The Way Forward is Collaboration for the Survival of the Industry – Babaeko, AAAN President
The newly elected president of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN and CEO, X3M Ideas, Steve Babaeko has once again reemphasized the crux of his election campaign, “Collaboration” as the paddle to move the ship of the industry forward in operation as an industry, to open doors to leaders in government, and even to earn global recognition and respect.
Babaeko made this submission during a LAIF & Direct Zoom meeting tagged ‘‘Setting the Creative Agenda” as the Chief Executive Officer of Noah’s Ark Communication, Lanre Adisa moderated the remote discussion session as host from Lagos as host.
The new president of AAAN recounted how he has been passionate about moving the industry forward since his stay at Prima Garnet when he considered that things needed to be changed. According to him, “When I was at Prima Garnet, I started getting the opportunity to help AAAN develop creative content. Prior to that period, I wasn’t comfortable with certain things and had some issues with AAAN at the time. It got to a point that I realised I couldn’t just stand outside and complain. Maybe all I needed to do was to get involved. Later, I got registered by APCON. This was when I started taking things about APCON and AAAN seriously.”
Reacting to the absence of Nigeria on the international scene especially in the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Babaekeo said the agencies are faced with lots of local problems that need to be solved before thinking of the global scene.
“Collaboration is key and the need for agencies to come together to promote the survival of the industry is important. The industry is beset with so many problems with many agencies struggling for survival, so the thought of awards locally or internationally is always secondary. We need to reconsider our business model in these dynamic times and hopefully find an arrow ground to support each other. That is the bedrock on which my campaign was built; to unite agencies.”
He added that competition within the industry does not give room for the needed collaboration within the industry, while calling for collaborative work in creating award-winning works at Cannes, which at the end of the day, the entire industry in the country will get the glory.
Reacting to the current situation in the industry, Babaeko opined that the industry is not doing badly considering the environment it operates but called for more improvement. “The biggest room in the world is room for improvement. Sometimes we want to knock ourselves for not doing enough because of the resilient Nigerian spirit but we must also take cognizance of the challenges of the environment we operate in.”
On government regulations and attitudes towards the industry, Babaeko says, “the onus lies on us as an industry to fight for what we want because power will not be given to us. We have to fight for clout and visibility with the government. We need to make the government understand our importance in the general scheme of things, the industry we support, the people we employ, etc. This is a very crucial industry pivotal to the survival of our economy and at the heart of the development of our economy.
While responding to question on the low level of creativity in the industry and the need for AAAN to have advertising school, Babaeko said talents have been moving in circle within the agencies without room for new breeds to come in. According to him, “academies cannot be too much looking at the arrays of agencies that need talent pool. We are not bringing enough fresh blood in to the industry which is why the academy is a must, thanks to the few academies on ground who are producing new talent but the pipeline for talents needs to be expanded so that young people can come to the industry and make the industry more attractive for them to belong and we will solve the talent problem sooner than later.”
According to the new President, pioneers of the industry have a very big role to play in getting the government to pay better attention to the industry and also, patronize the industry as obtainable in other climes. “If pioneers of our industry which includes the likes of Troyka boss, Biodun Shobanjo; Rosabel’s Senator Akin Odunsi; STB Mccanns’ Sir Steve Omojiafor; Casers Group’s Enyi Odigbo and SO&U’s Udeme Ufot should come together, there is no door in Aso Villa that will not be opened for them.”
“In fairness to Sir Steve, he is doing a yeoman’s job as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, trying to open these doors for us. We need these clouts, and we need to keep building them for the next generation, so that the industry will continue to grow,” he explained.
Some of the agenda the new AAAN president has included, improve women participation in the industry, the need for more engagement between the sectoral bodies and collaboration, breeding more talents in the industry, amongst others.