Divergent views trail collaborations, mergers and acquisition in Nigeria’s marketing ecosystem

By Zion Rufus

The long-standing discussion on collaborations, mergers and acquisition amongst players in Nigeria’s marketing communication space is clearly not nearing its end as stakeholders and advertising practitioners continue to canvass and deliberate on its imperatives, even as 2022 unfolds.

For over a decade, mergers and acquisition in the ad ecosystem have been widely considered as a strategic tool for strengthening brand equity. However, it appears that only a few have demonstrated and embraced collaboration as a way of further enhancing business opportunities and growth.

Speaking on his experience in an interview with MARKETING EDGE, Plural Media boss, Uduak Bassey shared: “We have tried to do business with other companies, we tried collaboration, and even joint ventures. We are yet to do merger and acquisition. We actually tried to do acquisition of another company at one point in time but it didn’t quite work out and the reason was very simple – the mindset of the people in the industry.”

Noting that his company will be happy to see more collaborations, acquisitions and mergers, Bassey in his final submission said: “The way I am seeing it, maybe regulatory-induced mergers may be foisted on the industry because as we speak today, I am told that in Lagos alone, we have over 200 OOH businesses in this space. What that means is that a time will come when mergers and acquisitions will become inevitable, like it happened in the banking sector.”

However, disproving Bassey’s standpoint, Lanre Adisa, Creative leader and CEO Noah’s Ark Communications said: “I think that agencies on their own will determine how they want to play, but the kind of consolidation carried out in the banking industry, I don’t see that happening in our industry. I think what perhaps might happen is there might be some sectoral policies that may say maybe you need to have some kind of capital or whatever, but nothing as huge and demanding as what you found in the banking industry consolidation.”

Backing his premise, Adisa opined that although there might be some kind of shift in terms of strength of agencies, the market forces have ways of “actually making this happen”.

He continued: “I mean there have been talks and talks about mergers and acquisitions, but I have not seen anything really serious in that respect. But yes, when it becomes a requirement to attract some kinds of business, how capitalized you are, then maybe yes on our own we will determine how we want to do that; but I don’t see it being forced on us.”

Meanwhile, Bunmi Oke, CEO of Ladybird Ltd and past president of AAAN, believes that collaboration is for the good of the entire industry as well as the marketing communications ecosystem because clients “want the best, and it is only through convergence that the client’s satisfaction can be achieved.”

Describing mergers & acquisitions as the most effective way to maximize the strength of agencies for optimum results, Bunmi stated that although the idea of mergers and acquisitions may have been misconstrued, agencies have always collaborated but mostly with foreign agencies.

“Agencies have always been collaborating, just that it was not as formal as it is being done now and most of the time, it used to be with international partners. Every agency has strengths and weaknesses and normally the more you come together like a family, the more you find out there is more strength in collaboration. You collaborate together just like people do on pitches. We are saying that beyond pitches as a sustainable business, you can collaborate and I say building a star alliance just like the airlines do could be a way to make sure you bring the strengths of everybody together so that at the end of the day, you have a wholesome solution for the client.”

On his part, President of the Association of Advertising agencies of Nigeria, Steve Babaeko has again enjoined advertising practitioners and agencies to collaborate more.

He said: “In the past year, I am a living witness to the size of the mountain we all have moved just by working together as a team. We have also seen a good increase in the number of young and vibrant agencies that are now part of the AAAN family.”

Stating further, Babaeko disclosed that the AAAN members are more than ready to partner with the candidates to create memorable campaigns and take their messages to town.

“This is what we do best and we hope the various parties and candidates will prioritise working with Nigerian Agencies, as opposed to spending scarce foreign exchange hiring foreign agencies with zero understanding of the cultural nuances of our great country.”





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    No comments found.