AAAN Presidency: Compliance Issues and Signs of the Time – Adisa vs Kelechi

The battle for the soul of the next Executive council of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) has taken off to a good start. We broke the story of the major contenders Lanre Adisa, Managing Director/Executive Creative Director, Noah’s Ark and Kelechi Nwosu, Managing Director, TBWA Concepts who respectively picked and submitted nomination forms to vie for the position of the President of the AAAN. 

As espoused in our previous story, Kelechi  is coming into the race from a position of strength as the sitting Vice president of the association hinging on the ‘unwritten law’ of transiting power from a sitting president to Vice President.  It therefore, goes without saying that Adisa is stepping into the contest as a challenger - a non-conformist working to distort the ‘established order’. This verbally pronounces some measure of hard-sell needs be done. 

The two professional colleagues and friends may belong to the same age bracket, it might also be of interest that both started their careers in the industry in 1990, their individual approach to the campaign for the office of AAAN president differs. While one is treading the hard, worn and tortuous way of traditional model of letter writing and its attendant delievery challenges  and likelihood of one sided “top-to buttom”  communication,  the other has creatively deployed the power of new media. 

Kelechi’s 3-page letter dated May 13, underscores his intention to contest for position of the AAAN president. The letter which has circulated extensively in the industry is titled “AAAN Presidency: Improving our Reputation and Consolidating on the gains of the Past”. Kudos to the team for hitch free distribution to members in Lagos, however, they should be a bit worried about reaching members outside Lagos.  Snail mail or post office any option? Not quite. 

As expected the letter opened with a bit of history of the association and desire to move it forward. Mr. Nwosu used a better part of the letter to introduce himself dwelling on his academic and professional accomplishments.  The letter also laid credence to his having served the association in various capacities climaxing at the current position of the Vice President. 

The letter in part promises, “If elected President, my vision is to continue and refresh the overall elevation of our great practice and profession with the goal of extracting value for all of us in addition to building up respect from clients and our target publics”. 

The letter is like a mini manifesto which of course shows that the V.P has plans if elected. Some of other issues enunciated include continuity of the existing laudable projects, value enhancement and support for the on-going APCON reforms.  

Kelechi caps it all as the last paragraph says “My dream in summary is to increase respect via knowledge, improve our dear association, AAAN and ensure that the reforms and our active lobby cascade better value and profitability to us. We will also continue, via training and LAIF awards, to challenge ourselves”.

Nice plans but what do you say about the mode of presentation in this time and age? For two weeks, I waited to see if the aspirant will deploy  new media for the campaign, none is yet to come. 

To the contrary, Lanre Adisa had not issued a single letter (in the sense of conventional; hard copy) to back up his intention to contest for the AAAN president!  Rather he has chosen to enter into direct conversation with every individual in the concerned community.  He opened the discussion with a short four paragraph statement of intention titled “Stepping Out”. Stepping out is published on a new blog creatively tagged “Let’s yAAAN” -  This infers  it’s a friendly discussion, debate or tête-à-tête in which both sides are free and empowered  through the new media  to put forward ideas and  respond to issues.   

The letter read in part, “Our industry, no doubt, does have a great future. Our past is filled with legacies. However, our present can do better with purposeful and courageous leadership. It is for this reason that I have offered to run for the office of the President of AAAN”.

Just like Kelechi’s decision to run was based on the wise counsel of friends and colleagues, Adisa likewise made it clear on the portal that he was motivated to contest by “a decision whose seeds were sown from various deliberations with peers and other stakeholders who are equally concerned about the future of our industry” . Talk of the same motivation and motivators! Who would they rather go with in truth at the critical moment?

Adisa conversation has however since moved beyond ‘Stepping out’ of May 19.  On June 6, the Contestant flighted ‘My Story’ on “Let’s yAAAN’.  He talks about himself,  his career trajectory in the industry and how he came to be the Noah’s in the Ark. He also mentioned some of the Agency’s creative records.  

He answers the ‘Why now’ question. “I’m running because it’s time for the 90’s generation to step up to the plate and build on the legacies of our great predecessors. I’m running because as much as this can be described as the most interesting era in our business globally, it’s equally the most threatening time in our market. Most importantly, I’m running because a time like this calls for a humane and inclusive leadership that is bold enough to set bigger goals and do all it takes in the best interest of our industry”.

The content on ‘Let’s yAAAN’ have been further escalated through the power of social media – Facebook and Twitter especially.  As a conversation, the blog has generated some comments as feedbacks to keep the discussion alive, lively, dynamic and interactive.As at the last check, the blog has 744 hits.  

Of course, the Kelechi informed that consultations are on to improve his set out objectives and ensure that further ideas are obtained to strengthen the plans. Not sure this can replace then mobile/instant accessibility, unhindered feedbacks and the sense of community feeling which the new media engenders. 

One past president of the association who used new media to good effect as a support tool to win election was Lolu Akinwunmi.  Adisa seems primed on this route. Not too late however for the Kelechi’s team to be compliant. One clear fact is that the world is mobile they want to get it right here and now without hassles! Good information must be supported with the right packaging disseminated through right channel with unhindered access and easy opportunity for feedback. These are the signs of the time. You must not only be compliant but must be seen to be compliant to fit in!