The Heads of Advertising Sectoral Group, (HASG) representing Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN) and Experiential Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (EXMAN) recently held a press conference over the seeming onslaughts by Lagos and Kaduna State Governments on Out of Advertising practice.
According to the practitioners the persistent moves by state government agencies against the practice of Out-of-Home Advertising especially in Lagos and Kaduna States has become a thing of utmost concern and imperative to avoid the collapse of members businesses as well as the economy.
They further stated that if the issues are not urgently addressed by embarking on inclusive discussion with stakeholders it may cripple the Out of Home (OOH) adverting industry, increase unemployment and lead to a decline in government revenue generation through levies. “We have called this meeting in order to draw attention of the relevant government departments, and the general public to the imminent dangers that are lurking if the trend continues unabated,” they jointly submitted.
Speaking during the press briefing, the President of OAAN, Emmanuel Ajufo said it is no longer news that the Association is at loggerheads with the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency, (LASAA) over a number of overbearing infractions which, according to him if not checked by His Excellency, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu will strangulate the businesses of OAAN member companies.
Listing the infractions by LASAA, Ajufo said one of the complaints against LASAA is the Agency’s refusal to work within the framework of the laws that established it, especially the failure of the Lagos State Government to constitute and inaugurate a governing board to supervise its activities and for the resolution of issues that bother on disagreement between the Agency and Out of home advertising practitioners, notably members of OAAN. He further stated that the planned concessions of seven (7) major roads in Lagos to bidders would bring about monopoly and increase in the cost of engaging Out-of-Home media by advertisers and therefore should be reconsidered.
He equally mentioned that the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KASUDA) sent a seven (7) days’ notice and a meeting held thereafter where stay action was agreed with conversations ongoing, only to wake up into demolition billboards. The decision according to the state is due to its urban renewal policy to replace all existing static billboards in the state metropolis with Light-Emitting Diode (LED) billboards. “We have since found out that the whole essence is to allow some favoured business owners, close to the corridors of power in Kaduna State to install their LED billboards in those areas, and have the monopoly of practicing there. This is another form of franchising, and HASG frowns at it.”
The ADVAN president, Osamede Uwubanmwen added that states involve should consider the implication of their action on the businesses of OOH advertising practitioners because no matter the way it is done concession is a difficult thing to swallow. He said, by implication if the cost becomes high its members would move their advertising budgets to other media platforms to reach their target audience and it might further affect the OOH advertising industry.
The HASG in its statement points out that “LASAA’s plan to concession seven (7) of the major roads in the state to bidders, and the successful ones to own and operate franchises on such roads for a period of 10 years, is no doubt a grave danger, and the HASG is calling on the government of Governor Sanwo-Olu to prevail on the Agency to shelf it. The HASG is of the informed opinion that such exercise will not stimulate the growth of the advertising industry, but can only, at best, lead to monopoly, which will ultimately lead to increase in the cost of engaging Out-of-Home media platforms by advertisers.
“If allowed, the backlash would include the loss of businesses and the means of livelihood of those who currently operate along those corridors. There is also the certainty of unemployment issues. We believe very strongly that this plan will also have spiral social effects on the environment which will suffer greatly from the indiscriminate display of materials, leading to visual blight. Added to that, the larger advertising industry will be adversely affected: rates would go up, and advertisers will seek cheaper alternatives including moving on to the social media platforms,” it said.
Speaking on behalf of HASG, the President, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN, Steve Babaeko highlighting the implication on the sector and the economy, said HASG wishes to caution both LASAA and KASUPDA as well as those other states that might be planning such acts, that they are acting illegally and that they will end up creating more problems for the industry. “For the avoidance of doubts, the HASG wishes to inform all the state agencies that this Group will not hesitate to issue a boycott instruction to all advertisers against any state that engages in such infractions as have been committed by LASAA and KASUPDA.
Babaeko said Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) contribute to economic growth, urging Lagos and Kaduna governments to suspend the move, stating that billions of Naira must have been lost by OOH practitioners in Kaduna even as OAAN President said the value of what has been lost will soon be reported.
Tunji Adeyinka, President, Experiential Marketers’ Association of Nigeria, EXMAN, urged government in these states as a matter of urgency to take a second thought on their decision because this will not only affect the economy but increase the unemployment rate which was already on the high side. He added that OOH advertising industry employs a lot of people and the concession would further increase the unemployment rate.
“We have thousands of people employed under this industry and if this situation is not handled with care, it will affect a lot of people.
Adeyinka said if government is looking at growing the economy, the idea of concession and taking drastic decisions on the industry is not the way but it will rather decrease the economy.
Eki Adzufeh, on behalf of the President of Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria, MIPAN, urged government not to only look at the financial benefit of their action but rather what will be of benefit to brand and business owners while equally urging the State governments to revisit the decision and engage industry stakeholders.
HASG also added, “Concessions and franchises promote monopoly and the HASG is opposed to it in whatever form.