Outdoor Advertising: Players X-Ray 2015 OAAN Poster Awards

2015 OAAN Poster Awards

From left: OAAN Vice President, Danladi Yaro; President, Charles Chijide

THE lineage of Global Outdoor advertising can be traced to the earliest forms of civilisation. Thousands of years ago, the Egyptians employed tall stones or obelisks to publicise laws and treaties. While modes have changed over the centuries, this form of advertising is still relevant in the world of communications today. Even in Nigeria, out-of-home is equally a trailblazer.

In the words of Mr. Lolu Akinwunmi, immediate past chairman of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) who was also given a Special Recognition Award at last week’s Poster award, “out-of-home has remained a major component of advertising practice in Nigeria from the beginning.”

Tracing the history of outdoors in Nigeria at a forum on outdoor advertising, Akinwunmi disclosed: “The history of outdoor is the history of advertising in Nigeria. What has evolved into advertising practice today started formerly around 1928 with the establishment of a UAC subsidiary known as the West African Publicity. The main task of this subsidiary was to produce outdoor advertising for UK companies based in Nigeria.

The business has since grown over the years to become a multibillion naira outfit.” The relevance of the outdoor sector in Nigeria must have propelled the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) last year to resuscitate the prestigious poster award. The award, which started in 1997, was suspended in 2003, due to logistics challenges.

Unlike last year’s “revived version” where 10 categories were created, this year’s award had 13 categories. They include Dairy Food & Beverages won by Golden Penny Spaghetti; Alcoholic Drinks won by Star; Non-Alcoholic Drinks won by Pepsi; Financial Services won by Sterling Bank; Public Services/Real Estate won by Grenadines; and Electronics/Electricals where no winner emerged. Others are Automobile/Accessories won by Toyota Harris; Household Products won by Ariel; Pharmaceuticals/Cosmetics won by Panadol; Telecoms won by MTN ICT; Legend of Out-of-Home won by Walter Drenth of Nigerian Breweries Plc; and Grand Poster Awards won by Conoil.

Special Awards were given to two top industry achievers, Lolu Akinwunmi and Ayo Arowolade. Nigeria’s marketing industry has been awash with commendations and suggestions in the last few days about the 2015 OAAN Poster Awards especially from industry players present at last week’s awards night. Managing Director of Marketing Edge and consultant to OAAN, John Ajayi feels that this year’s event was a radical departure from the “resurgent” edition of 2014.

“The number of entries this year increased remarkably. There were more sponsors yet the integrity of the award remained sacrosanct and the general organisation was a great improvement on what obtained last year,” he said.

For the President, Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN) and member of the panel of judges for the 2015 awards, Goddy Ofose, what was most outstanding in this year’s award was the high level of creativity of the works submitted. “This year’s award was quite glamorous with a top-notch compere, Ini Edoho anchoring the event.

It was almost like a special parting gift for the current OAAN President, Charles Chijide who would be stepping down in the next few months. It can only get better,” he noted.

Although Martins Oguma, a Lagos based marketing practitioner feels there were some remarkable positive notes at the event, he believes that it was a huge omission not to recognise agencies that created the award winning entries.

According to him, “it was not Conoil or Pepsi that created those works. So, failing to acknowledge those who created them was unfair. It should be corrected next year. Even the outdoor agencies that own those platforms used should be recognised as well.

What is the basis of recognising only the brands that paid for the creative while ignoring the platform and the creators of the works?” However, Ajayi feels that both the creative shops and the outdoor partners were indirectly recognized, noting that they would derive a higher benefit of increased bonding and consistent patronage.

In Ofose’s viee, it is an area that could be looked into in subsequent editions. “Those works are actually submitted by creative agencies so it would not be out of place if you see the award management recognising them formally next year.

The issue of recognising outdoor agencies seems dicey. Going by the name, Poster Awards most probably focuses on creative works.

Granted that it would be good to recognise outdoor use of top level digital tools, outstanding scrolling billboards, unipoles and revolutionary billboards designs that make outdoor advertising thick but such step can create some bickering. Note that they are all practitioners so it could be insinuated that someone is trying to gain some advantage.

However, it would be a game of choice and nifty balancing and it would be quite interesting to see how OAAN will balance it out in the years ahead,” Ofose said.

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