What does Future Hold for IMC in Nigeria?

By Eunice Nze-Peters

For IMC practitioners, 2014 was a bag of diverse blessings. Perhaps one of the most significant trends in the year was the rise of internet connectivity and of course the increase in the internet advertising. The year saw a rapid increase in the adaptation of the internet as a means of advertising and on the need to quickly catch up with the global practice. Already numerous agencies are compliant and have started allocating part of their annual advert budget on internet sites such as Yahoo, Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn.

Reports has it that practitioners defined the year as a period when the existing state of affairs in business was maintained as the advertising business did not record a substantial improvement. They believe that there was no remarkable growth as businesses remained with those that are conventional key players.

They also attributed last year’s inertness to economic complications and doubts especially in the political arena as some businesses were carefully, holding on from certain commitments. Part of the positive things that happened to advertising in Nigeria in 2014 includes the emergence of young agencies. These new generation agencies stood side by side with the big boys because they came out strong.

However industry enthusiasts believe that even with its passive financial situation, the industry was not without its own ups and downs in terms of events and occurrences.


In the 2014, The Lagos State Signage & Advertisement Agency held its first ever Africa’s biggest Outdoor Advertising Conference. The conference attracted key industry stakeholders like Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), and Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), and the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN).

The same year saw the Lagos State Signage Advertising Agency (LASAA), and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, OAAN, both headed by Mr. George Noah and Mr Charles Chijide buried their long term hatchet when they came together in partnership for a mutual understanding and relationship when it inaugurated a joint committee comprising members of the two bodies.

The committee was given the mandate to find ways to develop professionalism in the industry as well as forge better rapport with stakeholders.

It was also in 2014 that the largest LED Billboard in Sub-Saharan Africa was unveiled by Optimum Exposures. Located at the Adeniji-Adele end of the Third Mainland Bridge, the billboard serves as a testament of the company’s trendsetting innovations in Nigeria’s outdoor advertising industry. Managing Director of Optimum Exposures, Bayo Adio, said the LED billboard was a huge investment resource targeted at the need to place Nigeria’s advertising industry on the same pedestal with global best practices.

The Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN also witnessed a change of baton last year when it successfully elected Kelechi Nwosu, its former vice President and the Managing Director of TBWA/Concept as the new President of the association during the 41st AGM/congress of the association held last year at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua cenre, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Similarly, the marketing sector of the industry recorded some level of success last year when it witnessed the laying to rest of the ten years old dispute between the Chartered Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (CIMN) and the Nigerian Marketing Association (NIMARK). The two factions put aside their differences and signed a memorandum of understanding that now recognises the body as National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN).

After the amalgamation, the body elected Mr. Ganiyu Koledoye, erstwhile acting president of the Institute as the functional president. The body also held two impactful events for the betterment of all marketers in Nigeria; the award for Best Student in Marketing and the Mike Agbakoba Memorial Lecture which held in Lagos in the same year.

The Downturns

Year 2014 saw Heads of Advertising Sectoral Groups (HASG) express worry over Federal Government’s appointment of Ngozi Enyioma as the chairman of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) following the expiration of the tenure of Lolu Akinwunmi as APCON chairman and the subsequent delay by government to reverse its mistake.

The group claimed that Enyioma’s appointment does not conform to Act 55 of 1988 of the Nigerian Advertising Laws, Rules and Regulations. More than a year after the wrong appointment, government is yet to reverse itself and this jolted the heads of advertising sector body to wade in as they openly rejected the appointment as it does not conform to the Act. The group warned that it may head to court to challenge the appointment.

One of the major downturns of 2014 was the death of one of the leading lights of Advertising and the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Reeds & Marks, Willy Nnorom. Nnorom served APCON and Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) in different capacities, played a landmark role in the evolution of the industry.

He was the Chairman of the 5th Advertising reform committee set up by the APCON Chairman, Mr. Lolu Akinwunmi . The report and recommendation of the committee became the bedrock of the 5th reform which became effective 1st January, 2013.

As if Nnoroms death was not enough, the cold hands of death gripped another industry icon Adebola Babatunde on August 16, 2014. The creative egghead suddenly bade farewell to the industry after a 2-day battle with crisis associated with sickle cell anemia at a hospital in Lagos. Aged 30, Adebola until his death, was the Associate Creative Director at Noah’s Ark, Lagos.

Babatunde, popularly known by the title of his column, “I am Innocent”, has the credit for being the first Nigerian to get his ad into the Lurzer’s Archive. He is also the only Nigerian student to be nominated for the Lurzers Archive International Student of the Year two times – academic session 2012/13 and 2013/14.

Industry Projections for 2015

One of the most significant event that may make or mar the year 2015 remains the internationally-mandated June 2015 deadline for migration from analogue to digital broadcasting. So far, only three African countries – Mauritius, Tanzania and Rwanda have completed the digital migration process.

Experts says that there was a strong likelihood that many African countries would miss the deadline set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), with the repercussions of missing the deadline to involve analogue interference and the loss of the benefits of digital broadcasting. A lot of questions have been posed as to how this development will affect the industry.

Mr Bolaji Abimbola, a principal consultant at Integrated Indigo Limited is quite positive that the industry will experience good tiding particularly the PR and experiential marketing.

According to him, “I think the year 2015 will be a good year for PR because most organizations having seen what is happening in the country may need to cut their budget and spend wisely. Particularly, in this era where there is austerity, clients will be interested in spending profitably. So, clients will be looking at smarter ways to spend less and achieve better results.

“PR as well as experiential marketing will be the focus. Of course, we all know what the cost of a full page ad is. To that extent, most clients will likely look the way of public relations. So, it is good year for PR because most times that you expect any major cut in advertising spend, we are likely to get a boost for PR. It is going to be a good year for PR, though the first quarter may likely be slow due to the election but after the election, new opportunities will come” Bolaji said.

Kayode Oluwasona, the vice president of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN this year will likewise be a year that will have push and pull factors. “It will be both tight and easy. He predicted that politicians will rationalise their spending.  Their spending would be shared between traditional advertising and below the line segments” He said.

Chido Nwakanma, the CEO of Blueflower stated that there would be an initial downturn but he believes that as stakeholders on clients’ side see the need for strategic communication, public relations would benefit.

“Public relations have the tools to deliver in these situations and are the most suitable for the cost-effective communication interventions needed to reach specific stakeholders and targets while minimising the dissipation and waste in mass messaging.” He said.

Bayo Adisa, the CEO of Phd, a media buying agency foresees that the year 2015, may not see political campaigns materialising. Adisa believes that the political adverts as expected may not be able to jolt the market. He therefore cautioned advertising practitioners to begin to look inwards for survival in 2015 as the slide in oil price will combine to impact negatively on the industry.

“2015 will not be as juicy as we expected, but discerning media agencies and marketing communication practitioners need to think inwards,” he said.


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