By Kasie Abone
After weeks of spectacular build up and media blitz, the much anticipated Marketing Edge Brands and Advertising Excellence Awards & Annual Summit 2016 came to a fitting climax on Friday, 17 June at the prestigious Civic Centre in Lagos. Over 44 awards were given out, but the highlight was that moment when the over 500 dignitaries and advertising industry experts in the venue rose up in Unisom to applaud and celebrate Nigeria’s advertising titan, Ted Mukoro, when he was honoured with the award for Advertising Icon of the Decade.
On hand to present the award to Mr. Mukoro was Sir Steve Omojafor, Chairman of the Occasion and one of Nigeria’s advertising giants. In a short tribute, Omojafor praised Mukoro for his impact and outstanding legacies in the advertising profession. He evoked emotions when he recalled with nostalgia how Mukoro mentored him and took him through the rudiments of copywriting and how some of Mukoro copywriter masterpieces, like Shine Shine Bobo Star have remained ever fresh decades after they were crafted.
Other advertising and marketing icons that were celebrated in the same Advertising Icon of the Decade category as Mukoro were Chris Doghuje former CEO of Lintas Advertising and Chairman of APCON, and Laolu Akinkugbe, a veteran marketer and current non-executive Director at Nigerian Bottling Company.
The Marketing Edge Award for Brands and Marketing Excellence has in the last five years become the benchmark for recognizing and celebrating talents and milestones in the integrated marketing communication industry. This year, the awards has become even bigger as it not only recognized the established names, new categories were created to honour up-coming industry leaders who are making waves in their little corners.
As the custom is, the event began with the Marketing Edge Summit which has become a powerful platform for practitioner to learn, deliberate and brainstorm on trends and developments in the integrated marketing communication industry. In his opening speech at the Summit, Publisher/CEO of MARKETING EDGE John Ajayi noted that the award was the company’s own way of contributing to the growth of brands and marketing in Nigeria. “It is another way of narrating the story of giant strides of accomplished career marketers advertisers and agencies in Nigeria,” he said.
The theme of the summit was Brand Positioning in a Digital Age: Challenges in a Developing Market and the keynote speaker was George Thorpe, Managing Partner of Market Space. Mr. Thorpe while appreciating the growth in the digital marketing space and the great marketing possibilities it bellies both for larger businesses and the SMEs, he however expressed some reservations about the seemingly lack of standards and proper structure within the system.
Guest Speaker, Seni Adetu former CEO of Guinness Nigeria provided an even broader perspectives on the conversation. Adetu warned marketers against nursing thought that traditional media will become irrelevant for marketing or communication as a result of the rising popularity of digital media. “No one should. Core principles of marketing will not change because it is digital” he cautioned.
Adetu urged marketer to innovatively use available platforms by creating a strategy that creates a synergy among all the communication platforms. “Nigerians are becoming more discerning due to exposure to technology and becoming is becoming more intense. The digital landscape is changing, we have over 158million handsets (some people own more than one), over 97million internet users and so much more,” he declared.
It was clear from Adetu’s narratives that while he still sees the traditional media a very relevant he equally recognize the growing influence of the digital media in the marketing space.
Bukola Akingbade former CEO of Bytesize and now founder and CEO of Nukleus, a digital marketing agency gave a more graphic representation of how the digital space has now created bigger possibilities for brands by helping them to reach wider and more diverse audience in a much faster time.
Akingbade’s thoughts were in perfect agreement with Chizor Malize’s sentiments. Malize who is known for being a social media freak and a great apostle of internet marketing made a robust case for brands to join the digital bandwagon. The CEO of Brandzone was one of the resource persons at the summit and she noted that the youth market in Nigeria was a great force in the market space and brands who desire to win their loyalty must discover their favourite platform of engagement.
In her short presentation, the charismatic brand expert admonished that any serious brand manager must be abreast of trends among consumers. “Brands need to know that a lot of young people are moving away from facebook and instagram and going over to snapchat. If they don’t know this, they will then be concentrating their marketing effort on the wrong channels and will not get expected outcomes,” Malize said, adding that with digital marketing brands can achieve more in a shorter time than they would with digital marketing. Perhaps there is no one person more fitting to explore this topic than Chude Jideonwo, the 31 year old Managing Partner of Red Media, a fast growing Public Relations and Digital marketing agency. Red Media was the digital marketing agency that drove the social media engagement for the Buhari/Osibanjo campaign during the 2015 elections.
Like Malize, Jideonwo stressed the need for brands to pay attention to the streets because that is where trends in the market place are inspired. “The mass market is not influenced by those who have Phd or live in Lekki, but by the streets. That is why brands must study and pay close attention to the streets,” he said, pointing out how a street slang by musician Olamide “leave dirt for LASTMA” became so popular that it inspired one of Sterling Bank’s campaigns.
He however cautioned stakeholder not to get too excited about the internet or overrate it because there are still millions of young people, especially in Northern Nigeria that are not on the internet.
For this group of people, the traditional media remains their primary source of information.
Therefore brands that desire to engage them can only do so through traditional media like TV, radio, and newspapers.
“For this reason, traditional media is still very key and inevitable for brands that want optimum returns on their investments. Some people do not know that Galaxy TV is still the most watched television channel in Nigeria and not Hiptv or SoundCity,” he said.
Speaking during the question and answer session, Thorpe warned that for all the frenzy about the digital marketing media, it still lacks an empirical evidence to prove its performance. That according to him is the primary weakness of the digital marketing and that is where traditional media still has an edge.
Ajayi, noted that this year’s award had been expanded to include new categories that celebrate young practitioners and that has been done to encourage productive competition in the creative industry.
The awards had 44 categories and some of the big winners of the night were Mr. Udeme Ufot, John Momoh of Channels TV, MTN, Noah’s Ark, DDB Lagos, Cool FM, Urban Radio, Optimum Exposures, Red Media, Indigo, Oracle, Peak Milk, Chamita, Bolaji Alausa, Star, SBI Media.