FG Strengthening APCON to Boost Investments in Sector, Says Lai Mohammed

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the federal government is committed to strengthening the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) through the implementation of reform initiatives.

Mohammed spoke yesterday at the 49th annual general meeting of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) in Lagos, saying this would encourage inclusive growth as well as attract investment to the industry.

He said advertising and brand marketing are prime examples of sectors where consumer data is critical, hence the need to leverage technology for direct engagement with the audiences.

“As many of you are aware, one of the bold and necessary steps we have taken in recent times is the approval of the ongoing reform initiatives of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON),” he said.

 “The reform is aimed at strengthening the advertising ecosystem, encouraging inclusive growth as well as attracting investment to the industry.”

Mohammed also said the world was rapidly changing in its dynamics of opportunity and risks, adding that the sector must take advantage of these opportunities.

He noted that the odds of success or solution to any challenge in this new world order are “as high as our regard for the power of digital technology.”

“And the entrepreneurial opportunities lying in wait at that crossroad between technology and the economy of sectors like advertising and brand communication are vast and you, as industry leaders, must continue to harness a variety of talents and competencies to take maximum advantage of the opportunities presented,” he added.

“The vast array of new consumer engagement opportunities is the disruptive potential of the digital transformation in communication. That is why it has been a matter of national interest, and an important critical response for me, to personally convene the ministerial task team on the audience measurement system.

“My mandate to the task team, which has representation across all the relevant sub-sectors of the digital divide in consumer engagement and communication, is that necessary protocols must be initiated to give legal and constitutional framework to a national, systemic, accountable and data-driven understanding of the impact of communication on consumer behaviour.

“It is my desire that all the relevant parties are able to complete the tasks to achieve this mandate and we are able to initiate the legislative processes necessary before the terminal date of this administration in the first quarter of 2023.”

Mohammed added that the government is committed to exploring all the opportunities offered by the social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp, for the benefit of the people, noting that some of the major tech giants have shown interest in investing and exploring business opportunities in the Nigerian digital space.

The minister, however, advised the AAAN to be wary of the potent impact of deliberate fake news, orchestrated disinformation, and demarketing by unscrupulous and faceless purveyors online, which present huge risks to brand communication as they undermine the most critical ingredient to successful consumer engagement — trust.

“We need you, as seasoned communicators and critical stakeholders, to also consider the roll-on effect of fake news and disinformation on the economy of advertising and brand marketing, both in the short and long term,” he said.

“It lays ambush on every brand promise and every potential argument you make to the benefit of your products and services.”

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