Nigeria’s marketing communications industry keep mum on general elections

By Zion Rufus

From digital out-of-home (DOOH), to the creative industry, it appears that Nigeria’s marketing communications industry has decided to stay quiet about the forthcoming elections scheduled to hold this Saturday, 25th February 2023.

Notable leaders in the communications industry revealed to MARKETING EDGE that the 2023 elections have become a very dicey subject that calls for cautionary measures to avoid unwarranted backlashes, misguided notions, and unending debates.

“It’s a sensitive topic,” Stanislaus Martins, President of the Association of Digital Marketing Professionals(ADMARP) told MARKETING EDGE.

“While its a sensitive topic that brands usual shy away from. Brands and agencies typically discuss and evaluate the impact of elections on active or planned campaigns. Some campaigns will continue to run, some may be slowed down and while some will be halted entirely. If you are launching a huge campaign for instance, launching it while your target audience is focused on the election might be counter productive.”

He noted however, that some brands are much bolder and more socially conscious than others, and such brands will design campaigns themed around voter education and awareness on general

Speaking in the same vein, Wale Adegoke, CEO of Nimbus Media, stated that industry leaders would rather steer clear of making political statements.

“It’s too dicey. No one wants to get involved. Even on my personal pages when I drop some comments that vaguely touch on elections I know the backlash I get. It’s more expedient for businesses to stay away from the controversy,” he said.

Some other industry leaders declined to speak on the matter.

Recently, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Nigerian entrepreneur and co-founder of Andela found himself in a controversial situation with People’s Gazette following his LinkedIn comment on how the physical and mental health of any presidential candidate is of no consequence to the position he seeks.

Aboyeji had said in his LinkedIn post: “I have always found it quite amusing how much of Nigeria’s political discourse revolves around the physical fitness and health of the candidates.”

His statement however gained negative publicity after the media publication published his comments with the headline “Nigerians can elect sick man as leader like some U.S. presidents, says Tinubu loyalist Iyin Aboyeji”; the publication also went ahead to tag him “a staunch supporter of the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu”.

Addressing the controversy which has now gained the attention of other media outlets, Aboyeji said: “They didn’t even have the courage to post what I actually wrote and then proceed to make allusions I never made and ascribe them to me. For the record, first of all I’m far from a Tinubu loyalist or the lackey of any politician – dead or alive. I’m an independent thinking Nigerian with a right like any other to opine on matters as it concerns my country – and any country for that matter.”


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