As businesses manage the effects of Covid-19, Nigeria’s advertising industry that equally received knocks from the pandemic has put plans together to weather the storm for the operators.

Under its umbrella body, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN, the industry is in the process of engaging and registering with Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, a government agency with intention to handle government communication jobs at various levels.

In the past, political parties and government have patronized foreign creative and PR agencies for their communication to the citizens, a development bodies like AAAN see as capital flight which is not helpful to Nigerian economy and employment.

“We are lobbying the government to give the Nigerian marketing communication industry priority for its communication to the citizens” on the understanding that the industry will employ more people and assist to reduce the unemployment presently standing at over 27%, AAAN President, Steve Babaeko said recently during a webinar meeting with some journalists.

The association is also sensitizing companies for discussions and idea sharing on how to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the agencies and the clients.

Expectedly, top on the agenda for discussion with companies when the meeting is eventually structured is perhaps the delay in payment for jobs executed. Some companies have, for reasons of poor cash flow, occasioned by harsh economy, extended period of payment from 60 days to 120 days and beyond in some instances which Babaeko said is not helpful to his members’ business.

“We need to harmonise the views of clients and AAAN and come up with a mutual document that will guide us. We want to work with Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON to document agreements with clients”, he said.

Citing the bill in the National Assembly on APCON reform which is on second reading, Babaeko said the industry is expecting a highly focused law that will help his members to practice without too much encumbrance. “These are the key points we are pushing in 2021”, he said.

Speaking on the impact of Covid-19 on the industry, Babaeko who is conducting a research to determine the value of the industry, employment level and the effect of Covid-19 on the industry, said a lot of things that happened last year affected the advertising industry. Nigeria’s economy was affected by Covid-19, leading to lockdown; followed by EndSARS protest and recession which Nigeria slipped into in Q4, 2020.

According to Babaeko, the client took a major knock and what affects the clients will have a spill-over effect on the advertising industry. Due to the difficult environment, some clients closed shop, others had their distribution network disrupted while many others either cut their marketing communication budgets or cancelled marketing contracts.

“Our industry struggled last year but as optimist, I believe there will be a turn-around in 2021”. He based his optimism on the recovery of the economy as businesses will likely bounce back devoid of lockdowns so far the citizens comply with Covid-19 protocols, he said.

“If there is no lockdown, then business activities can go on and clients will have opportunity to grow brands and agents will benefit. Again we are hopeful that the Vaccines will come in to tackle the pandemic”, Babaeko said.

He described the pandemic as an opportunity for his members to be more creative and much more aggressive in delivering in clients business as he wished to see the African Free Trade Agreement become operational to easily enable his members to operate within African region and export capital. Advertising industry lobbies government for communication jobs to cushion Covid-19 effect