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Exploding Marketing and Advertising Myths at the Marketing Edge SummitBy Stephanie Dozie on April 30, 2014

The Marketing Edge Summit attracted players in the marketing and advertising industry on the 11th of April, 2014 at Federal Palace Hotel, VI. The summit was organised by Marketing Edge Magazine with the theme: “Exploding Major Myths of Marketing and Advertising Services Industry in Nigeria”. The Summit was one of the events set to mark Marketing Edge Magazine’s 10th anniversary.

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Chairman of the occasion was industry icon, Mr. Biodun Shobanjo, Chairman of Trokya Group, whose active presence in the marketing industry spans 43 years and the lead discussant was Mr. George Thorpe, Marketing Consultant at Market Space.

Other discussants included Mr.Bola Akingbade, who has been instrumental in launching big brands in Nigeria and the Chairman/CEO of Brandville; Alhaji Ganiu Koledoye, President, National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN); Dr. Nkiru Balonwu, CEO, Spinlet;

After introducing and inviting the panellists to the high table, the M.C also introduced the communique drafting committee: Pastor Charles Abraham, MD/CEO, LTC; Mr. Dan Oshodin, MD, TMKG Consulting; Mr. Kayode Olagesin, MD/CEO, Town Criers Ltd and Mr. Dotun Adekambi, MD, Media Logistix.

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The registration point at the entrance

Kick-starting the event was Mr. John Ajayi, MD, Marketing Edge Magazine, who was called upon to make the introductory remarks. He thanked all that were present at the event and took a walk down memory lane, expressing his pleasure at the 10 year mark the company hit and saying that he was overwhelmed by the success of the magazine which started out as a flirting idea.

The chairman of the event, Mr. Biodun Shobanjo was called to the podium to give his speech. He stated how honoured he was to have been asked to chair the event and heaped accolades on Mr. Ajayi, saying that back in the day, he was an interviewee’s delight and that the industry could not but applaud when Mr. Ajayi emerged as the publisher of Marketing Edge, even though, unsurprisingly, there were those who had their doubts. He also had only good words to say about fellow panellists, Bola Akingbade and George Thorpe expressing how wonderful an impression they have on him. He said the latter has immensely contributed to the marketing and advertising industry and that his taking the brand “Panadol” to the number 1 pharmaceutical product in Nigeria drew everyone’s attention to him. After listing some George Thorpe’s exploits to the audience, he then invited him to the podium to give his lecture on the theme of the summit.

George Thorpe, who’s the brain behind the legendary “if it’s not Panadol, it’s not the same thing as Panadol” advertising campaign, mounted the podium after the M.C had read out some of his extremely impressive accomplishments. He is set to retire in October, 2014 and was said it was a privilege to have been approached with the opportunity to share a bit of his experiences as a marketer and an entrepreneur and decided on a topic that he hopes would raise more questions than answers: Exploding Major Myths of Marketing and Advertising Services Industry in Nigeria. He listed out 10 general beliefs he strongly considered were misconceptions and devoted the next few hours to demystifying them. Myths he identified included juicy accounts make for a lucrative agency business, brands spend a lot on media advertising, the dearth of data remains the bane of marketing practice and profession, Integrated Marketing is here to stay, amongst others and then went on to discuss the reason why he identified them as myths.

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George Thorpe during his lecture

After the lecture, the M.C called on the other panellists for their contributions on the theme of the event. Mr Bola Akingbade said that the myth that Advertising and IMC are one and the same is not true because advertising is more specialised while IMC is a combination of advertising and all other marketing communication disciplines. He also said that contrary to popular belief, experiential marketing will not be the death of traditional marketing. He also expressed that digital marketing is not a long way off, however, it will not take the place of creative marketing because the latter is the bedrock of branding. Another myth he dispelled was that of “sex sells” citing some “new generation” banks’ infamous practice of adopting that ideology. He firmly maintained that a good product will sell itself. He also said that big budgets don’t sell brands.

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A few guests waiting for the event to begin

Dr Ngozi Balonwu’s contribution to the summit leaned on Mr. George Thorpe’s list. She agreed with him on his belief that juicy accounts don’t make for lucrative agencies, saying she was glad to hear that because ad agencies can now take her business as seriously as they take MTN’s. However, she did not agree with his sentiment that digital marketing is hyped but was of the opinion that “digital marketing is the coolest thing on the block”. One of the areas she was also in discordance with Mr. George was on the  myth of advertising being expensive. She believes that the founding fathers are still relevant because they have a lot more experience and said that she would sooner patronise an agency that has received recognition in the industry in form of awards than one that hasn’t…although an agency not having awards is not a deal-breaker. She also disagreed with the notion that data is abundantly available in Nigeria, pointing out that if data is inaccessible, then there is no data.

Alhaji Ganiu Koledoye, the president of NIMN said he was delighted to have listened to the speakers and the myths they had identified, and that the essence of myths is to provoke thought and evoke research, tests and discoveries. “These myths vary according to observers and participants and we must continue to educate ourselves by listening to people who speak from experiences”, he said. He then appealed to the marketers present to join NIMN, regardless of how they feel about the shortcomings of the body, pointing out that “a body without it’s sons will flounder because it’s the members that drive the body”.

After all the panellists had spoken, the M.C welcomed questions and contributions from the audience. One of the members of the communique drafting community provided a summary of the entire lecture and Mr John. Ajayi then gave the closing remarks, appreciating the time and presence of all in attendance.

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L-R: Alhaji Ganiu Koledoye, Mr. John Ajayi, Dr Ngozi Balonwu, Mr. Biodun Shobanjo and Mr. George Thorpe


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