Nigeria’s outdoor industry received a major boost with the simultaneous hosting of two major events, an international outdoor conference and exhibition by Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA). Smarting from its successful hosting of two editions of the Lagos Countdown event, pundits are now convinced that LASAA has developed tremendous capacity to host world class events. Most participants were pleasantly surprised by LASAA’s latest initiative that received commendation from industry stakeholders. A participant from Delta State, Edward Ekiyor said. ”LASAA should be encouraged to make this event an annual thing, such that all stakeholders take part in discussions that will lift the industry” Ekiyor added. ”Most importantly, I think the industry should congratulate LASAA for a job well done”.
At the conference, the outdoor industry took a critical look at itself and came to a resolution that its biggest threat was lack of data, creativity and fierce competition from television, radio and social media. This point was emphasised by several of the speakers including the Managing Director of Insight Communications Ltd, Mr Jimi Awosika. Awosika’s presentation titled: “The Importance of Creativity in Outdoor Campaigns” was laced with videos that showed how other climes were being creative with outdoor campaigns. In a comical interlude, Awosika likened dull outdoor campaigns to ”Waka pass” a pidgin euphemism for an advert that is not noticed by its target audience. Similarly, Founder/Principal Alder Consulting, Mr. Leke Alder spoke eloquently about “Branding & Signage”.
The conference, the biggest ever held in Nigeria since outdoor advertising was introduced in the country over 50 years ago, attracted key industry stakeholders including Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN) and Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN). In addition, outdoor regulatory agencies from Ondo, Kano, Ogun, Edo, Cross River and Kwara states took part. Similarly, LASAA’s counterparts from Cameroon and Kenya were in attendance. The Managing Director of LASAA, Mr George Noah said it was a deliberate decision to invite students of Mass Communication in all higher institutions in the country for the conference. ”Our objective is to raise the profile of outdoor advertising right from the university” Noah said. In all, over 500 delegates attended the outdoor conference and about 5,000 attended the exhibition.
Noah said the speakers at the conference were carefully selected from among Nigeria’s best as well as from abroad. The world’s biggest outdoor agency JC Decaux with a turnover of xxxxxxxxx in 2013 participated. CEO Southern Europe JC Decaux, Mr. Jean-Sebastien Decaux spoke on “The Future: Global Trends & Emerging Formats in Out-of-Home Advertising”. The General Secretary of the World’s Outdoor Association, Mark Flys also took part. Veterans in the industry Mr Biodun Shobanjo and Chief Femi Adeniyi Williams participated.
Others speakers included Chairman of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria Chairman (APCON), Mr. Lolu Akinwunmi, Prof. Ralph A. Akinfeleye, University of Lagos, Department of Mass Communication, Managing Director/CEO Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Peter Amangbo, Mr. Kunle Ahmed, Executive Director Mansard Insurance Plc, Mrs. Bunmi Oke, President Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Alhaji Ibrahim Yusuf, Director General Abuja Signage Agency, Mr. Adekunle Adeshina, Managing Director/CEO Invent Media Limited, Mr. Lanre Akinsola, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Managing Director/CEO TMKG Consulting Limited, Mr. Dan Oshodin, Marketing Director Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Austin Ufomba, Director General Lagos State Safe Commission, Mrs. Dominga O. Odebunmi, Managing Director/CEO Chris Parkes Marketing Solutions Africa, Mr. Chris Parkes, Founder Trends & Intelligence Network in Nigeria (TINK), Mr. Franklin Ozekhome, Managing Director/CEO Ideas House, Managing Director/CEO Primedia Out-of-Home Africa, Mr. Gerry Costa,Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria President (OAAN), Mr. Charles Chijide and Mr. Kenny Salami.
A participant at the conference from Plateau State said: ”I have attended outdoor conferences and exhibitions in most parts of the world and this maiden edition by LASAA ranks among the best I’ve attended in recent years.” Similarly, Mrs O Amal a director at Rotapanel Ltd, an exhibitor from Holland said ”Our experience this year is very positive. It’s a good development and we had a lot of very good and interested visitors. It will help our business and our partner business that we have a lot more good leads and business coming from LASAA’s Africa Sign Expo”.
While the Exhibition was for three days, the outdoor conference was for two days. Both events held at EKO Hotel conference centre. The exhibition featured virtually all outdoor formats including inflatables, vehicle branding, electrictronic boards, large format printing, experiential marketing items and indoor screens. Exhibitors came from far and wide including USA, Dubai, Belgium, Holland, USA, UK, South Africa and Nigeria. LASAA says more would have participated but for the insurgency in the northern part of the country that scarred some visitors away. Several exhibitors who had doubts as to the success of the event are now queuing up to take part in next year’s edition. A good example is China’s biggest electronic billboard manufacturer Shenzhen Absen Optoelectronic Co., Ltd. Satisfied with LASAA’s first international outdoor exhibition outing, a representative of Aspen, Brian Cao said they were convinced they made an error not to participate in this year’s edition. ”We underestimated the event because usually from our experience, government institutions often bungle such initiatives. Our representative was at EKO Hotel and gave us video recording of the event and we have decided to attend next year’s show”.
How did LASAA surprise the industry by its recent performance? Sources at the agency said staff drew its strength from the experience of the Lagos Countdown arguably Africa’s biggest crossover event. Careful planning, and its veritable networking within the private sector pulled off its success.