You know Squid Game?
Where participants are recruited to play children’s games for money but with deadly consequences?
Squid Game is the rave series of the moment on Netflix. It has broken Netflix’s record, exceeding over 111million viewers worldwide! That’s how popular it is. It is so popular that even in Nigeria, we’ve recreated our own online versions and interpretations of this series.
Now, how does this connect with the Nigerian youth?
I saw an ad online, actually, several ads online and after watching; I told myself, “Here are recruits for Squid Game Naija Edition.”
What ads did I see?
Loan ads. Actually, I saw several of such ads from the same company but with different story lines; albeit with the same concept though.
I will not name the brand nor the company behind it. But these ads are targeted at young Nigerians. In one of the 30 seconds ad; a young man in his early 20s is visited by his girlfriend. When she demanded for money, he showed her his empty pockets. She hissed at him and left him in a huff!
A friend then comes along and tells him not to be a fool and lose his babe. He tells our young man that simply by registering on an app on his phone; he can get a loan very quickly, as much as N500,000 to take care of his babe and enjoy himself.
The young man happily begins the process.
A very persuasive ad, I must say. This particular company or brand has several similar ads luring young Nigerians to take fast loans and “enjoy” themselves.
First off, it’s a loan without collateral and it’s so in your face; in your phone and very easy to apply for. It is targeted at people whose first instinct is ‘enjoyment.’
I didn’t have to think much of the ad because it wasn’t targeted at me; therefore, it held little appeal. But I worried for its target audience, young people, many of whom do not have steady jobs or any job at all; who because they want to “take their babes out” will go get loans that will “hook” them for the rest of their lives…
Candidates for Squid Game, don’t you think?
And it’s beginning to play out. These days, you get text messages telling you a certain person named you as guarantor for a loan the person took. (This is usually regardless of whether you know the person or not/ agreed to stand as guarantor or not/ or could even be a completely faceless individual who makes you wonder how he/she got your number in the first place.)
The text message threatens you, telling you your name and face would be posted online and offline as a defaulter… “THIS WILL BE POSTED ALONGSIDE YOUR PICTURE TO SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY IF THE PERSON FAILS TO PAY TODAY,,,, FOR THE MENTIONED PERSON PROVIDED US WITH YOUR DETAILS AND IF YOU ARE NOT AWARE ,,,YOU CAN AS WELL TELL THE PERSON TO REMOVE YOUR DETAILS,,,, “
I have had several friends and even family members come out to say they neither knew the said defaulter; nor stood as guarantor for the said loan. The bottom line is, people are taking loans and getting ensnared in huge debts. More than half of them have no means or intention of paying back, thus; PREPARING them as recruits into some deadly arrangements where they hope to win money without much effort; receive bonuses or kill for it.
Isn’t that what Squid Game is all about?
Is it too far-fetched?
Who says it necessarily will be called Squid Game?
Can’t it be kidnapping?
Thugs/Assassins, especially with elections around the corner…
There are many people out there waiting for the Squid Game opportunity. The reality is that this will be no game, like we saw in the series. It will be real. People will die. Innocent people will die. People will turn against their neighbours, friends, family…to survive.
The amber light is on and we pray it does not turn green.