Steve Babaeko, Yomi Benson Jostle For AAAN VP As Ikechi Odigbo Goes Unopposed
By Tunji Faleye
Barring any last-minute change, all is set for both Steve Babaeko and Yomi Benson to slug it out on who becomes the Vice President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) as the association begins its 45 Annual General Meeting/Congress today Thursday 19 – Saturday 21 at Park Inn by Radisson in Abeokuta Ogun State.
The AGM with the theme, Growing the Economic Pot: The Role of Advertising promises to be an interesting event full of intrigues especially when this is an AGM that will usher in new administration.
As at the time of filling this report, Mr. Ikechi Odigbo is the only candidate that is contesting for AAAN presidency and it is crystal clear that victory is certain knowing-full well that there is no opposition either big or small. Ikechi is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of DDB Lagos which is regarded as the enemy of the ordinary. Under Ikechi, the agency attained greater height contributing meanifully to the cretaive industry as well as promoting both local brands and conglomerates.
He was the former chairm, LAIF Management Board, the position that Babaeko occupies till today. Ikechi si also the incumbent Vice President of AAAN.
While who becomes AAAN president is already known to everybody, there is intense consultations ongoing amid political calculation and permutation by both the camps of Steve Babaeko and Yomi Benson on how to come out victorious after the election.
When it is clear that no one can determine where the pendulum will swing to, either in favour of Babaeko or Bension, there is certainty that any of the two candidates can win the election. Both Babaeko and Bension have paid their dues in the industry that is full of competition. They have vibrand agencies that are ontop of their games and have stood the test of time.
However, what will be the determining factor above every other thing for the candidate to secure victory is how each member of the association percieve the two candidates and their contributions to the industry. We will not only forget the business interest which will also play a major role in determining who the vice president will be. Certainly a winner for the position will surely emerge in Abeokuta for AAAN.
Yomi Benson is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Culture Communications Limited, an integrated marketing communications agency located in Lekki, Lagos State. Having worked for STB McCann, and British American Tobacco, among others, Yomi decided to set up Culture Communications on January 4, 2010, with staff strength of just above four and zero account. Today, Yomi’s agency has about 30 staff members, including a number of portfolio accounts that are mostly multinational.
Among all the jobs done by the firm, what, perhaps, stands out is the revolutionary work done on Trophy Lager, which was transformed from being a relatively unknown product to the fastest selling brand in the West Africa. He has worked on brands such as Total, SABMiller (now AB InBev), Hines, and British American Tobacco, among others.
Steve Babaeko is the founder of X3M Ideas, a Lagos-based advertising agency that was listed in 2017 as “one of Nigeria’s fastest growing communication agencies. He is also the founder/CEO of X3M Music. Babaeko is on the 2018 jury of the New York Advertising Festival. In 2016 and 2017, Babaeko was a jury member of the New York Advertising Festival, described as “one of the oldest advertising festivals in the world.” He was also a judge on the 2017 The Loerie Awards
He began his career in 1995 with MC&A Saatchi & Saatchi where he worked for five years; then to Prima Garnet Ogilvy, where he also worked for another five years; and 141 Worldwide, where he worked for seven years as creative director. He left in 2012 to set up X3M Ideas.
Babaeko is currently the Publicity Secretary of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Associate Member of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), and current Chairman of the Lagos Advertising & Ideas Festival (LAIF).