Once upon a piece titled; The Bull and Outdoor Advertising.

This piece is from the archive of my “Thinkout” column in OUTDOOR REPUBLIC journal of September 2012 and I feel the need to share it more so for it relevance at a time like this. Going by what is happening in the Nigerian Out-of-Home advertising industry today but not related to GCON conferment this time around. Enjoy reading and drop your comments, please.

I am filled with skepticism as I write this piece, knowing fully well that I might become unpopular with some people within my industry especially the subsector or even at large. However, I can only try to be balance in my submission as much as one is sharing his personal opinion. Apparently, it affected my choice of giving my contribution a caption, “The Bull and Outdoor Advertising” or “Globacom and Outdoor Advertising”.

However, the decision to write about “The Bull” or “Globacom” is driven by the recent conferment of national honour on the chairman of Globacom Limited who I prefer to call, “The Bull”. The story of Otunba Mike Adenuga Jnr. is one that fascinates me because of its twists and turns. Bestowing on him the second national award of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) is definitely not a mistake by the Goodluck Jonathan administration. For a man that there is no word in the lexicon that has not been used to describe him, I thought of how to add my voice to eulogize this man of stature and particularly from my professional perspective. Obviously, it must be related to outdoor advertising.

Interestingly, The Bull or Globacom as you like to see it could be arguably said to be Nigeria’s best promoter of billboards and Out-of-Home media in recent times. Before the advent of telecommunication industry into the usage or patronage of outdoor advertising, we had the Tobacco industry until the ban on tobacco advertising by the Federal government. Suddenly, we witnessed a paradigm shift and have seen major patronage driven by the telecommunication sector. Industry facts and figures have reported Globacom Limited topping in expenditure on outdoor media as well as share-of-voice (SoV) year on year. Although, it’s more of a mix feeling for Outdoor media owners who on one hand cannot deny the huge patronage they enjoy from Globacom and on the other hand, keeps complaining about over due payments by the same company.

My simple intention is to give credit to the man behind the huge patronage and promotion of outdoor advertising for several years now. Mr. Chairman, as many of his staff would gladly address or refer to him is the only reason why his telecommunication company, Globacom Limited would maintain several millions of dollar worth of visibility through billboards. Thereby forcing competition to keep up by ensuring competitive expenditure on outdoor advertising. As an experienced Out-of-Home media specialist of many years, I can confirm several patronages on the account of “The Bull” sighting and pointing at billboards of interest to him that his staff had called and engaged me on. The Bull is the only Nigerian entrepreneur of his caliber that keeps tab on billboards while on the road and sometimes-noticing opportunities even before his staff would bring them to him. He is as passionate about billboards and outdoor advertising as much as his numerous business establishments.

The Globacom chairman has helped the outdoor advertising industry to be innovative through the use of technology to drive iconic sites. As a man of stature he loves stature sites, like landmark and iconic billboards which has helped to increase the number of such in the country. His patronage of outdoor advertising is undoubtedly unrivalled and by measure of volume or figures, it remains arguably unprecedented. Equally, the highest number of single largest outdoor contract deals may be accounted to The Bull. Our dear Nollywood stars suddenly became billboard models with their faces ever present with the Globacom logo on outdoor advertising courtesy of endorsement deals by The Bull. As much as certain Outdoor media owners would continue to complain about overdue payments for contracts executed for Globacom, many still chase after contracts from the telecom giant and some can even beat their chest to say that as long as your site is strategic enough, you are better off with a Globacom contract.

Without any doubt in my mind, I believe that Otunba Mike Adenuge deserves as much credit for his accomplishments and even from his critics, as a man that has contributed to individuals, corporate organizations and the country as a whole. According to Bob Dee, “If Adenuga was born elsewhere, several doctoral thesis and biographical works would have surfaced on him like those of Paul Getty, Aristotle Onassis, Howard Hughes, John Rockefeller, Henry Ford and others. It is the reason we must salute the effort behind the first comprehensive probe of the Adenuga mythology by authors Mike Awoyinfa and Dimgba Igwe. Many have cited Adenuga’s inaccessibility as the reason for frugal information on him. I disagree. All over the world it is our duty to penetrate the impregnable world of this enigma to give mankind a peep into his almost surreal planet. It is doubtful if there’s any other Mike Adenuga on the surface of this earth”.

As for me, I drop a cap in salute of The Bull, an achiever, a successful entrepreneur, a worthy role model, an accomplished fellow Ijebu man, a true ambassador of Ogun State, Nigeria & Africa, a commendable or controversial (if you like) promoter of Outdoor Advertising, a self Actualizer, and the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger– Otunba (Dr.) Mike Adeniyi Adetola Adenuga Jnr. (GCON)

Babs Fagade is a seasoned OOH advertising specialist with a 360° industry experience in several markets around the world, especially the West African market.

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