This research looks at the films from two companies both dealing with oil, one petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell, the other vegetable, Unilever’s subsidiary UAC, just before and after the Nigerian independence. Concentrating on films (that also deal with products other than oil) from this period enables us to consider a set of representations that reflect the ideas of the company on a local and international scale as films were used to promote their reputation and legitimise their work. Modernity, scientific innovation, and technology were often used in terms of visual aesthetics, shaping a collective imagination of the industry, the country in which it resided and the people who were its employees. By researching these films we can develop a better understanding of branding strategies, especially within a (post) colonial setting, give new insights into global and local market perspectives, create a new view on the transnational dynamics of a modern media, and deepen our awareness of non-fiction industrial film. As films communicate a brand identity and its accompanying values to consumers and audiences, researching their multiple forms and uses from a historical and cross-cultural perspective, as well as from a corporate viewpoint, deepens our understanding of the important international, national and local circulation and influence of multimedia practices.

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Technology, Exchange and Flow: Artistic Media Practices & Commercial Application

Canjels, R. (2017). The Dynamics of Celluloid on the Road to Independence: Unilever and Shell in Nigeria. Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.