New generational media in Nigeria are replete with video clips of “on the street interviews” with different people, for the singular purpose of creating jokes out of people’s mistakes and making people laugh at the obviously ‘daft Nigerians’.
Every day, Kraks TV heads out to the streets with one purpose: to make fun of people. They approach people with tricky questions and when those people flop terribly, they make memes and funny video compilations with their flops and share across social media for others to laugh at and ‘reduce their stress’ while they (the media platforms) make money from it.
Viral Vox Pop videos show presenters playing on the ‘stupidity’ of the viewers by asking poorly educated trick questions and exploiting their confusion.
One of such questions asked on a video released on Pulse TV’s YouTube Channel on June 7, 2017, is “have you ever seen a female human” and some of the answers, from those who are obviously thrown off balance, and without proper education, reflect proper confusion, which is the intent of the media platform.
Another persistent trend in the new media in Nigeria and in most of the world is the staging of videos under the guise of candid interviews and vox pop.
One such popular staged video is the episode of ‘Vox pop’ where a presenter from Kraks TV asked a man at a public event what the female Hyena is called. The response the supposed participant gave culminated in the slang ‘Hyenana’ which trended for some time until it was discovered that the interview was planned and was used to promote that particular individual.
Soon after BBC’s documentary on Codeine which influenced public and, arguably government’s, opinion and decision to ban Codeine Syrup, Pulse Tv released a seemingly scripted documentary about sexual harassment. A video which did more to mock victims of sexual harassment than promote awareness, even though it says the latter.
Targeting the Poor
Most of the vox pop shows that are done by these media houses are targeted at the poor and uneducated who would obviously flunk the questions. For example, questions about Government policy are intentionally taken to the streets where there are people who know very little or nothing about government policy and when they flunk, the videos are used in garnering traffic and making money.
This monumental embarrassment to a Nation, viewed across the world, portraying Nigerians as stupid and unintelligent, even when confusion and heavy editing is employed, is not condemned but praised by the establishment.
In 2017, Femi Bakre, Founder of Kraks TV was mentioned as one of the Global Influencers of Nigerian origin. While this could be a lesson in rewarding hard work, it is also important to note that this same brand exploits other people’s naiveties for popularity.
Courtesy of this game on Nigeria’s image home and abroad, many of these media houses often have massive followership on social media and as such, they get much profit from their platforms by advertising for brands to their large followership.
Decent “On the Street” Vox Pop concepts
While most of the On the Street vox pop shows available on the internet are meant for the sole purpose of humour, there are still some very decent and educational on the street vox pop shows which are also quite hilarious.
A popular example of this is the Jimmy Kimmel on the street vox pop show in which random people are asked educational questions and taught the answers when they fail it. While this is usually hilarious, it is also very educating because, unlike the ones in Nigeria, the presenter for the Jimmy Kimmel vox pop tells the participants the answers that they have failed, thereby contributing to their education.
Another example is when a blogger took a video recorder to parents who brought their children to play in a park. He sought their permission to try and see if he can trick their child to follow him and they said he can not. He tries and succeeds with all tries and this opened the parents’ eyes to the vulnerability of their child’s security and made them realize they have to do more in training the kids on how to be safe and how to handle strangers.
Unfortunately, these good examples are hardly seen in Nigeria.