Admen Canvass rethink as industry groans over Recession

As global advertising industry reinvents itself with the emergence of digital technology as well as global economic meltdown, Nigerian ad practitioners and industry have been challenged to rethink their approach and strategies if they are to compete favorably going forward. Olamide Bakare reports

Few years ago, there were certainly nothing new as far as the advertising industry was concerned. It was more of the same with most traditional advertising agencies holding the ace on what to expect as numerous brands hug the media space. But the advent of social media however soon redefined the space, changing the game to the point where consumers now became part of the engagement process.

While global players are already aligning with this new culture, the Nigerian market seems to be lacking behind as numerous agencies still find it tasking to seize the space and used it to the advantage of brands under their watch. Not only has agencies failed to connect with consumers, the industry has been seen grappling to understand and play its role effectively in the emerging world of new media. For upcoming practitioners however, the timing of  the Lagos advertising seminar, LAIF could not have come at a better time as it afforded them to learn at the feet of the masters who took time to dwell on the issues and the future of the industry.

While delivering his welcome remarks, the President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN, Mr. Kayode Oluwasona said practitioners must understand that creativity has taken a new dimension and as such requires new thinking which need to be embraced. Oluwasona noted that there was the need for practitioners to be alive to happenings around them in order to stay relevant.

On his part, the chief operating officer of Insight Communication, Mr. Feyi Olubodun who spoke on the topic “New Media, market and bottom line” said it has become imperative for stakeholders to know that the landscape was changing urging them to key into the new thinking in order to survive.
He said “We are in the post-digital era. So, we need to be up-to -date and align with what operates in developed market”.

Citing example of budget split which lend credence to changing landscape in the market, Olubodun noted that the future lies in digital as clients are beginning to see huge opportunities which the platform offers.

He said “In the year 2011, below the line took 35% of marketing budget while Above the Line advertising accounted for 65%.Five years later, it was a different situation as Below the Line advertising took 20%, digital took 30% while Above the line advertising amassed 50% of the budget. We are hoping that by 2017, digital would increase to 40% while ATL and BTL take 40% and 20% budget share respectively. From this, it shows that digital is fast growing and may likely be the major marketing spend going forward.

While admitting that the industry was being confronted with issues ranging from poor economic leadership, frozen clients budget and falling naira, he believes that digital holds the key for any practitioners or agency desirous of attracting attention from clients.

Olubodun however drew the attention of  practitioners on the need to raise their game as there were numerous ‘disruptors’ latching on the power of social media to compete in the market. He therefore urged young practitioners to devote more time in learning about other industries as this would help in putting them on high pedestal.

Olubodun who decried the approach being used in shooting TVC in the Nigerian market urged practitioners to redefine the thinking by ensuring that the formats do not come in a linear manner. According to him, African stories are better engaging when they are told in a non-linear manner since most of them mostly appreciate normal reality scenario. Condemning Nollywood movies, Olubodun said each of the films tend to lack any moment of recall because there was no quality of a good story in their descriptions  stressing that they tend to resolve after all. Maintaining that Africa is a story telling continent, he pointed out that agencies can only be supportive to the brands if it avails itself the role of story-telling in content.
He however expressed the view that the future of digital lies not in technology but content.

He said “We are a great story telling continent. We need to go back in telling stories in the African way.
Guest speaker at the event, Steven McDermott expressed delight at the pace of growth witnessed in   the Nigerian advertising landscape saying that recent awards won by Nigerian agencies have attested to the tremendous rise. Steven who delivered talk on a topic titled “creative renaissance” said there was no doubting the fact that renaissance was already talking roots in Nigeria saying that investment in human assets by leading agencies in Nigeria showed that the country was determined to take its pride of place in the comity of global advertising community. He however urged them not to rest on their oars but continue to learn to be able to churn out world acclaim creative copy.

Another speaker who spoke at the occasion, Mr. Bayo Adekanmbi on the theme, “Brands moving at digital speed” said the practitioners  must embrace the fast changing dynamics talking place in the industry. While insisting that practitioners need to embrace digital, he advised agencies not to lose out all in the name of specialization.

He said “Our industry is at risk if we don’t change how we run it. We must build new skill sets and upscale capacity. As an agency, we must help client to create a product or create end to end distribution. Agency must earn client trust to the degree that it helps achieve their objectives”

Immediate past President of the association, Mr. Kelechi Nwosu on his part said agencies need to realize that the consumers were now part of the engagement process which ought to be taken into consideration in the development of copies.


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