“We did it” says Aussie expat Mike Miller, ECD of independent agency X3M Ideas, as it brings home Nigeria’s first ever Cannes Lion


Aussie expat Mike Miller, executive creative director of independent Nigerian agency X3M Ideas, is celebrating as the agency takes home Nigeria’s first ever Cannes Lion.


This audacious feat by X3M Ideas represents a first-ever win not just for the most populous black nation, but also a first Cannes Lion win for West Africa. The work won a prestigious Bronze Lion from the midst of over 688 brilliant campaigns from different countries across the world.

The winning work titled “The Soot Life Expectancy Campaign” was created for a Non-profit organization, The Extra Step Initiative, and aimed at raising awareness on a critical environmental issue -the soot crisis faced by the city of Port-Harcourt, Nigeria. On some days, soot particles found in Rivers State reach a level 40x worse than the World Health Organization’s guideline for 24-hour exposure with little being done by the government to address it.

The campaign highlighted the gravity of this problem by creating a formula that calculated and issued a new, but more realistic life expectancy for people who have ever spent time in Rivers State, Nigeria. This was done using soot data obtained from the German Environmental Protection Agency spanning 41 countries, combined with the average air quality data of Rivers State, plus the official life expectancy of Nigeria.  This formula was locked into a website called “www.sootcity.com”, allowing people to visit and check in real-time their new life expectancy. The website was then linked to LED boards and social media so that once people checked their life expectancy, they also shared the information with the public, therefore, creating even more discourse.

The idea was executed brilliantly using user-generated posters which featured across multiple billboards in 3 of Nigeria’s most populous cities. Everyone who engaged with the website had a petition automatically sent on their behalf to more than 80+ Nigerian senators. The website also hosted a 30-mins documentary on the soot crisis in Rivers and was embedded with live Air Quality data of Rivers state.

The agency, X3M Ideas which celebrated its 10th year of existence last August always had the bold and audacious dream of bringing home Nigeria’s first Cannes Lion and the occasion was made more memorable being that this year is Cannes Lions 70th anniversary.

Bringing the campaign to life required the expertise and craft from different members of the team. These include Mike Miller [Executive Creative Director], Anthony Eigbe [Creative Director], Kelechi Uduma, Oladunni Williams [Deputy Creative Directors], Samuel Oluwagbemi [Head Of Art], Sodiq Sheu, Godswill Kalu [Art Directors], Misturah Owolabi, Aidovhioghie Anani [Copywriters], Pelumi Fadolapo [Key Researcher], Oluwatosin Olanrewaju [Editor], Deji Balogun, Simisola Apatira, Olajumoke Fakomi [Digital Team], the full PR support provided by the Black House Media team and of course, the guidance and full weight of Steve Babaeko [Group CEO].

“We did it” says Aussie expat Mike Miller, ECD of independent agency X3M Ideas, as it brings home Nigeria’s first ever Cannes Lion