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Setting Agenda For The New MIPAN/AAAN Leadership

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Steve Babaeko and Femi Adelusi

By Tunji Faleye

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Recently, both Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) and Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN) elected new leadership to run the affairs of the two powerful associations in the advertising industry.

The two leadership emerged almost the same week after members of the two sectoral bodies decided to hold their Annual General Meetings AGMs/Congresses virtually due to Covid-19 onslaught on every facet of human endeavours.

Their decisions can be regarded as a sign of resolute determination which showed their refusal to be totally knocked down by the pandemic after so many weeks of lockdown and its attendant effects on businesses the world over.

With the emergence of Steve Babaeko, Chief Executive Officer/Chief Creative Officer of X3M Ideas Group and Femi Adelusi who is also the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Brand Eyed Media as presidents of AAAN and MIPAN respectively, many believe that this should be the beginning of good things to happen to the two associations, considering the clout and aura that surround the two suave advertising practitioners. Steve Babaeko’s steadfast dedication and hard work to his duties within the leadership of the association over the year has shown the ethos of a selfless leader who has a knack for achieving excellence.

For years, Babaeko’s visionary leadership of the Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival (LAIF) Management Board has seen the annual creative fiesta grow from strength to strength. This has manifested in his good track record having held leadership positions in the AAAN.

As a global advertising figure, Babaeko recently placed Nigerian advertising market on the global map following his inclusion among Adweek’s 100 Most Fascinating People in Marketing, Media and Culture for 2019. Interestingly, he was also the first Nigerian to sit on a panel at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in France, the first time a panelist from Africa will be taking that stage in the 66 years that Cannes Lions has been running. Remarkably too, He was also a member of the jury for last year’s global creative mundial, where he joined his peers from other agencies across the globe to judge works submitted from different continents.

Additionally, Babaeko has been recognized by Forbes Africa as one of the two leading marketing communications eggheads in Africa. According to the reports by the global publication, Babaeko’s strides in the Marketing Communications space “is indisputable proof that with the right skillset and a progressive team, Nigeria’s marketing communications industry has the potential to attain, and corner a multi-billion-dollar piece of global Marketing industry.”

Interestingly, with such a man at the helms of affairs of AAAN, it is evident that the association will not only survive the tough times confronting the industry, it will come out of the myriad of challenges and excel in African continent and beyond.

For Femi Adelusi, a renowned media independent practitioner and Group Chief Executive Officer of BrandEye Media, the time to be at the helm of the MIPAN is now. Femi was sworn in as the new president alongside other Executive Council members, who also emerged unopposed at the 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Tuesday 30th June, 2020.

The new president holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees as well as an MBA – all from the University of Benin. Before founding the agency in 2015, he was at various times the Head, Media and Marketing Communications at Guinness Nigeria, Integrated Marketing Communications Manager at Coca-Cola International, Director, Media Planning & Strategy at MediaReach OMD, and Client Services Manager at Tequila Nigeria Limited. A self motivated man with a vision to excel in his career.

Challenges Confronting AAAN/MIPAN

While the two presidents have the wherewithal to paddle the ships of the associations, one thing is clear, the tasks confronting them are huge and require urgent attention. As a matter of urgency, they need to create that atmosphere of unity among the practitioners in the industry. Industry watchers believe that the two subsectors, most especially AAAN have suffered serious effect of disunity for long as agencies are competition with cutthroat practices. No wonder that Babaeko said in his inaugural speech, “The time to work together is now. It is my firm belief that we cannot afford to lose hope. Let’s advance together.” Charles Imuzeze, MD, Great Measure Media Ltd also alluded to this when he once said, “We go round in cycle. Because we are not united even though there are different sectoral groups, there is delay payment everywhere.”

These statements are clear indication of What AAAN, MIPAN and other subsectors lack over the year which has affected the advertising industry in so many ways. Forgets about the cosmetic laughter and brotherly appearance practitioners exhibit, deep inside them, they are serious business enemies strategizing to outwit one another by hook or by cook. Analysts say until practitioners come together and have friendly competition; the subsectors will remain the way they are.

The new leadership also have to tackle the issue of mediocrity in the industry which has been troubling the profession. Analysts are of the opinion that those identified mediocres or unregistered practitioners should be invited for discussion with the intension to put them on crash programmes in order to catch up with the current trends in the industry.

Apart from that, there is also need to tackle payment cycle that is affecting the industry. Sadly, industry sources have revealed that the rising profile of media debt owed by multinational advertisers has led to acute liquidity crisis in the industry. This has also created some operational challenges. The hard-hit are those in the electronic and the print media, Out–of–Home advertising without sparing advertising agencies.

While the agencies and the media were believed to have fulfilled their own part of the contractual agreement by executing the contracts, they are usually faced with the challenge of getting the clients to honour their own part of the bargain by paying the invoices that have overstayed agreed working grace period of 90 days.

Both MIPAN and AAAN need to lead the fight against delay in payment and any further request by the advertisers to prolong payment. Failure to do this will be detrimental to the entire industry.

The biggest challenge confronting the industry today is the prolong delay in putting in place APCON Council. In spite incessant calls by the advertising practitioners and retired veterans urging the federal government to do the needful, the status quo still remains the same.

Recalled that government goofed third consecutive time in 2018 by appointing or nominating Hon. Jacob Sunday (Chairman), Chief Dayo Abatan, Aloysius Okafor, Sani Tulu, Akor Sunday, Ismaila Umar Sifawa and Murtala Adamu Atiku who are non advertising and marketing practitioners into the new board of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria.

The appointment was contrary to The Nigerian Advertising Laws, Rules and Regulations Act 55 of 1988 (as amended) which states that a chairman who should be appointed by the President, shall be a distinguished fellow of the profession.

Also, seven persons are to be appointed by the minister, one of whom shall be from the Ministry of Information and the rest from among other interests in advertising, which in the opinion of the minister, ought to be adequately represented.

Conclusion

Analysts say, what is expected of Steve Babaeko, Femi Adelusi and presidents of other sectoral bodies is to mount pressure, lobby if need be, and speak with one voice to make the inauguration of the APCON Council a reality.

This will go a long way to enable the presidents and their new executive council members to facilitate the development of an enabling environment for the advertising industry in Nigeria among other objectives.

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