THE Director General of the Oyo State Signage and Advertising Agency (OYSAA), Yinka Adepoju, has said that to have an outdoor advertising industry that is internationally competitive, all stakeholders must work in unison and support proper regulation and control of the sector with professionals saddled with the task of heading the agency set up by government.
He said this while delivering a paper in Kano on the topic, Use of Out-of-Home platforms in public/corporate communications, challenges of effectiveness and environmental protection. The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) organized the forum.
“It is important that the outdoor advertising industry is restructured while a global sanitization exercise is carried out to enhance the environment and bring about desired effectiveness in public and corporate communications. This, in my opinion, will only be achieved where and when autonomous signage and advertisement agencies are established by government and qualified professionals are engaged towards effective planning and implementation of set objectives.
“A critical look at today’s outdoor life in some of our model states like Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Kwara, Enugu, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abuja etc. will confirm saner, safer and more beautiful environment with world-class out-of-home platforms such as Mega Boards, Spectacular Unipoles, Scrolling Boards, Wall Drapes, Street Furniture, LED Gantries and Iconic LED Board which is considered the hottest medium of outdoor advertisement in the 21st century.
“LED screens have some special features that make advertisements beautiful, attractive and also have 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 government, there is strong political will and support for planning.”
According to Adepoju, the serious challenge of multiple taxation and miscreants is erased as government has the wherewithal to combat these disturbing and perennial problems. Government, he stressed, is in a position to spend 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.
Beloved participants, there are so many benefits to be derived from a reform of this nature hence all stake holders 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.” Adepoju submitted.
The DG argued that its submission is guided by experience garnered over the years from being a practitioner and now a regulator, maintaining that there is need for a thorough sanitization of the environment to bring sanity to the landscape.
“This declaration is coming from the background that it is in our collective interest to improve our environment either as individual, professional groups and government. We should be reminded that it is only when the outdoor space is safe, sane and conducive for business that both government and stakeholders would continue to derive benefits of the sector.
“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.
“As professionals, there is the need to discharge our corporate responsibilities diligently and whole heartedly. 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.”
Adepoju stated that a critical look at the use of the out-of-home platforms in public and corporate communications in some of the major cities revealed that most structures are erected haphazardly with many in deplorable conditions.
“Some with sub-standard 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 anyway does not help public and corporate communications.
“Chaotic situations like this will not only cast aspersion on this very important medium of communication, its practitioners, but also the users (advertisers), government and the general public. Hence, we must collectively combat this ugly trend.”
He also observed that another challenge the sector faces is inability to adapt or adopt necessary and useful changes. He reasoned: “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 epileptic power supply.”
He further said, “Yet another challenge is non-adherence to outdoor advertising laid down regulations and standards which in many instances has led to blatant abuse of the nation’s environment thus degrading the aesthetics value.
“What effectiveness should we expect from an unplanned environment with proliferation of billboards, tin plates, banners and other primitive forms of advertising on our roads setbacks and medians. The most worrisome which is also disheartening is non- payment of bills on the part of advertisers and sometimes, practitioners.
“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.”
Besides taking a critical look at the industry and making commentary and suggestions, he also explained some of the key words used in the day-to-day practice of outdoor advertising. The wide applause the trailed the presentation underscored the fact that Adepoju’s submission really hit the nail on the head and keyed into the overall goal of the forum: the need to drive outdoor advertising business in line with best practices and global standard.