We aim to play among the big agencies in the next five years – ‘Dele Ariyo, Chief Creative Officer, Adeptus Advertising Limited


It has been observed that Nigerian Advertising industry in recent times is experiencing a different approach; the creative minds in the business are becoming so restless with undying passion to set up shops. One of these disruptors who are making waves is ‘Dele Ariyo, the Chief Creative Officer at Adeptus Advertising Limited. He spoke to MARKETINGSPACE in his Allen Avenue, Ikeja, office. Excerpts:

Dele Ariyo, Chief Creative Officer, Adeptus Advertising Limited
Dele Ariyo, Chief Creative Officer, Adeptus Advertising Limited

In the last twenty years, some creative guys in the industry led the revolution of setting up ad agencies, why this trend?

The advertising landscape is changing, the way the creative guys are left out in the scheme of things in the industry still baffles me and it is not encouraging. This is because we were left in the studio and there was this notion that the client service people are the only business minded people.

They usually refer to us as the engine room of advertising agency business but at the end of the day the creative guys are abandoned. Most times, we don’t have any say in the business and that is what is bringing this revolution. Creative guys too want to have stakes in the advertising business. We are the ones that create those copies or ads you see but at the end we could not take them beyond the studio. If we are given the opportunities to go out, I bet you, the creative guys will sell the ideas better than the client service people.

I think this is just the beginning, more creative guys are still coming up. If you travel out of the country, take for instance, the international agencies that we always look up to or aspire to be like all started as copywriters or creative people. The trend is changing, creative guys too want to have their meaningful and impactful contributions. When you have creative leadership, the business will be stronger and better.

Over the years, there had been an imbalance in the system and I think now we need to strike that balance, if we don’t do this, the creative guys that are adventurous will always pull out and start something for themselves. How many big agencies have you seen a creative leader becoming the managing director? Only very few. And I think that is where the problem is. If the agency owners feel that creative guys don’t have the managerial skills, why don’t they train them? They will sell better because they understand what they create. All they need is to give them the managerial skills for them to be at the top. It is because they are not getting to the top at their agencies, that they are creating spaces for themselves. I am always excited when I hear that creative guys are made managing directors of agencies.

How has the journey of running your own agency been so far?

The journey has not been easy. I knew it was going to be tough considering where I was coming from. As a creative director somewhere, the salary would surely come at the end of the month but now it’s a different ball game. You need to work harder and harder. When clients see the small agency they get discouraged. I think it is time clients stop underrating the capacity of any small size agency. They should try and better encourage the young agencies to rise as well.

Who are your clients?

Basically for now most of the clients that we have are on project basis. We are pushing hard to get clients on retainership because we have the capacity. So, what we have been doing is to manage projects and we have been doing well with these projects.

What is your USP and projection for the next five years?

We want to be an agency that when you think of sales driven results, Adeptus will come to mind. We are young but we will always get it done. Our dream is to find ourselves among the top ten big agencies in the next five years. We intend to play among the big agencies in the next five years.

Who are your role models in the industry?

I will first pick Lanre Adisa of Noah’s Ark, a very hardworking man, anytime. He started in a small way like us but look at his agency today, Noah’s Ark has become so big and winning awards in the industry. He understands the job well and knows his onions. He has a passion for results. That is why Noah’s Ark would say they are the extension of the brand’s marketing department. I emulate him for his result oriented approach. Also, I will pick Steve Babaeko of X3M Ideas, another creative genius who has done so well in the industry. But in terms of management style and strategies, I will pick Joko Okupe of Soulsight Advertising Limited, I learnt a lot from him because I started with branding under him before I moved to core creative. The three of them have really inspired me over the years.‎