The Nigerian marketing communications industry has ever remained very interesting despite the challenges facing the economy. In the midst of this scenario, many agencies still strive to survive. One of these agencies is Interactive Media Limited anchored by Dolapo Idowu-Koya who bared his mind on several issues in the Nigerian Marketing Communications landscape. Excerpts…
Q: What is your Unique Selling Point or what makes your agency unique from others?
What Interactive Media Limited sells is creativity. Once we are given any brief, we strategise within the agency, brainstorm exhaustively and extensively with our eyes and minds open, look at the brief from a marketing point of view, thereafter view it from our client’s interest which must always be protected. So, those are the things we do and those are the qualities that differentiate us from competition.
Q: Nigerian advertising agencies have not been recognized or rewarded globally in terms of winning awards from the Cannes festivals, Loeries among others, what do you think has been the challenge?
First and foremost it boils down to state of the economy as well as the perception by the clients. In developed countries, if you work for four hours they pay you for four hours. But in Nigeria, there are so many factors that affect the way we do things. One of them is the economy like I said and secondly, technology. Most times when a client gives you a brief, he doesn’t pay pitch fees, considering the fact that a lot of resources must have gone into executing the brief. So, all these factors need to be looked into. There must be proper compensations at the end of a pitch. Once you are invited for a pitch and you are unsuccessful, then you should be compensated. But here in Nigeria, you just keep on exerting energies and at the end of the day, all your resources would just go down the drain.
What do you think should be done to make clients pay pitch fees regularly?
Before I go into the question, I think certain things are basically wrong. One, the issue of the way the whole industry is structured. Let me take the accounting profession for instance, if KPMG is auditing your account, you must have signed an agreement with them and throughout that year you know it is KPMG and you will pay them for what they have done. But here, there is no regulation and the mistake most agency owners make is that we see ourselves as competitors but we are not competitors. Let me state clearly that our competitors are actually from the client’s side and even the journalists as well. I have heard cases where some journalists do more adverts than the advertising agencies. So, all these things need to be regulated, AAAN should wake up to its responsibilities. If I am not a chartered accountant, I cannot audit any account; such things should also apply to advertising industry.
A Minister of Information of Information once declared that he even patronised journalists with adverts as support for their editorial efforts that they must have done in the past, in this case, Can’t AAAN hold a forum to address this issue?
Yes, we have discussed this issue over and over, but you know that the client is king. It is now terrible that once you do a design they will inform you that they have someone else that does the placement and with the emergence of online media platforms, I don’t see traditional advertising agencies surviving with the way things are going. Well, this may not pose a problem or challenge for the big agencies that have made names for themselves other while other smaller agencies will be gasping for breath. This is why Interactive Media Limited remains compact but very active and highly productive in the way we do business.
Do you agree that the creative guys are more important in the business of advertising than the client service people?
I think both of them are important because they work hand-in-hand. But what I will say is that profitability in advertising business depends on brand owners’ spending power of the client. Agencies like X3m Ideas Limited, DDB Lagos, and the rest have clients that have deep pockets to work with and with that, you can go to town. I want to state from my years of experience in the industry that both the creative guys and the client service people are extremely very important.
Mention some of the places you have worked before now?
I have worked with Comex Advertising, from Comex I moved to Bluebird Communications and from there to haven called interactive media Limited.
Who are your role models in the industry?
I will pick my Mr. Biodun Shobanjo, the Chairman of Troyka Group. I have always admired him. He changed the face of advertising in Nigeria for better and he made people respect advertising practitioners.