By NBF News

Uche Nwaziapu,winner Gulder Ultmate Search 2009 receiving the key to his brand new SUV from Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State. First right is Jacco van der Linden,Marketing Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc

Nigerian Breweries (NB) Plc, has unveiled plans for this year's edition of its highly entertaining youth empowerment television reality show, 'The Gulder Ultimate Search (GUS).' This was revealed recently by top managers of the company at a press conference held at the corporate headquarters of the brewery giant in Iganmu, Lagos.

The Corporate Affairs Adviser, Mr. Yusuf Ageni disclosed that this year's edition 'would be explosive'. 'Participants are in for a raw deal. The programme has been designed in such that TV audience, the participants and our customers would not only be entertained, but would have something to take away from it. We are once again redefining TV reality show in Nigeria'.

Mr. Ageni said that 'If the search for the 'Horn of Valour' and more importantly 'Golden Goblet' was very challenging and exciting, then, you haven't seen anything yet. In line with our promise to always be at the forefront of innovation, the Ultimate show is coming to your screens once again but, this time, with a refreshingly new twist', he emphasized.

According to Ageni, the programme, which is now in its seventh series, has become so successful that other mass market brands in the country are now adopting reality TV programme as a marketing platform to communicate their brand essence and values especially to the youth market segment.

The Gulder Ultimate Search as we now know it, started in the 'mysterious Snake Island', after which it moved to the 'meandering cold hills of Obudu', and then after 'we found ourselves at 'NIFOR', the very humid forest that houses the Oil palm research institute in Edo State. We then progressed to 'Shere Hills' in Jos, Plateau State, the following year's search was then moved to 'Awgu Hills' Mmaku, where contestants searched for the lost chronicle. Last year, we again returned to the west i.e. to Omodo Forest, Aagba in Osun State', Ageni explained

Living to its billing, NB made journalists as the Press briefing to participate in a mock Gulder Ultimate Search. The exercise was packed full of fun as Entertainment Editors, Brand Writers and photo journalists slugged it out to find the hidden treasure. Eventually, the last man standing was Mr. Tunde Akinboro of AIT who went home with an LCD TV while others went home with consolation prizes.

Explaining the rationale for the media mock Gulder Ultimate Search for journalists at the venue, the Media & Public Affairs Manager, Mr Edem Vindah said, 'the idea is to let our journalist friends have a feel of what the idea is all about. Today, we just want our media friends to share in the fun and to say thank you for being part of the Gulder Ultimate Search in the past seven years'.

The setting for this year's search will be the undulating plains of the Ogun Forestry Plantation, Project Area J4, Omo Forest Reserve in Ijebu-East LGA, Ogun State. This search will not be for the faint-hearted, it will not be for the timid. Only the fearless and determined 10 will go into the woods of Project J4 Forest. Only these 'League of Ultimate men' will enter this forest so dense even sunlight struggles to permeate. These men & ladies will battle against nature and the wild. Only one will be crowned 'The Ultimate Hero'.

Entry for the Search is free and the selection process will be rigorous with a national spread. The application form will be available on Gulder Ultimate Search website till August 30. This internet-based application process will lead to thousands of people being screened in four regions across Nigeria. The four locations for the physical regional screening will be Lagos, Owerri, Benin and Abuja. The final screening in Lagos will produce 10 strong, intelligent, able-bodied young men and women who are determined to go the extra mile to achieve success.

The winning prizes for GUS are unparallel in the history of brand promotion in Nigeria. According to Mr Edem Vindah, 'the prizes are carefully chosen not only for the purpose of winning, but for the economic empowerment of the Nigerian youth. It is our way of contributing to the financial empowerment of the Nigerian youth, so that they can use their winnings to do something meaningful with their lives.'

The brave individual who emerges the 'Ultimate Man/Woman' will be rewarded with a cash prize of N7million (seven million Naira), a wardrobe allowance of N500,000 and a new SUV that is at the market valued at N10million.

Ezugo Egwuagu, a young man of 21, won the maiden edition of Gulder Ultimate Search in 2004. He went home with N3 million cash prize. The second edition was won in 2005 by Lucan Chambliss, a 24-year-old man, who went home with a cash prize of N5 million.

In 2006, during the third edition, Nigerian Breweries, decided to up the ante by adding a new Ford Explorer to the cash prize of N5million for the last man standing. The ultimate man that year was a slim looking young man, Hector Jobarteh.

The last man standing in the fourth edition in 2007 was Dominic Mudabai. He went home with a cash prize of N5million and a brand new Ford Explorer. However, in 2008, the ultimate brand decided to increase the winning prize again for the Ultimate man. The last man standing in that year's edition Michael Nwachukwu, went home with N7million cash and an SUV jeep.

In the sixth edition, which was themed the 'Horn of Valour', The Ultimate Man, Uche Nwaezeapu went home with N7million cash prize, a wardrobe allowance of N500, 000 and an SUV. .

In May this year, the Gulder brand came up with the celebrity edition of the Gulder Ultimate Search which was held at the La Campaigne Tropicana Resort, in Ajah, Lagos. It was packed full of fun, suspense, intrigues and disappointments. Participants in that edition were top music divas and Nollywood top echelon such as Daddy Showkey, Abass Akanda, comic act Princess, Emeka Ike, Dare Art -Alade, Weird MC, Muma Gee and Bob Manuel Udokwu, who had anchored the programme thrice in the past. Others included Chioma Chukwuka, Funke Akindele of the Jenifa fame. Emeka Ike was the last Man Standing. It was anchored by top rated actress Genevieve Nnaji. ..

Today, the Gulder Ultimate Search has become a reference point in TV reality production and packaging. Not only does it produce the last man standing, the concept is designed to produce the last woman standing.