For Advertising, a Bumper 2014 Ahead

 Bill BoardWith the reform in the advertising industry taking shape and the 2015 election gathering momentum, stakeholders in the marketing communication industry foresee a robust business opportunity for practitioners in 2014. Raheem Akingbolu reports…
Top players in the nation’s marketing communication industry will not forget 2013 in a hurry for many reasons. Aside the fallout from the industry reform carried out by Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria’s Committee on Advertising Practice Reforms (ACARP), the year marked the end of the relationship between a few local agencies and their global affiliates.
Practitioners entered 2013 with enthusiasm, thinking the early passage of the 2013 budget and the peaceful business atmosphere that ushered in the year, would offer a lot of business opportunities. While this was going on in their minds, some foreign practitioners were concluding arrangements to explore the market directly with little or no recourse to local agencies.  However, the schemings coincided with the report of ACARP, which came with severe entry requirement into the industry for foreigners.
The content of the report didn’t only rattle some prospective foreign operators but led to a serious debate among practitioners. Among other things, it recommended that no foreigner or foreign group would own a majority stake in any of the components of the advertising industry. It also recommended that foreign ad investors would pay a sum of N200million as guarantee for membership at the entry level into the APCON body as well as undergo certification like Nigerian advertising practitioners.
Stakeholders’ Opinion…
With the report crossing the first hurdle of popular acceptability and the 2015 election fast approaching, it is believed that advertising fortune will be boosted in 2014. APCON Chairman Lolu Akinwumi said the year would be better in terms of performance as agencies will take advantage of the reform. He also pointed out the possibility of witnessing one or two mergers of agencies. On how public sector will influence the activities in the industry in 2014, Akinwumi said government policies would encourage spending and that the preparation for 2015 would attract additional spending.
The Executive Secretary, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Mr. Lekan Fadolapo, said the coming year would be the time to reap the fruits of the industry reform.
“Having passed the teething stage, 2014 will be the time to fully take off with the reform.  We are looking forward to a more professionalised and compliance industry because there will be a direct control and relationship between APCON and corporate organisations.  In this regime, it will be difficult for any operator to defraud the client because the reform comes with deposit. No agency can take money from client and run away,”
Speaking on the prospect of the year, the chief executive officer in West Africa for renowned advertising network, BBDO, Demola Olusunmade, who also applauded APCON for the reform, foresees more investors coming into the market in 2014.
According to him, “more investors will surely come into the market and they will need marketing activities to drive their brands. Of course, this can only come from advertising, public relations and other sectoral arms of the industry.  I see growth in digital and social advertising as more telecoms operators that are currently laying fiber cable will enhance more accessibility to Internet.  Compare to traditional advertising, the fact that digital and mobile advertising are measurable will make them more appreciative.” 
To the Secretary-General of the Public Relations Consultant Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), Muyiwa Akintunde, various activities in the political space ahead of 2015 election would rub off on the marketing communication industry.
“Despite the infrastructural challenges we are contending with, foreign investors still come to the market because labour, which is an important element in production, is relatively affordable in Nigeria. 
This will continue in 2014 and it will give more opportunities to the resuscitating middle class. Also, as an economy that thrives more on public sector, activities of political office holders, who will want to showcase what they have achieved in preparation for 2015 election will rub on marketing communication industry,” he said.
Different View
Despite the positive reactions that trail the industry reform, a former AAAN president, Rufai Ladipo, has urged APCON to tread with caution in its enforcement.
“The industry is getting big, yet too small in terms of global competitiveness in marketing communications. On the ongoing industry reform, more enlightenment will be required to allay fears and answer knotty questions, especially in foreign equity participation.
It is important we don’t kill the industry we are trying to protect through draconian regulations that are self-serving. “Advertising is a global business, and we cannot operate in isolation of the rest of the world.  Now, as the economy opens up in 2014, we should expect a more robust business,” he said.
And the Sun Set for Ogunro
The advertising community was thrown into mourning last week, when the Managing Director of Eminent Communications, Sesan Oguro, was murdered in Lagos.  Until his death, the 61-year-old ad man was the chairman of the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State (BSES).
Like a tiger that will not shout of its tigeritude, Ogunro lived a quite life but with many accomplishments in his chosen field. Though he belonged to the third generation of practitioners, the Ekiti State-born communication expert was among the best players with world-class campaigns to show for it.
He played a leading role in the electioneering campaigns of the late Bashorun Moshood Abiola, especially birthing the resounding jingle entitled ‘on the match again.’  His team also nurtured Top Tea from nowhere, through effective campaign, to be able to compete effectively with Lipton that was already a household name in the market.
As a professional, he was never keen about sharing space with others but creating space. Under the present dispensation, the late practitioner was deeply involved in the campaigns that brought many politicians and states in the South-west into the limelight.
The Lagos tax campaign and Ekiti rebranding were among his top jobs in this direction.
As at the time of writing this report, the atmosphere at his home on Atinuke Ologunde Crescent, Ogudu GRA, Lagos, was filled with gloom as sympathisers filed in to condole with his family.
The late ad practitioner was one of the pioneers of advertising practice in Nigeria.
He, alongside Biodun Shobanjo and others, changed the business of marketing communications when they both left Grant Advertising to float Insight Communications Limited in January 1980. He later left to establish Eminent Advertising in 1982. 
Ogunro was a fellow of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON. He was formerly Chairman of APCON’s Advertising Standards Panel, ASP, and Chairman of APCON’s Membership & Privileges Committee.
The deceased was also the Chairman of Professional Practice Committee of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN.  Ogunro is survived by his wife and many children, including the hugely talented music video director Sesan Ogunro (Jnr), Timayo Ogunro and Beat 99.9 FM On-Air-Personality, Fade Ogunro.

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