How we raised the bar of outdoor advertising –Adepoju

PASTOR Yinka Adepoju is the Director-General, Oyo StateSignage And Advertising Agency (OYSAA), the government regulatory body for the out of home advertising key players in Oyo State. But before becoming the OYSAA chief he had been a key operator in the private sector rising to the enviable position of Vice President, Association of Outdoor Advertising Agencies in Nigeria (OAAN). A fellow of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Adepoju in this recent encounter with WALE ALABI and AKIN KOLA-AKINLADE x-ray the state of Out of Home Advertising in Nigeria. Excerpts:

State of Out of Home advertising

In out-of-home advertising there exists, most often, an agreement between the advertiser, the site owner, and the media owner who has media rights to the site. This arrangement is called Third Party Advertising and it covers all manner of billboards, outdoor hoardings, out-of-home and ambient media opportunities. In Third Party Advertising the advertiser pays for the right to place advertising on the site to promote his brand/s to the public. The advertising of anything which is not produced, procured, sold, delivered, performed or provided from the premises which, or within 5 meters of which, the advertisement is displayed is known as third party advertisement. There are concise and accurate types of third-party advertisement due to modernization, innovativeness, creativity and advancement in technological growth in the advertisement industry. Next, are some very conversant and common types of ads that we see around. It should be noted that the advertising medium improves daily.

Experience in private and public sectors

Having been on the two sides of both Private and Public Sectors, I make bold to say that there is need for a thorough sanitization of our environment in order to bring sanity to our Landscape.

This declaration is coming from the background that it is in our collective interest to improve our environment either as an individual, professional groups and government. We should be reminded that it is only when the outdoor space is safe, sane and conducive for a business that both Government and Stakeholders would continue to thrive.

As individuals, the state of our environment speaks volume about who we are. Indeed, it affects our quality of life and it is a measuring rod for the civility of our society. Hence we must combat disorder and chaos of unplanned and haphazardly erected outdoor advertising structures.

Roles of professionals

As professionals, there is the need to discharge our corporate responsibilities diligently and wholeheartedly. One of these responsibilities is the need to pay our taxes, levies and other relevant bills promptly while the other essential factor is to ensure that our practice is well regulated within the ambience of all regulations thus ensuring and encouraging environmental aesthetics.

For Government, the task of making the environment safe, investors friendly and aesthetically appealing should be its topmost priority which must not be compromised.

Torn and dilapidated posters and billboards

A critical look at the use of out of home platforms in public and corporate communications in some of our major cities is nothing to write home about Outdoor Advertising Structure of various types, shapes and sizes are erected haphazardly with many in deplorable conditions. Some with substandard materials, some already dilapidated, some not properly positioned, some wearing faded and badly torn posters while some are completely broken down.

If this is the Outdoor scene that generally pervades our environment, what effectiveness are we talking about? Rather than talk about Environmental Protection we should be discussing Environmental pollution which in any way does not help public and corporate communications.

Chaotic situations like these will not only cast aspersion on this very important medium of communication, its practitioners but also the users (Advertisers), government and the general public which we must collectively combat.

Resistance to change

Another serious challenge is our inability to adapt or adopt necessary and useful change as it were. Except in very few instances, what we see on some of our major city roads are traditional or conventional boards.

We should by now have adorned our streets like other developed parts of the world with cutting edge technology driven media solutions commensurate with international standards and best practices via the introduction of LED Electronic Display Technology not minding our limitations which arises from the epileptic power supply.

Playing by the rules

How do you divorce payment or settlement of bills from efficient service delivery? For our public and corporate communications to be effective, stakeholders need to discharge their corporate responsibilities diligently. No responsible Government will tolerate flagrant abuse of Social/Financial responsibilities on the part of its citizens especially when the same government is putting all resources together to ensure an enabling environment for all.

The LED models

LED screens have some special features that make advertisements beautiful, attractive and also have the capacity to transmit live events and other public communications. It represents a more attractive medium of Outdoor exposure causing the environment to be economically and aesthetically improved. With the setting up of autonomous agencies by the government, there is strong political will and support for planning.

Benefits of reform

The serious challenge of multiple taxation and miscreants is erased as the government has the wherewithal to combat these disturbing and perennial problems. Government is in a position to spend a huge amount of money on landscaping, general beautification of the environment and other infrastructural facilities as provision of such facilities are excellent social service delivery to the people it governs Where it cannot cope with the huge spending, it is in a position to adopt a Public Private Participation (PPP) initiative which is very key to the development of any state.

There are so many benefits to be derived from reform of this nature hence all stakeholders must come together and support proper regulation and control, not self-regulation of out of home platforms for the benefits of all. In doing so, qualified professionals must be assigned to carry out this great task.

Achievements so far in Oyo State

First, I need to congratulate, His Excellency, Senator Abiola Ajimobi for this positive initiative of setting up OYSAA that is currently making grand strides in marketing communication business in the state. For us in Oyo State, I make bold to say that OYSAA has successfully achieved environmental standards and best practices in outdoor advertising and we have become a model for other states. In our almost six years of existence, we’ve cleaned up the major routes in Ibadan, Ogbomoso, Oyo and other towns by removing sub-standard, dilapidated, dangerously and badly positioned billboards. We have also succeeded in the registration of all outdoor practitioners in line with agreed categories. We have created an outdoor advertising environment of a world class standard. We have created a well-defined database with records of every signage and other advertising structures across the state. Moreover, we have in the past five years plus contributed to the internally generated revenue of Oyo State through our regulatory activities.

Glimpses of the future

In order to further improve the outdoor life and aesthetic beauty of Oyo State, OYSAA has adopted a Public Private Partnership initiative whereby we partnered with the private sector in order to fulfill our mandate in view of the meager resources of the state. Through PPP we are embarking on solar powered street light poles, construction of ultra modern bus shelters, branding of public places like parks, gardens, markets and roundabouts. We are also engaged in the provision of LED Electronic Video Display Board in strategic locations across the state. This initiative no doubt has the capacity to greatly enhance the environment beautification and increase the state’s revenue generation drive whilst reaping the benefits of business efficiency.

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