Survival of Nigeria’s ad industry now depends on creativity

By Zion Rufus

There is now an urgent need for agencies in Nigeria’s  marketing communications industry to evolve beyond what has been tagged a “stereotypic” and “traditional” agency structure as industry professionals have averred that a monumental stagnancy is hitting the industry.

This notion, which also comes on the premise of the latest “japa syndrome”(the migration of talents to greener climes), and the increased shift of creatives to the tech space, has begged the industry to revisit the conversation on the importance of creativity and collaboration.

Lanre Adisa, chief creative officer and MD of Noah’s Ark Communications who spoke at the press conference for the 17th LAIF Awards shared: “For us it is about taking the lead and being the advocates of creativity. Like someone said somewhere, we are moving from the creative business module to the creator  economy, because it is no more about me doing 60 seconds commercial for anything; some young kids out there will just do a bit of content that will go viral in no time. Now, the question is, do we want to see this as a threat to our industry? Or do we want to collaborate with the people in those spaces? ”

For almost a decade, ad agencies have constantly been faced with the threat of finding themselves falling further into irrelevance owing to continuous evolution in the marketing and advertising technology landscape, arrival of new technologies, changes in consumer preferences, stiff competition, lack of collaboration, and low productivity.

Again, industry professionals are reemphasizing the need for advertising agencies to become drivers of inventiveness and cooperation.

Adisa continued: “It is also good to know that one of the things that came out of COVID is the elasticity of ideas, and the relevance of ideas in today’s world. The world needed some kind of cheering up and the only way to sustain LAIF as it were during the COVID years came from people being creative one way or the other. So for us, what came out of it was that the frontiers of creativity as we know it has been evolving, and keeps evolving, and that is what we are taking recognition of this year to say ‘this is not just about ourselves, patting ourselves on the back and say we have done well’, it is also recognizing that there are other people in this space.”

Addressing the need for agencies to evolve beyond the way businesses are currently being run in an earlier submission on the migration of talents to the tech space, Frankline Ozekhome advised: “Let’s bring the uberification model to marketing and advertising services. That’s how we transform, lead change and growth, as well as harness technology to digitalise our services and put into place a 24 hour mechanism that connects the agency to clients, and clients to consumers.”

Marketers are losing sleep searching for newer ways of circumnavigating this seemingly endless loop of ideation to development to management and execution. They want to be able to respond real-time to trends and consumerism, as well as to better connect and engage with consumers.”

“If agencies were to borrow the design thinking mindset of startups that focus on product development, prototyping, testing, iteration and launch to market at speed, then we become better prepared to developing creative marketing solutions that actually resolve mitigating problems beyond brand awareness, perception and conversations.”



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