Olusola Taiwo, director business development and Grace Bassey, Admin Executive both of Urban Shelter Limited

A part from serving as a recognition initiative, aimed at celebrating prominent individual and corporate brands that have made a mark for themselves in their market segments, the annual West Africa Innovation Awards, is also fast becoming another avenue for attendees to learn few tricks about brand-building from the ‘masters’, the awardees.


Interestingly, for the past nine years, such tales were never short in coming, from awardees,  picked by the  event jury, after a rigorous screening exercise, that involves  going through the ‘due diligence’ process of the jury, unscathed.


This year’ s edition of the event, held over the weekend, in Lagos, was no exception. Besides recognizing prominent brands from different sectors of the economy, ranging from Advertising, Power and Built, the awardees were allotted time to tell their stories and share their brand-building experiences, with the audience.


Firing the first salvo, a frontline advertising practitioner and immediate past president of the Outdoor Advertisers Association of Nigeria (OAAN),  Mr. Babatunde Adedoyin argued that the nation’s advertising industry had evolved over the decades.


The industry once prided itself as operating a full-fledged agency structure, ‘where everything was done from within’, the former OAAN boss stated.

Babatunde Adedoyin receiving 2019 west africa innovation awards in Lagos

According to him,  it was easier getting things done,  then, since all the units needed by the clients to work on their briefs were under one umbrella. And while the Media Department wielded immense influence then, the Client Service remained the most powerful; since that was the department, within the organisation, with the sole responsibility of interacting with the clients.


“The Client Service Department used to lead the agency because they were the contact with the client, though the media was the engine room  where the money was being made  then.


“The client Service takes the brief from the client and takes the creative work back to the client,” he added.


But all this, the Mediaview boss lamented, has since changed.


What used to be units and departments of an advertising agency, then, had since blossomed into full-fledged advertising companies.


Interestingly, this is not without its implications for the industry, he lamented.


Director of Jedo Investment Company Abuja receiving an awards on behalf of his CEO at WEst Africa Innovation Awards

According to him, emphasis had since changed from quality service delivery to how much the media agency could save for its clients.


Besides, the unhealthy competition existing between media agencies in the industry, had also begun to take its toll on the industry.


“What we are seeing nowadays is that media agencies go to the clients to tell them what they want to hear. They know that what the client wants to hear is: how much do you want to save for me?


“When Agency A promises 30 days, before a payment is done, Agency B gives 60, and you will be surprised that the third agency will be ready to give 90  days. That is why we are now in 120 days, as against the industry standard of 30days. We are afraid it may get to six months.


“This rat race of a thing is affecting the media  agency, affecting the media owner, and even affecting the client. It’s affecting the client because the media owner hasn’t got the fund to run those campaigns effectively. He begins to cut corners and there is no way it won’t affect the image of the brand in question, negatively.