Twists, turns characterise advertising industry in 2013

By

In the memories of many industry stakeholders, 2013 may not varnish in a hurry.
It was a year many considered a mix bag for both individuals and corporate players in the media, branding and marketing communications industries.
While some could point to the positives several others can only lick their wounds owing to either dwindling performance or regulatory bottlenecks, because during the year under review, a couple of things happened for good or ill.

Couldn’t Go Unnoticed
Some of the activities that could not just go unnoticed included the serious decline in spend and dearth of activities of many fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), and the dominance of the media space by telecommunications companies. There were also a reform of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON); upswing in the activities of new and alternative media; challenge of foreign agencies’ entry into the market, erosion of values in foreign affiliations, reconstruction of the marketing institute after the exit of Chief Lugard Aimiuwu; and of course further decline in the circulation and readership of the print media in Nigeria.
The year was not all about the bad and ugly, as the industry recorded some positives in terms of campaigns. In 2013 football did brand Nigeria proud at the African Nation Cup hosted by South Africa. Nigeria won the fiesta, with various brands in the country rolled over one another for space and visibility. Media spend increased and creative agencies bottom-line soared.
Industry stakeholders equally agreed that 2013 was a challenging year. While speaking on the state of the integrated marketing communication (imc) business in the county for the just ended year, Chairman of APCON and Group Managing Director of Prima Garnet Africa, ‘Lolu Akinwunmi, identified the aforementioned challenges and the unwillingness by foreign agencies to comply in set rules and standards, which he warned would erode values have also been some of the issues the industry had to deal with.
When asked what should be the focal point for the stakeholders in the New Year, Akinwunmi urged practitioners to invest in knowledge and skills to ensure that foreigners do not infiltrate the market and ruin it for the country.
“Investment in knowledge by practitioners so that we can all drive this huge market professionally,” he said.
In 2013, the industry started with the implementation of the APCON fifth code, which take off date was January 1, 2013. The handwriting was on the wall that the apex regulatory authority was serious and sincere in its desire to fully regulate the industry. Speaking on the new code of advertising practice, Akinwumi said its introduction would help strengthen regulation and ensure professionalism in the industry.
He said APCON has undergone series of transformation, leading to the fifth code, which has since become a law, and would enable it to further regulate the sector and make it more productive.

Local Content
The new code however put a cap on entry requirement and streamlines local content guidelines, which requires players to shoot television commercials within the country, a practice that is well embraced in countries like China, Brazil, India and South Africa.

Goodbye Kiss
The new code also seeks to protect local agencies that are fast becoming prey for global networks. The new code has contributed to the erosion of values in foreign affiliations. Nigerian agencies are now leading the rest of the region in telling foreign agencies to treat local agencies with more respect.
In 2013 alone, Udeme Ufot’s SO&U parted ways with its long time suitor- Saatchi; Centrespread kissed FCB goodbye for ever; while the bid by Prima Garnet to tell Ogilvy ‘it was nice while it lasted is now the subject of a legal tango. Not so difficult for Insight, which has returned the wedding ring to Grey; Cosse not long shares the same roof with Bates; just as Rosabel severed ties with Leo Burnett; among others.

Rofo-rofo
In the case of Prima Garnet, there was a major industry upset when its former foreign technical partner, Ogilvy Africa, operators of Scangroup in Kenya and other African countries threatened to acquire PG. The resistance of such overture resulted in Ogilvy Africa’s decision to set up a new agency to corner the juicy Airtel creative advertising business, controlled by Prima Garnet at that time.
The case went to court and Airtel advertising suffered a setback as the court ordered the warring parties to maintain status quo ante, a situation Airtel’s management, even while it was unwilling to return the business to Prima Garnet.
Also in 2013, the bid by Scanad Nigeria, a new advertising agency to commence full operations in Nigeria suffered a major setback as a Lagos High Court presided over by Justice G.M. Onyeabor ruled that the company and Scan Group, an advertising agency owned by Bharat Thakrar, a Kenyan-born Indian, has a case to answer in the dispute between Nigeria’s advertising agency PrimaGarnet Africa and Ogilvy Advertising network.
PrimaGarnet had approached the court seeking to reverse the sudden termination of its affiliation partnership with Ogilvy Africa.

I don port

I Don Port
Another landmark guerilla marketing antic during the year ensued when nollywood star and academic- Hafeez Oyetoro aka Saka, made a dramatic move to become an MTN ambassador, at a time when the telecoms giant was to launch Mobile Number Potability (MNP) as directed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). Saka, who had been identified as the face of competing telecoms brand- Etisalat for years was also a lesson in retainership and loyalty. Expected, the marketing coup generated unprecedented media review across the country. The innovation swept the advertising space like wild fire.
Telecom operators rolled over one another for media space, top of the mind and war chest. However, stakeholders berated the innovation and the introduction was rated unproductive, wastful, poor and unsuccessful, despite the huge advertising budget.

On-line Headache
As part of the reform, APCON also set the ball rolling on the online advertising. Akinwunmi said that owing to unique challenges that online advertising pose for regulation, the regulation agency would partner with Google and other online classified ad operators in the country to strengthen regulation and protect consumers.
According to him, ‘regulating all advertising contents has always been, and will continue to be APCON’s core duty. We have the Advertising Standard Panel (ASP), which under the law, has the power and the responsibility to vet all advertising materials in all media including the internet for the Nigerian market.’
In October 2013, for the first time in Nigeria’s advertising practice, APCON licensed 74 advertising service agencies, with the absence of players like SO&U, Carat MP, Media Share, Sharemind, others sending tongues wagging. Assurance was however given that these agencies would be licensed in the second batch.
A breakdown of the figure showed revealed that there were five media specialist agencies, 41 creative firms, 46 iout-of home; and three content production companies. There were also indications that industry sectoral bodies such as Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) have fully bought into the amendment.

Illegal Operators
However, this figure is a far cry from the sea of agencies that ply their trade in the different segments of the industry, who are expected to apply for the new certification, in line with APCON’s fifth Code of Advertising Reforms as recommended by the APCON Committee on Advertising Practice Reforms (ACAPR), headed by Willy Nnorom.
According to Nnorom, such agencies are operating illegally in Nigeria with effect from September 27, 2013.

Yellow Cards
Guinness Nigeria is one corporate brand that came under intense heat from APCON in the past year. The brand also could arguably be said to be the biggest spender in the FMCG category, because of it involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, as well as its later relaunch of Guinness Extra Stout tagged “Colourful World of More” campaign.
While trying to enliven the marketing space through marketing activities, the brand ran afoul of relevant rules and standards, following which APCON, in May 2013, sanctioned it for advertising alcohol brand on TV outside the permissible broadcasting belt. Again, in the later part of the year, the brand also received the regulatory hammer for advertising unapproved creative in some selected national newspapers.
It was also a year Globacom was sanctioned by APCON for exposing some creative that never went through the Advertising Standard Panel (ASP). Investigations revealed that the telecommunications giant was fined N11 million for the breach.

Dwindling Spend
Though it did not happen in 2013, it became public knowledge during the year that advertising has lost it spark.
In September 2013, **Mediafacts**, an annual publication of MediaReach OMD, a Nigerian media independent agency, disclosed that in 2012 Nigeria advertising industry spend on Above-the-Line Advertising activities dropped by 10.6 per cent to N91.846 billion in 2012 as against N102.755 billion in 2011.
The decrease according to the report was due to reduced media investment of 43.9 per cent on outdoor advertising and 41.7 per cent on press while media investment on TV and radio grew by 7.2 per cent and 20.1 per cent respectively.
According to the publication, of the N91.846 billion, television had N49.399 billion; radio, N15.782 billion; outdoor, N17.692 billion; while N8.974 billion was spent on the print media.
It also noted that in 2012, Lagos region accounted for 35.8 per cent or N32.913 billion; North, 33.1 per cent or N30.418 billion; West, N15.024 billion or 16.4 per cent; while
Eastern Nigeria accounted for the remaining 14.7 per cent or N13.491 billion.
From the total ATL advertising, telecommunications products’ category spent the highest amount of N15.562 billion, representing a decline from the N20.118 billion spent in 2011; followed by entertainment, leisure & tourism with N4.988 billion; while lager beer was third in the product category with N4.784 billion.

In the telecommunication category, MTN topped the list with N5.09 billion; followed by Etisalat, N4.40 billion; Airtel and Globacom spent N2.99 billion and N2.95 billion respectively. four brands topped the list of the top 20 brands in terms of ad spend in 2012 as revealed last year.
Another highlight of **Mediafacts’** 2012 publication was that television advertising amounted to N49.399 billion as against the N46.076 billion recorded in 2011; radio recorded N15.782 billion as against N13.142 billion spent in 2011; Press, N8.974 billion, which was less than the N15.395 billion spent in 2011; while Outdoor expenditure was N17.692 billion, which was also less than N28.142 billion spent in 2011.
The report also noted that, Nigeria’s economic market size of about $247 billion represents 41 per cent of the entire West African, GDP thereby placing the country among the topmost African economies and a destination of choice for investment in Africa.

NIMN’s Coup
The National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) got some massive boost when members ousted its erstwhile President and Chairman of Council, Lugard Aimiuwu, throwing up Ganiyu Koledoye as replacement. The situation created renewed hope and aspiration for the institute, as several stakeholders openly declared their support for the body.
It was also the first time in six years that the institute was openly conducting an election, and holding its Annual General Meeting (AGM). The Koledoye-led NIMN council has already commenced a reconciliation moves among some aggrieved members of the institute, who felt left out as a result of Aimiuwu’s leadership style.
In the previous year, experiential marketing, an offshoot of creative advertising broke away and formed Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN) and Kayode Olagesin, Managing Director of Towncrier was elected as the first president.
According to Olagesin, the emergence of the association followed the growing trend for advertisers globally and in Nigeria to adopt experiential marketing for brand projection and volume drive purposes. He said it became imperative that such critical and growing segment be better and professionally organized.

Dormant Players
The erstwhile hitherto vibrant players such as Lagos Sate Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA), Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) and others have remained relatively dormant. It is however expected that 2014 would be a more active and vibrant year for them, considering the fact that it is a pre-election year.

Culled from Daily Independent