By Ntia Usukuma.
The lineage of Global Outdoor advertising can be traced to the earliest forms of civilizations. Thousands of years ago, the Egyptians employed tall stones or obelisks to publicize laws and treaties. While modes have changed over the centuries, this form of advertising is still relevant in the world of communications today.
Even in Nigeria, Out-of – Home is equally a trailblazer. In the words of Mr. Lolu Akinwunmi, immediate Past Chairman of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) who was also given a Special Recognition Award at last week’s Poster award, “out-of-home has remained a major component of advertising practice in Nigeria from the beginning.”
[ad id=”187″]Tracing the history of outdoors in Nigeria at a forum on outdoor advertising, Akinwunmi disclosed that “The history of outdoor is the history of advertising in Nigeria. What has evolved into advertising practice today started formerly around 1928 with the establishment of a UAC subsidiary known as the West African Publicity. The main task of this subsidiary was to produce outdoor advertising for UK companies based in Nigeria. The business has since grown over the years to become a multibillion naira outfit.”
The relevance of the outdoor sector in Nigeria must have propelled the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) last year to resuscitate the prestigious poster award of excellence as a way of promoting and encouraging creativity and professionalism in the out-of-home industry in Nigeria. The award, which started in 1997, was suspended in 2003, due to logistics challenges.
[ad id=”169″]Unlike last year’s “revived version” where 10 categories were created, this year’s award had 13 categories. They include Diary Food & Beverages won by Golden Penny Spaghetti, Alcoholic drinks won by Star, Non-Alcoholic drinks picked by Pepsi, Financial services won by Sterling bank, Public services/Real Estate won by Grenadines, and Electronics/Electricals where no winner emerged. Others are Automobile/Accessories captured by Toyota Harris, Household products won by Ariel, Pharmaceuticals/cosmetics taken by Panadol, Telecomms won by MTN, ICT, Legend of Out- of- Home won by Walter Drenth of NB Plc and Grand Poster. Awards captured by Conoil. Special Awards were given to two top industry achievers- Lolu Akinwunmi and Ayo Arowolade.
Within Nigeria’s marketing industry in the last few days, the 2015 OAAN Poster Awards has attracted has continued to attract commendations and suggestions, especially from industry players present at last week’s awards night. John Ajayi, Managing Director of Marketing Edge and consultant to OAAN feels this year’s event was a radical departure from the “resurgent” edition of 2014. “The number of entries this year increased remarkably, there were more sponsors yet the integrity of the award remained sacrosanct, and the general organization was a great improvement on what was obtained last year”.
Foe Goddy Ofose, President, Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN) and Member of the panel of judges for the 2015 awards, what was most outstanding this year is the high level of creativity of the works submitted. Ofose spoke further: “this year’s award was quite glamorous with a top-notch compere, Ini Edoho anchoring the event. It was almost like a special parting gift for the current OAAN president, Charles Chijide who would be stepping down in the next few months. It can only get better.”
Although Martins Oguma, a Lagos based marketing practitioner feels there are some remarkable positive notes at the event, he feels it was a huge omission not to recognize agencies that created the award winning entries. Martin explains his views: “It was not Conoil or Pepsi that created those works, so failing to acknowledge those who created them was unfair. It should be corrected next year. Even the outdoor agencies that own those platforms used should be recognized as well. If an outdoor body is organizing an award, what is the basis of recognizing only the brands that paid for the creative while ignoring the platform and the creators of the works?”
Commenting on this same issue, John Ajayi feels both the creative shops and the outdoor partners are indirectly recognized and they would derive a higher benefit of increased bonding and consistent patronage.
However Gody Ofose feels it is an area that could be looked into in subsequent editions. In his words, “those works are actually submitted by creative agencies so it would not out of place if you see the award management recognizing formally next year. The issue of recognizing outdoor agencies seems dicey. Going by the name Poster Awards most probably the focus is on creative works. Granted that it would good to recognize outdoor use of top level digital tools, outstanding scrolling billboards, unipoles, and revolutionary billboards designs that make outdoor advertising thick but such step can create some bickering. Note! that they are all practitioners so it could be insinuated that someone is trying to gain some advantage. However it would be a game of choice and nifty balancing and it would be quite interesting to see how OAAN will balance it out in the years ahead”.
Sola Adeyemi, CEO of Brandage feels there are many ways OAAN can elevate the poster award and give it a globalm standard. According to Adeyemi, “When it involves awards where members are rated, OOAN can use a transparent online voting system or SMS messages. It can equally reward outstanding media buying agencies, fabricators, installers, large format printers, specialist agencies generate, outdoor protection service providers and other sub- sectors within the industry. These are the things that will make that award robust. They cannot continue like this year in, year out.”