is a household name in Nigeria. We have been in Nigeria for 67 years. Nigeria is the first country we set up manufacturing plants outside Britain, so Guinness and Nigeria have a special place.
“We have been associated with football for a very long time. And we know that football is a passion for millions of Nigerians and also a passion across the world. Guinness has
sponsored football for a long time including the sponsorship of the English Premier League in terms of broadcasting rights and that’s why we are delighted today to be welcoming our Made of Black ambassador, Thierry Henry. So why are we here, as we know, Guinness has lauched a major movement which is called Made of Black, and Made of Black is about those consumers or fans or individuals who want to go for success and want to be the very best. Made of Black is not about colour, it’s about attitude to want to achieve the very best.”
Ndegwa stated further: “We are very proud to be partnering with Henry as our Made of Black ambassador. Henry is an iconic brand in football across the world and in particular the English Premier League. Henry is a four-time English Premier League top scorer, he is Arsenals all time top scorer with 228 goals and also for France with 51 goals.
“Behind Henry’s glittering career was a fanatical dedication, honouring his craft, always reaching to be better, always wanting to achieving more and giving back no matter what the success he has had. He is a very humble individual and I am sure consumers in this country will connect with him.”