D’banj blew the lid open when he admitted to Stella Dimoko-Korkus of Stella’s Groove (Economium magazine) in an interview that he had been in love with Nollywood actress Genevieve for sometime asides that she was the only person that matched Mo’ Hits criteria for the Fall In Love video. The artiste’s manager also revealed that D’ Banj had dreamt of working on a video with the actress since his Pere days.
When questioned, Genevieve did not refute D’Banj’s claims but was also non-committal about the status of their relationship. Both of them requested that the public should respect their privacy. However, some industry watchers have refused to see this new found affection between the two-some as a natural occurrence, sparking controversy.
Both parties are like the proverbial goldfish which cannot be hid. And even though they are obviously attracted to each other, one cannot say for sure unless they affirm to this. The lacuna has fuelled two main viewpoints: This is either a publicity stunt or both celebrities are truly in love with each other. If they are in love, one cannot help but wonder what attracted Romeo and Juliet to each other. Could it have been that both were genuinely interested in each other or as a result of their partnering together for a common goal? And if a publicity stunt, the question then is: Who is leveraging who? A brief look into the lifestyle these artistes may provide some clue.
Genevieve is a multi-talented actress and her career has taken her to the nook and cranny of the world. At some point, she ventured into music which did not quite go as expected. It is alleged that she may be looking for a way to get back on the musical track. Needing a push with her music career, the actress could as well be said to be the one that will benefit from the deal.
D’banj is the product of a carefully crafted PR job. His googled eye, unconventional manners and koko seeking adventurism are only attributes of his brand that differentiate him from other musicians in his category. The Koko master is a successful musician. Every song on his album is a hit, a trait shared by the entire Mo’ Hits crew. His only known unimpressive project till date may be the Koko Mansion TV reality show, in collaboration with pay TV provider HiTV. The show, designed to uncover the attributes of the true Nigerian woman, received many knocks as the housemates were believed to lack the requisite sophistication for such image.
In that interview with Dimoko-Korkus, D’banj sounded like a man in love but he also sounded too confident and too blunt to be believable. This is the main reason why one may likely agree with those who suggest that this is a publicity stunt. M2 sought the opinions of PR specialists on the issue.
According to Kola Amodu, the General Manager of a frontline Lagos based agency, “In Public Relations it is quite possible to use someone else’s goodwill for the benefit of another depending on the aim of the effort,” noting that there must however be a platform for goodness. He continues that “this is known as repositioning and it can take the form of CSR. A lot of things that have been done wrongly can be redone while riding on another’s good image. But you must be seen to be ready to be redeemed. It can take the form of you associating with the responsible one who can launch the other one. The most important thing is that whatever you do, you must not be lying. Part of image redemption is to ride on another’s goodwill. As for the issue of Genevieve and D’banj, it may and it may not be a stunt. They both are doing well in their chosen careers. They are both successful international brands and they fit into the youth market segment.
“There was a situation like this involving Onyeka Onwenu and King Sunny Ade. Sunny Ade is well known and Onyeka is well known too, so there is a brand fit between them and that was why the United Nations project on family planning was given to them. Speculators started positing that they were dating but Onyeka came out and told the world that Sunny Ade was her musical husband. She was able to balance the hook by giving the media something to work on and not lose their support but yet cleared the ground for speculators. D’banj and Genevieve’s case is another one. Both of them are ambassadors to great brands and it is no wonder that they are said to be dating because there is a great fit between the duo. Looking at them from both a sentimental and commercial value, their coming together makes the rumour meagre whether this is true or not.”
Chibuzor Patrick of Meljestin PR reveals that it is not only possible but also normal to rob off someone else’s goodwill on another as PR serves for mutual exchange which ties the loose ends between expectations and results. “Marketers use good products to sell bad ones, companies hire crises managers, so individuals can launder their own image with another reputable individual.”
She maintains that life is not a matter of milestones but of moments, “once the media searchlight is on one’s life, every of the person’s actions are judged by induced sentiment. It is good thinking for the person who notices the gaps in his or her reputation and tries to do something about it. We must create a platform that we own and must realize that the little efforts we commit to our reputation change process through collabos or role model influence can form the mighty ocean needed to wash away negative tags and enhance one’s self worth. PR says that any publicity is good publicity, it is better than being unknown and unnoticed. If there is a relationship between Genevieve and D’banj then I don’t think it is a stunt at all. No one in this world can appeal to everyone’s taste, each person has a preference. Two persons that are already in the lime light have no need for publicity stunts; rather, they will share the mutual benefits of good association which includes mutual enjoyment, mutual respect, shared experiences, trust and reciprocity. I feel that they should rather be left alone.”
Tijani Adegbola, an artiste image consultant, says upcoming artistes can be promoted on the shoulders of established, reigning ones. He asserts that this helps to publicize the artiste and also rubs the aura of the more established brand on him. Adegbola further cautions that, “That is why one has to be careful when choosing whom his artiste rapports with because it has everything to do with your image. Also, depending on the aim of your collaboration with the artiste, sometimes the regular life of the established artiste you want to use might not matter especially if what you’re after is just publicity. I am not sure both Genevieve and D’banj are having an affair and even if they do, I don’t think there is any thing wrong in that. Both of them are accomplished in their fields and it is not as if any of them has been married. Whatever they have in common I believe is business, if not, good luck to both of them.
In conclusion, Patrick asserts that, “I don’t think that their relationship, if they have any, has anything to do with image re-branding. They are both charismatic which has made their confidence contagious. When you develop your self worth, those around you – friends, family, associates and allies – will also increase their confidence levels in you. The fastest way to loose what one possesses is lack of proper concentration and management. You must ensure the clever use of profile rise if you want it to become a life long asset and that is what public relations entails.”
All said and done, the true story between these top rated celebrities remain at best speculations. But whatever the motive, they should be mindful that their reputations can either be furthered or diminished by how this relationship plays out in the public domain. They must play sensibly.
Written by Eunice Nze.