MD STB McCann, Mr. Rufai Ladipo
Managing Director of STB McCann, Mr. Rufai Ladipo, has handed over leadership of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, (AAAN) to the Chief Operating Officer of 141 Worldwide, Mrs. Bunmi Oke, who seeks to consolidate on her predecessor’s performance, Raheem Akingbolu reports
The Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) recently held its 39th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Premier Hotel, Ibadan, Oyo State.
There, it played host to top practitioners in the industry and put the association on a new track. Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who was chief host at the occasion, set the tone by drawing a comparison between advertising business and politics.
Though he admitted that the place of advertising couldn’t be overemphasised in nation-building, the governor pointed out that; “In advertising, it behoves on practitioners to constantly maximise their opportunities. But in politics all you do is to constantly optimise so that you must do what it is politically expedient.”
By the statement, the governor pointed out that players in both areas of human endeavour are always out and keen about meeting the expectation of a target audience, through different approaches.
Expectedly, many stakeholders are expecting so much from the new leadership of the association, considering the fact that AAAN, towards the end of Mr. Rufai Ladipo’s term, promised a new regime in advertising business.
Speaking on her plan to reposition the association, the new president Mrs. Bunmi Oke, told THISDAY after she was sworn-in that she would anchor her programme on three indices; continuity, consolidation and revitalisation.
“Under me, AAAN will not move away from the progressive track charted by previous regimes. On this note, I will continue with various progressive programmes that my predecessor and others before him had embarked on to change the face of ad practice.
“I will also consolidate on what has so far been achieved to enhance sustainability and finally I will strive very well to revitalise the industry in terms of number and payment. As much as possible, under me, there will be some cutting-edge approaches to reposition advertising, sustain the relationship between us and our trade partners and better endear our service to members of the public,” she added.
Despite the unanimous cooperation she got from her colleagues who ushered her in, the need for Oke to meet expectation appears to be the greatest challenge ahead.
Aside perennial issues of pitch fee and debt in the industry, the new leader requires a firm posture to deal with issues related to cutting corners and other unethical practices in the industry. This is necessary because investigations have since revealed that most ridiculous acts in the industry are usually perpetrated by top industry players, who are considered ‘untouchable’.
In the area of positioning, the Oke team will need to work more on the relationship between AAAN and Federal Government so that government and its agencies would increase the level of engagement of registered practitioners in their campaigns.
New Licensing Regime
Few weeks before he bowed out of office, Mr. Rufai Ladipo told journalists that a new advertising and allied business would begin from January next year.
According to him, this is as a result of a decision of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) in conjunction with other sectoral bodies to put into effect the a new code that was adopted last year at the annual Advertising Day celebration of the council.
He said the development was part of the need to ensure professionalism within the industry, which the Committee on Advertising Practice Reform (ACAPR), came up with.
APCON Governing Council had two years ago inaugurated the committee to review the current practice environment, to ensure that advertising, like other professions, is regulated within the ambit of the law and in ways that would protect the practice and ensure that current practice codes are reviewed in line with global standards.
The new code, Ladipo stated, would soon be made public by APCON, and it would ensure that APCON issue new license either through sectoral groups or directly from APCON. The former president added that the era of indiscriminate practice in advertising was over with the new code.
According to him, “With the new advertising code you are either rectified your license with the sectoral body or with APCON and this would reduce unethical practice to minimal level”.
AAAN under Ladipo
For Ladipo, the AAAN presidency was not a tea party when one considers his passion, when aspiring to lead the association. His first attempt was five years ago, when he slugged it out with the current Chairman of APCON, Mr. Lolu Akinwumi and lost.
Then last year at the 38th AGM and election of the association in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, he came out again, this time to face Mr. Longley Evru and Mr. Erhabor Emokpae and emerged president.
Looking back at the last 12 months, the former president can be said to have successfully lead the association and make it maintain its relevance.
Speaking on his achievement in office, he pointed out that his administration made appreciable progress towards the completion and takeoff of the advertising academy’s project, which his predecessors initiated.
He said; “The business plan of the academy has been completed, discussed and agreed by the Advertising Academy’s Board headed by Mr. Biodun Shobanjo. We have also engaged a consultant to facilitate the commencement of the academy.
“The registration has been completed and we are awaiting the Academy’s certificate and other relevant documents from the Corporate
Affairs Commission,” he added.
Speaking on ethics, Ladipo said during the period under review, out of ten complaints received by the Association’s secretariat on unethical practice, only one was associated to AAAN member agency. The remaining nine issues were referred to other associations may be necessary.
“This means that the level of ethical behaviour and compliance by our members have improved significantly,” he said.
He, however, lamented that despite the clamour for the need for payment of pitch fees by clients, some advertisers reneged on the payment during his one year reign.
To this end, he disclosed that “Such lapses were reported to the secretariat. After a letter from our Association, some of the concerned advertisers honoured the pitch fee policy and agreed to pay the agencies that lost out in the pitch process. Some new and potential clients are still finding it challenging to comply with payment of pitch fees as an international business practice in our line of business”.
The former president also stated that the administration expanded AAAN membership base; as a means towards monitoring the activities of members and have a firmer control of the industry.
On training and manpower development, Ladipo said the knowledge development committee of the association, chaired by Jimi Awosika, was requested to expand and review the content of the Association’s training programmes.
This is by increasing its frequency and ensuring better participation and addressing the knowledge gap in the industry particularly in the core areas of advertising such as copywriting, media planning, account planning, and account management.
Above all, he added that the association has been able to enhance camaraderie among agencies.
Profile of Bunmi Oke
With her emergence, Bunmi Oke thus became the 2nd female practitioner to lead the AAAN. The first person was Mrs. Bola Thomas, a former MD of LTC, who took over from Mr. Steve Omojafor, when the association was still known as Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria (AAPN).
Before becoming the COO of 141 Worldwide, Oke had worked with Coca Cola Nigeria and Prima Garnet Ogilvy.