Experts call for stronger partnerships on AISOP reform

By Felicia Nwosu

Nigeria’s foremost Magazine, MARKETING EDGE, has held the last edition of its quarterly Virtual Summit to sign out the outgoing year in the Integrated Marketing Communications industry in a grand style. The quarterly summit had the theme, “Nigerian Advertising Industry Reform, To Be or Not to Be?”

Firing up the atmosphere of the summit with his welcome address, the Founder and Publisher of MARKETING EDGE, John Ajayi, pointed out that before the emergence of a strong reformer in the personality of Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, the current Registrar and head honcho of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), the Council was formally perceived as a “toothless bull dog”. He, however, noted that the regulatory body is being repositioned on the path of strategic growth since Dr. Fadolapo assumed office.

“Today, the narrative has changed as the new helmsman is not in any way ready to be a ‘robot’. Rather, he is ready and ever willing to break all odds by achieving results where several others have failed.

“Since he assumed the APCON mantle of leadership almost a year ago, he has continued to strive with a difference. He has approached this new office with confidence like somebody operating on a very familiar turf, and has so far exuded the audacious determination of a war general called to arbitrate in his own village inter-tribal war,” Mr. Ajayi stated.

This year’s theme stirred a concerted debate among the panelists as most speakers consensually agreed that the Advertising Industry Standards of Practice (AISOP), a regulatory Code recently launched by APCON, was timely and has come to reform, promote and protect the industry from unwholesome practices as well as to step up ethical dictates of the advertising industry.

Commenting on the theme, David Okeme, Executive Director, SystemSpecs, emphasized the importance of building strong partnerships between agencies and clients to enable them understand clearly how value is created from brands through agencies and the benefits that accrue from such. He advised that collaboration is critical in the management of stakeholders, while calling on both parties to under-study one another in order to know various pain-points, challenges of each partner and how to proffer solutions.

According to him, a symbiotic relationship between agencies and clients helps to harness quality and workable advertising practice.

“This shows that clients believe very strongly in advertising. It is also a powerful element of the mix because no client jokes with advertising that works. When you have this kind of relationship with your agencies, the moment you allow police to come in, then that relationship is on its way to being fractured.

“You can’t have a situation where the one side all agreed to a law and the advertisers, who are the business owners and own the purse, are left out in the cold. We have to take deliberate steps to make sure that, that position is reconciled,” he said.

He urged the industry to focus on tackling the challenges confronting its success which has projected itself as a multiplier in the value chain.

On his part, Omo Kingsley Abunene, Managing Director of Beam Media Ltd and a member of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), stated that the introduction of AISOP is more of a respite to the practitioners in the outdoor sub-sector. He noted that the reform has some of the challenges confronting them, especially in the execution of campaigns, while lamenting other challenges such as the menace of street urchins, landlords and state signage agencies.

“Before getting to this stage, we have been having so much litigation here and there. So for us, the first part of AISOP document that talks about contact solves like 70% of the issues for us going to execute a particular project, you don’t have the contract, all you get to know is that, there is some deadline for the client,” he said.


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