The Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) at the maiden edition of the OAAN Conference, Exhibition and Awards, which held on 23 November, 2022 at Marriott Hotels, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos through the conference speakers have called for a paradigm shift that will redefine and reposition the outdoor advertising industry in Nigeria under the event theme; “OOH At The Edge”.
The well attended one-day packed events began with exhibitions with about twenty exhibitors showcasing innovative product offerings, which was immediately followed by the conference that had Mr. Soni Irabor as the keynote speaker who was ably supported by panelist including Dr. Muda Yusuf, Centre for The Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Mr. Osamede Uwubanmwen, President of Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) and Mr. Akin Orebiyi, former Resident Electoral Commissioner, Lagos State.
The Speaker and panelist enjoined all stakeholders to collaborate towards the attainment of growth through unhindered practice and provision of an enabling and conducive business environment for the out of home advertising industry in Nigeria. In the details of his keynote paper titled “OOH Media Amidst Security, Political and Economic Uncertainties”, Mr. Irabor stated; “There is a common denominator when one looks at the threats posed by uncertainties in Security, Politics and Economy. He further opined that the setting up of Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency, LASAA has made government a direct competitor with the private sector that they regulate.
On the part of the three panel of discussants who looked into the paper presented by the keynote speaker, they believe that issue of incumbent governments preventing the political opposition candidates from display of advertisement cannot be over emphasized. They see out of home advertising as endangered specie with myriad of challenges to contend with for survival and proposed that further engagement among stakeholders and government should be pursued. One of the panelist added; “It takes a lot of innovation, creativity and resilience to remain standing in the midst of all these challenges, especially operating in an industry where the regulator is also the competitor; there is nothing that can be as bad as that. We have some legislation and laws in this country; I think you should also have the courage to bring some sanity to some of these things. We have competition law, and from time to time, you should challenge some of these legislative practices that are not favourable to your business. We are in a democracy.”
Adding glamour and colour to the event with his punctual presence was the czar of advertising in Nigeria, Dr. Biodun Shobanjo, frpa, OON who spared no word to expressly condemn the incessant harsh, discriminatory laws and policies imposed on members and practitioners of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) by some government agencies. He, therefore, charged practitioners to take legal action to challenge such unfriendly regulations in order to have a friendlier and conducive business atmosphere for members’ business operations across different states. The advertising doyen expressed displeasure while underscoring the numerous challenges encountered by practitioners in the outdoor advertising sub-sector.
He added; “This business in which you are in, marketing communications, I spent 51 years of my life in it. Aside from the fact that I am from the outside looking at what you guys are doing, quite frankly, if anybody was to ask if I would like to be in your position today, my answer will be no, because the obstacles are just too many. “The regulations are just too many – from regulation laws to competition, from the kind of things you hear about politicians who say that for you to advertise in a state, if you belong to a particular party you cannot bring your advertisement from another party except you have to pay some money. I have had the privilege of working for three political parties, not once did I encounter any problem in any state even if we were putting advertisements,” he emphasized.
He concluded that as long as OAAN continues to swallow the bitter pills without taking a proactive action, it will definitely linger for a very long time into the future.
The one-day event climaxed with an evening session that began with the launching of the book titled “Out Of Home Advertising Practice”, which is yet another pioneering effort by OAAN as a sectoral body of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON). A minute silence was observed for the late Vice President of OAAN, Mr. Femi Ogala who recently passed away in the twilight to the event and the Editorial Committee Chairman took to the stage with his team as he expressed the immense joy of seeing the booked launched.
Thereafter, it was the turn of the book reviewer Mr. Ayo Oluwatosin who was able to wet the audience appetite for the book. Then came the moment to unveil the book by chief launcher, Eng. Dozie Mbanefo who was ably represented and kicked off the launching of the book with the sum of Ten Million Naira and welcomed the co-launchers to follow suit.
Then followed the time for awards presentation and Professor Abigail Odozi Ogwezzy-Ndisika as the Chairperson of the jury took to the stage. She delivered a speech that explained the process of awarding by the eight-man jury. The Awards night had the host, Chief Emmanuel Ajufo frpa, President of OAAN gave his welcome address. Chief Ajufo noted that “Out of home advertising is still very relevant in the Advertising Ecosystem, I am glad to inform us all that the level of our collaboration at the sectoral level is at an all time high, they stood firmly with us in recent struggles with external stakeholders for the advancement of the Advertising Industry”. Chief Ajufo also commended the advertising profession regulator, ARCON as he describes them as “wonderful”.
The awardees of the night drawn from twelve categories including, Telecoms Products & Services, Entertainment & Media, Automobile & Accessories, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, E-Commerce, Beverage & Non-Alcoholic Drinks, Sports Industry, Grand prix, Signage Agency of the year, Most Value Driven Advertiser and Most Outstanding AISOP Compliant Agency. These include three newly introduced and special awards that necessitated the name change from POSTER AWARDS to OAAN AWARDS because the new AWARDS go beyond recognizing and rewarding posters alone. Hence, the awards seek to be more inclusive in celebrating and rewarding professionalism, objectivity, value, compliance, management style, operational capacity, respect for rule of law and corporate governance. These newly introduced award categories stole the night with MTN winning the Most Value Driven Advertiser, Ogun State Signage & Advertisement Agency emerging as Signage Agency of The Year, Most Outstanding AISOP Compliant Agency went to Media Reach OMD in 3rd position, Media 100 in 2nd position and Scout Media in 1st position while Guinness won the Grand Prix award.