In what could be described as a remarkable milestone by any advertising agency in Nigeria, Noah’s Ark Advertising Limited recently emerged the first agency to have its work published in the world’s renowned Luezer’s Archive. Chief Executive Officer of the Agency, Lanre Adisa, speaks with Raheem Akingbolu about the feat and other issues
Luezer’s Archive is a worldwide advertising archive that is globally regarded as the ‘Bible’ of advertising. The Archive is a bi-monthly publication that showcases the best of advertising from around the world. Such feat is regarded as a milestone, especially when Nigerian advertising work is yet to win Cannes Creative Award. This explained why the appearance of Noah’s Ark Advertising Limited, one of the new generation ad agencies in Nigeria, in the latest edition attracted positive reactions from the advertising community.
It was believed that the development placed the nation’s creative industry on the world map. Reacting to this development, Lanre Adisa, Managing Director, Noah’s Ark Advertising Limited, described the feat as a bold statement and a great achievement not only for Noah’s Ark’s team, but also a triumph for Nigeria’s creative advertising industry. “It is fulfillment of a dream; I have never been constrained by the space I find myself.
I am a die-hard optimist, I have always believed things are possible even here in this country, and making that publication happen is not just me but the team that we are able to put together. One of the things I enjoy in my career is that I am able to bring fresh talents and they have been able to grow in their career,”
Speaking on how best to improve on the performance of local creative agencies, Adisa suggested the need for practitioners to always adhere to best practices and encourage trainings. As one of the few practitioners who believe that paying of pitch fee would enhance competence, the former Creative Director at Insight & Grey also echoed the need for payment. “I think there must be payment for pitches, which is a way of showing respect for intellectual work that goes into a pitch. It’s not like you’re paying for the entire work, but there should be respect for the strategy.
Sometimes, some pitches are not transparent enough. You do all the work and because somebody somewhere knows a particular person in the company, the story would change and it would become a wasted effort.” Assessing the industry, he pointed out that one of the things he noticed in the post-recession era was that business owners are getting wiser and asking relevant questions.
“These days, business owners want to know exactly what you have to deliver and this I think will reduce the instances of non-transparent pitches going forward because every penny counts. If you get the business because you are the friend to the marketing director and you don’t do the job well, your friend is also likely to lose his job,” he said.
Going further, Adisa admitted that the industry is pained over dearth of talents. To him, many practitioners are simply going into the business without going to any advertising school. As a young graduate, he stated that even though he was into creative writing in school, he didn’t have any primary knowledge of what advertising was all about until he joined an agency.
“That’s how this industry has evolved and that’s how it involved in other parts of the world until advertising schools came in. It is been slow for us as a nation as there is no advertising school in any Nigerian university today, which is a shame. There may be some marketing programmes, mass communication programmes, but in terms of a full-fledged all-inclusive advertising programme, it does not exist.
“As we speak, AAAN has been talking about advertising academy; we hope it takes off at some point. But in the absence of such schools, it beholds on agency to groom the talents, to show them what it takes and the road,” he said. Though Adisa admitted that establishing his company during the recession might not be the best of time, he pointed out that the challenges that came with the time toughened the agency and put it on a stronger stead.
“Nobody saw the recession coming, the idea of Noah’s Ark started in 2007, and you will agree with me that it was not the best time to start up but as fate would have it, the circumstance turned out to be a training ground for us. It now appeared as an intervention agency that came in to save brands from this storm of sameness.
When you go into different categories, people turn to have a particular way of advertising things.” Noah’s Ark, which started working for Indomie brand and Chellaram Group, has since worked on Hypo, Nobel Carpet, and Canon. It recently added Paga and GSK.
For Adisa, there is still a long way ahead for the agency. “Until we are able to bring Nigeria to that table where we can have conversation with the global community we are not going to rest on our oars for any reason at all.
We want to represent Nigeria, but we don’t want to be alone, we want other agencies to join us so that we know we have industry where people can respect outside of Nigeria,” he said.