Implications of The Inauguration of IAA Nigeria Chapter On The Advertising Industry
By Jeremiah Agada
It is no longer news that the International Advertising Association, IAA, has made a return to the country with the inauguration of a Nigerian chapter after the inexplicable collapse and eventual disappearance of an earlier chapter inaugurated by the body and led by the late May Nzeribe, CEO, Sunrise D’Arcy and former Chairman, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON).
In what can best be described as its second coming, the IAA Nigeria Chapter is led by a formidable team headed by the vibrant Chief Executive Officer of the Verdant Zeal Group, Dr. Tunji Olugbodi as the Chapter’s President while the Chief Executive Officer of BrandEye Media, Femi Adelusi is the Vice President and ADVAN Executive Secretary, Ediri Ediale became the Treasurer of the chapter.
The International Advertising Association
From the body’s name, one may reason that it is purely global creative advertising body with a chapter in Nigeria coming to pose a threat or act as opposition to a body like the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN.
The IAA is, however, a global association with a tripartite membership of sectoral professionals- advertisers, media practitioners and agencies, with a presence in over 70 countries across the world. It was established in 1938 in New York, U.S.A. The founders of the association had the vision to put together agencies, media and clients at the same table.
The association is an umbrella body of advertising globally. Olugbodi clarifies the roles and objectives of the global body in Nigeria. “IAA is not just about the advertising industry as we know but all-encompassing to include everyone that has business with marketing communications in general.
“In Nigerian chapter, we have made conscious effort to have representatives from other organisations such as AAAN, ADVAN, EXMAN, OAAN, MIPAN etc. When we talk of unity of purpose it is very important we focus on that unity, not that amorphous sense but to make sure that we collaborate to ensure the vision is unified to propel ourselves for the future,” he said.
Interestingly, the President belongs to AAAN, the Vice-President, Media Independent Practitioners of Nigeria, MIPAN; while the Treasurer is the Secretary of the Advertising Association of Nigeria, ADVAN.
The President of AAAN, Mr. Kayode Oluwasona said the inauguration of the IAA Chapter in Nigeria will provide a platform for all sectors of the IMC industry to come together, collaborate and co-create. He added that it will go a long way in further enhancing the skills of both individuals and corporate organisations in the nation’s advertising space, and also make interactions between practitioners in the country and colleagues around the globe, much easier.
“We are not seeing any threat here as practitioners. Rather, what we are seeing with the coming of the global body, is collaboration. It provides our members with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and get exposure, which I think we seriously need. It is an opportunity for us to develop capacity,” he stated.
“We need to get skilled, get paid and stay proud. Unlike in the past, when we had many giants in the practice, we are seeing fewer giants, today. Many of these young practitioners in the industry do not even know how brands are built,” he stated.
In addition, Felix Tataru, a Romanian who is the global President of IAA further explained what Nigeria stands to gain. “I think it is for every chapter in the world to be connected with the best practices within the world. It is most important for progress as we have a lot to learn from African experiences and I am sure African countries have a lot to learn from other experiences around the world.
“The important thing is that when we meet, we share experiences. Secondly, the main role of IAA is to raise standards of marketing communication industry in any territory we are in. This means internally, we have to raise the level of people working in the industry. Our industry needs image improvement for the consumer and we are responsible for that as we have the power to make the world a better place for everyone.
“You need inspiration, tools and courage to express yourselves. We need to understand what is happening in the market as we are here to serve the consumers. The industry needs a forum to get inspiration and learn; in this time of dynamism and change, there is a need for a compass, and that is what IAA is,” he said.
Adding to this, Dagmara Szulce who is the Managing Director of the IAA in New York said Nigeria is a vibrant industry that has a lot to gain with IAA. She adds: “Nigeria reminds me in the spirit of New York. The people I met are highly entrepreneurial and passionate about the industry. We are the compass for the marketing industry. We are here to inspire and work with local operators to navigate the challenges currently happening in the country. Nigeria has the energy and passion and we have to work together to raise the bar.
Why The Choice of Nigeria?
Asides Nigeria, the IAA currently has presence in two countries in Africa. Why the choice of Nigeria at this point in time? Felix said Nigeria was an obvious choice as Africa’s hub. “The importance of this market within Africa is clear. It will be an interesting partnership between IAA global and Nigeria on how to help expand into Africa, for us, is a priority.
Mrs. Norkor Duuah, Vice President of African Development for IAA and also President of IAA Ghana adds that there was a need for more African representation at the global stage. “In an organisation such as this, we feel that before there was no proper structure to recognise Africa’s relevance. The moment I set in place the role of Vice President for Africa, it meant that Africa was critical. We, therefore, need to engage and make Africa has the footprint of IAA, that alone means there will be continuity.
“There was a time Africa was going through democratic challenges and the economy mirrors the state of the nation. When there is no democracy the economy does not thrive. Today, Africa is seeing stability, growth and opportunity and therefore in IAA, we are mirroring that stability and development by ensuring that there is somebody responsible within IAA to make sure Africa is well represented constantly.
Analysts are of the opinion that happenings in recent times have shown that the Nigerian Marketing Communication industry is beginning to measure up to international standards in all sectors. Recent wins by organisations, agencies internationally as well as accolades in the market are marked indicators of this. It is only natural that the continent would become the toast of global associations like IAA. Certainly, this is the beginning of even bigger things to come.