Last Wednesday, various stakeholders in Nigeria’s advertising eco-system inclusively answered a call by Advertisers Association of Nigeria, (ADVAN) for a dialogue to re-shape the industry which they unanimously noticed that its performance curve has gone southwards.
The massive turnout by leaders in regulatory instutitions, media buying, creative agencies, outdoor and advertising companies signposts the enormity of the challenge facing the industry.
The idea was to employ dialogue as one of most powerful tools available to bring the challenges which come from internal and external sources to the front burner. In fact all the players are seriously hit by economic recession, communication budget cut by companies, debt overhang, lack of understanding by various company managements on the impact of advertisement, skills gap, unhealthy competition, lack of reasonable data and stiff regulations.
The stakeholders strongly believe that the meeting is critical, to determine for themselves what is safe for Nigeria; how to save the perceived declining industry, protect themselves and make sure that the advertising budget is justified and the industry survives.
It was therefore important to bring the stakeholders in different advertising subsectors to commonly articulate the challenges, re-create passion in advertising, expose marketing trends and opportunities and chart a new course for the vibrancy of advertising industry in Nigeria.
The President of Advertising Association of Nigeria, (ADVAN), David Okeme who has joined Systemspecs from Unilever put it succinctly when he said that the idea of the long muted forum was to get a holistic understanding of issues, take them up in relevance to all the stakeholders.
He was quick to point out that digital which comes with its pros and cons have had influence on the advertising industry. Today, digital has played up privacy data. It has also made advertising fraud possible as robots have been created for eyeballs. He also said that advert reach is now threatened by Ad block Apps.
The forum was structured in sessions with players discussing prospects and challenges.
The Regulatory session discussed how regulation could assist to build the industry. The panelists were Bello Kankaroffi, the CEO of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON; Tony Agenmonmen, President of National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria, NIMN; and Onome Asagbara, product manager, Dufil Prima Foods.
In his characteristic jovial but serious comments, Kankaroffi asked marketers whether they have paid their dues for 2017. He was surprised that only a few raised their hands saying that this is indication that many people don’t take regulation seriously.
Acknowledging that advertising is going through challenges, Kankaroffi said “we need to rethink what to do with the profession if we must survive”. He complained that his office is littered with complaints from practitioners against themselves. He advocated for self-regulation in the industry.
On his part, Tony Agenmomen lamented dearth of seasoned marketing professionals in the industry. While stating that NIMN is doing something to enthrone professionalism, he said the industry can galvanise the ideas of older generations for younger ones.
On his view,Onome who noted that recession has made the industry to sweat said practitioners and regulation appear to be on warring sides as there are duplication of registrations.
The advertising session principally addressed agency-client relationship. Steve Babaeko, the CEO of X3M Ideas who put it clearly that consumers can use creative works to judge relationships said this is the time both agency and client should hold each other’s hands.
Kayode Oluwasona, the president of AAAN agreed that agency and clients should support each other. He said the three key elements of media success are the media, the client and the agencies and the concept of co-creation should be upheld. It was also stated that briefs from clients should be very clear.
Media Buying session
Ken Ikpe, the Group COO, Insight Redefini challenged clients to stop hiring mediocres who do not have the capacity to handle their jobs. He said the media industry is growing exponentially which gives need for enormous capacity.
In his view, Emeka Okeke, the CEO of Media Dentsu Fuse said media is about facts. He listed 10 factors that would shape 2017. These include: Digital which he said would raise $100 trillion dollars value, data driven marketing, new skills set required to drive competitiveness, more Apps to connect people, people-based marketing and exchange rate.
Also speaking, Austin Osokor, Media relations manager at Eco-Bank challenged the industry to come up with researches in defence of advertising. He said there is need to create understanding of meaning of Adverts among managements to obviate budget cuts. “We need to prove to managements that adverts work”. In his comment, Wasiu Abiola, manager at Nigerian Breweries said clients need adverts that would communicate the brand message in few words.
Sampson Oloche, publicity secretary of ADVAN, said the idea of the forum was for stakeholders to expose ills in the industry to correct it. “There are a lot of things advertisers suffer. What ADVAN has done is create a forum to bridge the gaps by allowing the stakeholders and experts that reside in the industy to bring their expertise for knowledge sharing across board.