The new face of OOH advertising in Nigeria as a whole was driven by Government intervention through the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA), which brought sanity into the outdoor advertising industry in late 2006. The birth of the agency by the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu led government paved way for new thinking, more investment and commitment from Outdoor Media Owners, which has resulted in creativity and innovation of the oldest form of advertising.
New and increased level of investments has brought in innovative structures, advanced technology and quality in material usage; all being complimentary to the planning efforts of LASAA. Obviously, these new level and face of OOH advertising in Nigeria came with some level of pain during the initial period of sanitization, which is expected to usher in the change that we now have today. As someone said, “it is better to have the pains of discipline than have the pains of regret”. The creativity and innovation that we now see in outdoor advertising in Nigeria today is not only limited to imported structures or technology but also the improvement in the use of space and the environment.
We have seen and still witnessing the effect of better planning and a creative use of space in the environment. The true meaning of billboard is gradually showing as “canvass on the streets”. Ideally, Out-of-Home advertising should stand out in the environment by adding beauty through architecture and colour. Typical of what a piece of painting or canvass adds to a living room. A billboard must stand distinct in its immediate environment at the least and must never be lost within the environment. The situation where a billboard becomes part of the environment simply defeats the essence of the medium.
In addition, being a vehicle of communication the billboard must be capable of drawing attention and delivering the message. The public need not lookout to see it but rather it must be in their faces and appeal to their emotions. Only through this approach would Out-of-Home advertising be considered effective.
Interestingly, Outdoor Media Owners are equally rising to the occasion and we can see more deployment of innovative structures. Outdoor Media Owners are now thinking outside the box and investing heavily in aesthetic and contemporary advertising platforms. Many consider that the birth of a new level of competition commenced in 2008 and we can only wait to see more of it. Today we have seen several landmark structures developed in Lagos and locations are gradually being transformed into tourist delight. The Lagos mega city project is being complemented by creative outdoor advertising structures and other major cities including Abuja, Ibadan, Enugu, Kano, Onitsha and Port Harcourt (to mentioned a few) are not left out today in the new face of OOH advertising through state signage agencies.
As a matter of complementary effort, the users of the medium are equally being challenged to do more in terms of creative executions being the messages that go on the medium. As the saying goes; “the medium is the message and the message is the medium”, the statement means that they are one of a kind. Special emphasis must now be provided when designing for outdoor advertising. The outdoor creative executive is perhaps the most tasking for obvious reasons and as such must receive special attention. Ideally, the creative department should approach any advertising brief and strategy session by first designing for Out-of-Home advertising especially when OOH advertising is part of the media mix.