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History Of Advertising In Nigeria

Advertising is one of the fastest-developing industries in Nigeria and in recent years, a good deal of investment has been channeled into the industry to keep it abreast with the pace of other vibrant business sectors in Nigeria.

Since advertising is the key factor that generates awareness for any business, it is reasonable for every nation to focus great attention on its advertising sector.

History Of Advertising In Nigeria

In its history, advertising shares some similarity with many other vibrant Nigerian industries as its beginning can be traced to the era of colonialism in Nigeria. The establishment of West African Publicity Limited played a major role in paving the way for the development of advertising in Nigeria. The company [West African Publicity Limited), which was set up in 1928, served as a spin-off of UAC. Its establishment was meant to provide colonial masters in Nigeria and entire West Africa with marketing needs. In 1929, West African Publicity Limited achieved a tremendous transformation into an absolute advertising company regarded as LINTAS (Lever International Advertising Services) and was divided into two subsidiary companies namely Pearl/Dean and Afromedia. At the point of establishment, the companies were controlled by foreigners.

  • Evolution of Advertising Associations in Nigeria

Nigeria’s advertising industry was poorly run during its early years. Meanwhile, the sector was coordinated ineffectively because the Nigerian law didn’t render any support to promote the activities of advertisers in the country. Owing to this ignorance by the Nigerian law, those who practiced advertising at the time only did it voluntarily. Although a good deal of advertisers made efforts of laying down codes of conduct, they couldn’t achieve this objective due to neglect by the Nigerian law. Amongst the efforts put forward by advertisers then were the formation of ACON (Advertising Council of Nigeria) and AAPN (Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria). A number of committed advertisers voluntarily set up these two associations (ACON and AAPN) in 1977 but they couldn’t meet their advertising objectives because the Nigerian law failed to support the practice of advertising in those days.

At the time, the ineffective development of advertising was obvious as Nigerian advertisers could not promote domestic commodities or services. They, instead, promoted the services and products which came from foreign sources. Besides, most of these services and products were not regarded as necessities as the majority of Nigerians couldn’t afford them. Average Nigerians couldn’t afford the commodities/services advertised and this made it clear that they were aimed at the wealthy Nigerians.

Nigeria’s advertising was soon strengthened by the growth of global advertising. Meanwhile, companies and producers began exploring the international market to promote the sale of their products. This move favoured the growth of Nigeria’s advertising as it encouraged companies and producers to advertise their products across many parts of the world. Owing to this, a number of global companies (like Coca-Cola) have advertised their products massively and spanned their operations in Nigeria and many other third-world nations.

History Of Advertising In Nigeria
History Of Advertising In Nigeria

Some of the technological innovations in the nineteenth century triggered massive production and many factories succeeded in filling their warehouses with a plethora of commodities. Meanwhile, this necessitated the creation of essential advertisements which would use a broad range of media tools in reaching a massive audience.

During the early years of advertising in Nigeria, the TV stations across the eastern, the northern, the western and the mid-western regions were controlled by the NBC owned by the Federal Government. Before the attainment of independence, the first private TV station was established in the western region precisely in Ibadan. Later on, Enugu (in the East) and Kaduna (in the North) followed this accord in 1960 and 1962 respectively. In 1967, Gen. Yakubu Gowon created the foremost 12 Nigerian States from the formerly existing Regions. Also during the military regime of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, more Nigerian States were created and this prompted the establishment of more TV and radio stations by State governments.

  • Contributions of Newspapers to Advertising

Advertising in Nigeria was favoured immensely by the emergence of foremost newspaper-publishing firms like Sketch, Tribune, Express, New Nigeria and Daily Times. Although prominent magazines like Spear and Drum (from Daily Times) contributed to the popularity of advertising, the Nigerian advertising industry didn’t achieve tremendous development from the 1960s to 1970. However, the Indigenization Policy, often described as the Promotion Decree of 1972 favoured the establishment of Nigerian enterprises. By virtue of the stated policy, Nigerian indigenes were appointed to hold major positions in corporate organizations. In accordance with the mandate of the Indigenization Policy, Mr. Silvester Muoemeka was to be appointed the foremost indigenous chief executive of LINTAS. Meanwhile, LINTAS played a key role in the significant drift of people from broadcasting to advertising. Through LINTAS, many Nigerians were encouraged to forgo their profession of broadcasting and venture into advertising.

LINTAS remained the only significant advertising agency until the duo of Insight Communication and Rosabei Advertising were introduced in late 1970’s. The emergence of these two agencies buttressed the Nigerian advertising industry and paved the way for creativity and innovations to reach higher standards. Of course, the two agencies are still operating vibrantly even as Nigeria now has a large number of advertising agencies. Meanwhile, the need to establish advertising associations was realized as advertising agencies and practitioners increased in number. It was believed that these associations would foster advertising activities and help advertising agencies/practitioners in pursuing common interests. Also, it was agreed that there should be a regulatory body that would, in addition to its primary role as a regulator, lay down the standards for the practice of advertising. In 1973, a Lagos-held meeting of advertising agencies was to be transformed into AAPN (Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria) with the intent of safeguarding practitioners and agencies from an unsuitable business.

Established in 1973, AAPN has maintained a great reputation in the field of marketing communications in Nigeria. In 2004, AAPN officially changed its name to AAAN (Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria). Today, AAAN has made a great mark as the main body that harmonizes and fosters the interests of advertising agencies in Nigeria.

Still On The History Of Advertising In Nigeria

Faster forward to the age of the internet and social media

Internet And Social Media

Advertising has evolved from just the jingles on TV, radio or that of billboards and newspapers and magazines. The Internet gave us easier avenue to reach millions of customers at a cheaper rate. Thanks to platforms like Google Adword, Bing Ads etc. Not leaving our Social media adverstising and the huge reach possible for even a lay man.

That’s all about History Of Advertising In Nigeria


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