Revealed: How Toyin Lawani is using controversies to cash out on social media


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The year was 2015. I was commissioned to have an interview with the innovative serial entrepreneur, Toyin Lawani. That bright Saturday afternoon I had high expectations about the light skinned damsel behind the Tiannah’s Place Empire. When I got into her facility that houses over 20 businesses Toyin engages in, I couldn’t but be marveled at her drive and knack for creating value.




Controversy in entertainment is nothing new. Celebrities are always looking for ways to create a splash and sometimes controversy is the best way to do that.  Though getting tangled in controversial issues affects how a brand is perceived, it can also create attention and exposure for the individual.

Daniel Hennessy in a chat with CNBC said introducing controversy can be an effective way to get noticed.

“The cleverest thing an advertiser can do is the opposite of what everyone else is doing,” said Hennessy. “Sometimes it’s risky, yes; but it’s better to be talked about than not talked about.”


When it comes to using controversy to get attention for a brand, Toyin sure knows how to do it. From making controversial statements, to setting social media abuzz with her nude pictures and admirable sense of style, to her signature tattoo-dotted plunging cleavage, the single mother of two isn’t a rookie in this department.



In the article, Controversial Marketing: Exploiting Outrage for Massive Exposure, Azfar noted: “With internet marketing being the new thing in town, marketers now find themselves having control over a much wider variety of communication medium. Facebook, Reddit, YouTube comment section, you name it. They’re free and can be done anonymously. All while having the same perks of influencing people’s perception.

The rewards can be great: high virality ensures a large-scale spread of coverage in a very short time, with commentators and commenters all looking to weigh in on the issue and share their thoughts (and your marketing in the process)”.





In an interview, Toyin was asked why she shared a semi-nude photo of herself in a bathtub, she said:” If I didn’t do that how do I convince my customers that the product is working. That wasn’t a nude photograph. Did you not see my hands across my chest with my products in-between? Just small thing and everybody was shouting. You know I schooled abroad where I learnt about beauty. I am very exposed and don’t see it as a big deal. Meanwhile, when Beyoncé does it they will be hailing her – or even Rihanna. People should just go and sit down because they are hypocrites. What regrets? I am making money. You better look out for my next photographs. When people see my skin sparkling come and see the way they rush to get my products. I use strictly Tiannah Beauty Glow products. I don’t joke with my herbal magic polish. My black soap, my scrub –everything is Tiannah’s Glow”


Lawani believes, If you want to stand out, you cannot always play it safe. Therefore, she uses ‘shock’ to keep people talking about her.

It is worth mentioning that though these controversies keeps her  in constant media coverage, she sometimes doesn’t have the emotional stamina to withstand the condemnations.



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