Professionals weigh in on quack agencies as digital adspend set to hit record high

By Zion Rufus

The topical issue of “quack” agencies and digital companies that fail to deliver on their value propositions to clients, has again sparked fresh conversation in Nigeria’s IMC space as digital adspend is expected to hit a milestone record this year 2022.

Against the backdrop of the need to draw the line between the practice and business of advertising as identified by APCON Registrar, Dr. Lekan Fadolapo, feelers emanating from the marketing communications ecosystem have also noted the importance for clients to know how to set agencies with track records apart from the quacks.

Yomi Olaniwun, BB Buzz CEO opined that as the bigger portion of ad budget is set to shift to digital, it will also pose an opportunity for entrepreneurs to position themselves as digital agencies in a bid to get their share of the adspend. 

He said: “2022 is a strategic year, especially if we also look at the fact that elections are coming up next year; it is a year of big digital spending as the budget will shift to digital. However, those who feel they don’t want to lose out of the budget will begin to position themselves as digital marketing agencies so that part of that budget can come into their pocket.”

For the ad industry, 2022 kicked off on a positive foot as advertising across all digital channels have been projected to exceed 60% of global adspend for the first time this year, reaching 61.5% of total expenditure according to market reports from  Publicis Groupe media agency, Zenith.

Olaniwun continued: “But again, it is the responsibility of the client to look through and make sure that they are actually dealing with experts, people who have proven integrity in terms of digital marketing services. 

“Will there be quacks, will there be fakes, that will come out and say they are digital marketers, of course there will be, but then again, agencies with track record will make more money this year, brands will spend more money via digital marketing this year, and it will be majorly because you can track what you are spending your money on.”

Of similar opinion is Dolapo Otegbayi, Specialised Nutrition Director at Nigeria’s foremost dairy company, Frieslandcampina WAMCO. According to the marketing expert, there are many people parading themselves more as businessmen and women, with little or no added value and benefit to brands, noting that the authentic practice of advertising delivers value to the client, brand, and agency. 

She shared: “Many agencies have become jack of all trades and master of none. What is their distinctive asset? What is their value proposition? Whilst I respect their versatility, not many agencies are able to integrate the marketing communication services offered to benefit the brand.”

Managing director, Creative Xone Limited, Doyin Adewunmi disclosed that a lot has happened to the practice of the business of advertising, which has impacted negatively on the professional aspect of it.

“It is a profession  because we have values that we are supposed to deliver to every brand, we are supposed to build brands, we are supposed to peak brands.”

However, It would appear that across sectors in the marketing communications industry, the conversation on the operation of quacks in the industry is a long standing issue. In 2014, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON had disclosed its plans to rid the advertising industry of quacks. 

In 2020, Executive Director and Head of Department of Outdoor Advertisement Signage (DOAS) in the Federal Capital Territory, Dr. Babagana Adams, decried the activities of quacks and unregistered practitioners in the Federal Capital development area. Adams had urged OAAN to spare no efforts in tackling the issue of quacks whose operations continued to give negative impressions about the industry.

Also in 2020, the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) went tough on quacks when it declared its resolve to embark on strict enforcement of provisions of the 2003 legislative Act empowering the institute to regulate marketing profession in Nigeria.

The Public relations sector was not excluded. President of PRCAN, John Ehiguese disclosed that PRCAN as a group was also taking steps towards ridding the practice of quacks in the business.

He described as an “aberration” the practice in Nigeria where the government employed “just anyone from the media” into PR positions, while expressing regrets that the PR profession had been infiltrated by all sorts of people who believe that PR could be practiced just by carrying a briefcase.



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