Our industry is tilted to favor the clients— Creative leaders

By Zion Rufus

Stemming from the “unexpected” controversy that followed the recently introduced advertising industry reforms, some icons in Nigeria’s creative industry have opined that the marcoms space has been tilted to favor the clients and therefore needs to strike a balance.

Noting that the reform is about fairness for the clients, fairness for the agencies, and as well achieving a balance for the industry, Noah’s Ark MD/CEO Lanre Adisa submitted that gone are the days of a master-servant relationship between agencies and clients, that now, it is solely about exchange of values. 

It should be recalled that the advertising industry reform promulgated by APCON was rejected by ADVAN on the basis that AISOP makes an unconstitutional attempt to infringe on the rights of private entities to determine their contractual terms.

Adisa said: “The reform is about partnership; I bring something to the table you bring something to the table, it is an exchange of values; we don’t need a situation where somebody is calling the shots and saying by all means this is what I will do and there’s nothing you can do about it and if you don’t like it I’ll go to the next guy and that is a big blow to our industry and we are losing our bargaining power in the process such that if you don’t have the means you can’t train your people; you can’t attract great talent.”

“However, it is not to make clients look like bad people or predators. No, it’s just to say hey let’s look at what is fair. It’s about fairness for the client and fairness for the agency, which is the intention,” he added.

Of similar standpoint is AAAN President and CEO X3M Ideas, Steve Babaeko who buttressed that It is also in the interest of clients to have very stable and solid agencies.

Painting a vivid example, the President shared: “The first thing that comes out of my mind is to dispel the notion that it is agencies versus clients. Like I tell people, even the gentlemen and ladies from the clients’ side, there is this current fad in that side of town. After their sojourn on the clients’ side, they retire and set up an agency. I told them, ‘ look, if you refuse for some of those reforms to take hold today, you might just be setting a trap for yourselves, for whenever you set up your agency, and join us, by the way, we are always eager to welcome clients to say, come because we know that you are bringing some heavyweights experience back to our side but be careful what you wish for because you might get it.”

In his final submission, Babaeko advised that the best line of course is to “clean up the table” to make sure that the right ambiance and the right business environment is created for both agency and clients to be able to thrive. 

“This is because if your agency is solid financially and it is well remunerated and gets its money as at when due, then it can serve you better. Now, ‘how many clients can call their agencies to say, look, quickly pay this money on my behalf and let me sort out the paperwork. How many agencies have the financial muscles to sort it out?,” he concluded.

Also addressing the controversial claims by members of the disagreeing group, APCON Registrar, Lekan Fadolapo explained that AISOP is not targeted at “anybody”, rather it is targeted at growing the advertising industry in Nigeria. We are not regulating to strangulate, we are regulating for the development of the industry.”

The Advertising Industry Standard of Practice (AISOP) which took effect from 6th of October, 2021 was introduced by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) as the new guideline for all advertising practices in Nigeria.



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