In order to curb the challenges diminishing the growth of advertising in Nigeria, members of Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, OAAN and other key stakeholders in the Nigerian marketing communications industry have reiterated the need for the Nigerian government to constitute a board for the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON.

This was part of the highlights at the OAAN’s 35th Annual General Meeting (AGM) themed, ‘’OOH Business and Emerging Realities” held virtually, thereby joining the league of other sectoral bodies that have embraced the new normal by holding their AGMs digitally.

The meeting, which had heads of key sectoral bodies in attendance, addressed both the protracted and Covid-19 pandemic-induced challenges bedeviling the industry, and proffered solutions capable of lifting the advertising sub-sector out of its present doldrums.

Addressing the meeting, Emma Ajufo, the OAAN President said that the association organised the virtual AGM in line with the new normal, adding that the webinar would welcome and apply all creative contributions and recommendations made by participating practitioners and stakeholders in the advertising sub-sector given the mounting challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The OAAN boss also decried the rudderless state of the advertising industry, citing the prolonged absence of APCON Council as the bane of the sub-sector. He, however, wondered what a comparatively operational APCON without a Council would do if a Council were constituted.

“Our industry is like a flock of sheep without a shepherd. This is because APCON has no Council, and this had been going on even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Meanwhile, APCON without a Council is doing fairly well. One can only imagine what will happen if there were a Council,” Ajufo said.

The APCON Acting Registrar, Mrs. Ijedi Iyoha, during her presentation, thanked the OAAN leadership and captains of other sectoral bodies who were present at the meeting for living up to the billing despite the daunting challenges presented by the pandemic.

“I must commend OAAN and all the sectoral bodies for meeting the challenges, posed by the global pandemic, head on. Let me mention that OAAN, through the current leadership, has been steering the ship of the association in the right direction,” she noted.

On his part, Jude Odia, the Managing Director of Starcom Media Perspectives, emphasised on audience measurement, stating that for Nigeria’s out-of-home to take pride of place in the advertising sub-sector, accurate measurement technology must be put in place. He noted that the days of competition among marketing communications practitioners were dead and urged OAAN to go beyond creating awareness to nurturing an environment that would encourage industry collaboration.

‘We must understand that the reason why we are in business is because of the consumer. So, collaboration is the new normal because at the end of the day, we have only one industry to build,” he said.

Corroborating Odia’s position on audience measurement, the President of Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Bunmi Adeniba called on the industry practitioners to embrace data-driven marketing, adding that accurate measurement, especially in the out-of-home, will help to drive growth in Nigeria’s SMEs sector.

During his presentation, the MD/CEO of Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency (LASAA), Prince Adedamola Docemo thanked OAAN for organising the digital AGM. In his passionate appeal for cooperation among industry practitioners and stakeholders, the LASAA boss said: “It is my belief that we can win together when we work together.”

Speaking in the same vein, Dr. Babagana Adams, Director, Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), urged practitioners to be professional in their practice, while incorporating world best practices. He warned that the proliferation of boards and the presence of non-registered practitioners would no longer be tolerated, especially in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Steve Babaeko, the President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), in his concise presentation, denounced the non-constitution of an APCON Council, cataloguing the challenges such prolonged absence of authority poses to the entire ad industry. He, however, expressed optimism on the OAAN AGM webinar, saying that it was a sign of a great thing to come in terms of creative collaboration.

On his part, Femi Adelusi, the President of the Media Independents Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), noted that the global out-of-home industry, Nigeria inclusive, had been doing well up until the outbreak of the pandemic. He expressed confidence that the advertising sub-sector will emerge victorious out of the current crisis.

Adelusi hinged his confidence on the possible innovation that the pandemic-induced crises may foster among practitioners, while hoping that governments will do more in the areas of financial incentives and relaxing certain regulations.

Otunba Kole Ademulegun, the OAAN Chairman of the board of trustees, in his vote of thanks, advocated a level playing field for the industry practitioners, believing that such will create a vibrant out-of-home industry in Nigeria.