Curtain Draws on Sir I S Moemeke, Doyen of Nigeria Marketing

The first indigenous managing director and chairman of Nigeria’s pioneer advertising agency, Lowe Lintas Limited, Sir Sylvester Moemeke is dead. He died in Lagos on Friday, March 6, 2015 at the age of 82 according to a statement released by APCON registrar and chief executive officer, Alhaji Bello Kankarofi.

SISM as fondly called by very close associates was a broadcaster, brand marketer and manager of international repute, he worked at the Western Nigeria Ministry of Commerce, UAC/Unilever and Lowe Lintas (originally Levers International Advertising Services – Lintas) in Nigeria and Ghana. Some notable brands that he helped to build include OMO detergent, Star lager beer, Maltina, Panadol and Pears range of beauty products.

Moemeke was amongst pioneer members that founded, actively participated and became a Fellow of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria, NIMN, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON and Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN, institutions and regulators that he also led. He was also a pioneer member of News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.

SISM was a pioneer player in global advertising through networks like Ammirati Puris Lintas, Lowe and Lowe Worldwide, built from the agency that started out as a small poster service in 1928 with the name West Africa Publicity Limited to become a consistent and notable agency.
Described as a “pioneer and charismatic marketer” by the president of NIMN, Ganiyu Koledoye who says, “We’ll miss him, when the Institute was at its infancy, it took the benevolence and commitment of the likes of Mike Agbakoba, Joseph Adediran and Sir Moemeke were among the few who gave their time and personal resources to start and sustain the Institute.”

“He is a major industry pillar, one who produced generations of outstanding practitioners. Whatever the ad profession is today, he played a major role in shaping it,” says Lolu Akinwunmi, immediate past chairman of APCON, who first broke the news to Nation newspaper on Saturday.

The chairman of Troyka Group, Biodun Sobanjo, himself a quintessential adman described Moemeke’s death as a great loss, “A man who defined the industry at a point in time…He was like a god, especially in the 70s and 80s, as the chairman of the first Council of APCON”.

Kankarofi, the registrar/CEO of APCON says “Moemeke set the standard”.

Moemeke was born on December 28, 1933, “a child of the barracks”, like he deccribed himself at Lowe Lintas 75th anniversary, had his early education in Calabar, Enugu, Afikpo, Kaduna, Lagos and Benin, and proceeded to the United Kingdom where he obtained the University of London B.Sc (Hons.) in Economics in 1961.

He returned to Nigeria the same year and joined the Western Nigeria Ministry of Commerce and Industry. In 1962, he joined West Africa Publicity Ltd., the predecessor of Lintas Ltd.

Between 1966 and 1968, Meomeke held various middle and senior management positions at Lintas including appointment as first Nigeria Client Service Group Head and first Africa General Manager of Lintas Ghana.

In 1972, Meomeke joined the board of Lintas and with the divestment of UAC/Unilever from Lintas in 1975 was appointed Chairman, Lowes Lintas, a position he occupied till his death.

He became President of the Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria (AAPN and now Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN) in 1975 and served for seven years.

Sir Moemeke popularly called by his initial, SISM by friends was the first Nigerian known to be an  investor in the Advertising Industry after the promulgation of the Nigerian Indigenisation Decree by the General Yakubu Gowon administration in 1972. Chief Moemeke was then in the management cadre of LINTAS – LEVER INTERNATIONAL ADVERTISING SERVICES – a Department of UNILEVER

Meanwhile industry sources revealed that the NIMN council yesterday had set up an adhoc committee comprising the first vice president and two others to put the wishes and plans of the institute together on the demise of one their pioneering leaders.


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