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Stakeholders Decry Challenges, Chart New Course For Advertising Industry

Lolu Akinwunmi, Group Chief Executive, Prima-Garnet Africa

By Jeremiah Agada

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At the front burner of discussions yesterday, being the second day of the maiden edition of the National Advertising Conference, were the myriads of challenges facing the industry. Experts and other stakeholders in the industry x-rayed the intrinsic and extrinsic issues weighing down the industry and slowing it down from getting to its potential heights.

This was after the presentation of a very insightful paper by Mr Lolu Akinwunmi, Group Chief Executive, Prima-Garnet Africa, centred on the theme: ‘Advertising in the Post Digital Age: the Profession, the Business and Nigeria`s Socio-Economic Development’.’ Lolu who decried many challenges faced by the industry, proffered solutions to them.

One of such solutions he proffered is calling on the Federal Government to appoint a council for the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) to address the challenges in the industry, having being without one in the past six years.

He also called for an urgent review of the national communication policy: “One of the key things our association can do for this government is to support and drive government’s economic and social organisation programmes. As key components of change the government needs to take certain steps to actualise things, hence the need for an urgent review of national communication policy.  The communication policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions in the area of public dissemination of critical information,’’ Akinwunmi said.

In a no-holds-barred plenary session moderated by Idorenyen Enang, Managing Director of Corporate Shepherds, Sir Steve Omojafor; X3M Ideas’ CCO/CEO, Steve Babaeko; Noah’s Ark’s CCO/CEO, Lanre Adisa; Ladybird’s MD, Mrs. Bunmi Oke, Dapo Adelegan an Director-General of FRCN, Dr. Mansur Liman, represented by Vera Ngozi Osokoya, Director of Marketing, FRCN and the Vice President of the Nigerian chapter of the International Advertising Association, Femi Adelusi all members of the panel, held nothing back in their assessment of the industry.

Sir Steve decried the declining business of advertising in the country, nothing that some years back, the industry boasts over 200 agencies, figure he says has now reduced to around 70. He called on practitioners in the industry to redefine practice as well as who they are.

Speaking to the issue of the advertising profession, Lanre Adisa lamented the influx of quacks into the industry. This, he blames on what he described as the low barrier to entry. He noted that advertising is a profession however not all practitioners are professionals. Steve Babaeko’s summation is that to begin solving the intrinsic and extrinsic challenges in the industry, practitioners must subject themselves to self-regulation, borrowing from Nollywood, an industry that promoted itself with very little help from government. He further advocated that practitioners must leave their comfort zone to grow the industry.

Other issues discussed include payment circle, APCON regulations, arguments on the pros and cons of unplugging APCON from the federal government, manpower, measurement among other issues.

The National Advertising Conference is organised by APCON in conjunction with sectoral groups in the industry including the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), the Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN) and the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), as well as significant stakeholders in the advertising industry, namely – Advertisers’ Forum, the International Advertising Association (IAA) Nigeria Chapter, the Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN) and the Association of Communication Scholars and Practitioners of Nigeria (ACSPN).

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