Evolution Of Outdoor Advertising In Nigeria

Category: Advertising, Games
Last Updated: 13 Jan 2021
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Advertising or advertising is a form of communication for marketing and used to encourage, persuade, or manipulate an audience (viewers, readers or listeners; sometimes a specific group) to continue or take some new action. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common. This type of work belongs to a category called affective labor (Wayne et al. , 2008). Long before America was colonized, commerce flourished in the Old World where various methods were used to promote trade.

Notice boards placed outside houses indicated what could be had within. Wine cellars gave free samples in the streets. And actors paraded in the streets attempting to entice onlookers into theatres. The idea of commerce is very old indeed, and the means of inducing others into exchange relationships was not far behind in its development. (Advertising and Society Review) As we have seen, an advertisement can be very simple, and simple advertising, eg for events, has been around for as long as people have been trying to make money out of attracting a wider public.

Posters announcing an event were probably the first form of advertising, and these date back to gladiatorial contests in Ancient Rome. The first advertisements, however, which fit our full definition of advertising (ie paid for, occupying space in a media form) appear in newspapers in the seventeenth century. These tended to be straightforward statements of fact, without any fancy typesetting or illustrations, and were often indistinguishable from the news stories around them.

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As the eighteenth century wore on, the Industrial Revolution gathered pace, and consumer goods became more sophisticated, manufacturers began to recognize that they needed to create a need for their products. Many items were new to consumers, or were new variations. Josiah Wedgewood, who manufactured pottery in England in the second half of the seventeenth century, was particularly good at creating new markets for his wares through advertising.

He brought cups and plates into the budget and households of middle class families - a much larger market than the wealthy aristocratic households who had previously been the only purchasers of dinner sets. The nineteenth century saw the skills of the advertiser come to the forefront, as ads began to mix images and words, and adopt the techniques of language and layout that we are familiar with today. With the proliferation of goods and services in this century, it became recognised that advertising was an important part of business, and should be dealt with by experts in the field.

Most of the advertising agencies that dominate the global markets today were founded in the latter part of the nineteenth century. During the early part of the twentieth century, governments began to recognise the power of advertising to get their message across to their 'consumers' (ie their citizens). This was particularly apparent during the First World War, when advertising was used to enlist soldiers and enforce government policies. (http://www. mediaknowall. com/gcse/advertising/advertising.

Advertising in Nigeria Advertising in Nigeria could be said to have started officially with Rev. Henry Townsend's Newspaper called Iwe Iroyin in 1859. This particular newspaper carried advertisements on births and other social events. However, professional advertising is often said to have started in 1928 with the birth of West African Publicity Limited. Derived from UAC, it was established to cater for the needs of the colonial masters in Nigeria and West Africa.

This company later became an advertising agency in 1929 named Lintas with two other subsidiaries namely Afromedia, the outdoor medium and Pearl/Dean, the cinema arm. In the 1950's new advertising agencies emerged. The medium of advertising was in its infancy in those days Federal Government owned National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) where he only television stations that operated in the four regions of East, West, North and later Midwest. With the increase in practitioners, an agency regulatory body had to be formed to standardize their practices.

A meeting of the agencies held at Ebute Metta, Lagos in 1971 was to metamorphose into Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria (AAPN) with the objective of protecting practitioners against unfavorable business. The association was later renamed Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) . The need to establish an institution Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) by Decree 55 of 1988, later renamed Act 55 of 1988 by the civilian administration on November 1989, the first meeting of the association held somewhere in Ebute-meta, Lagos finally culminated to the birth of APCON.

In the 1990's the sector came alive, it began to expand beyond advertising as full services public relation firms such as the Quadrant JSP and Quest were established. Also the era witnessed the mad rush of foreign affiliations. While some agencies sought this affiliation to help boost their human capital, others just joined the bandwagon just to feel among. Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) later emerged in 1928.

Today, Nigerian advertising industry, is making efforts to ensure that they measured up to global industry practice. Affiliations also avails them of technical knowhow in the areas of creativity and training. The industry has grown to shooting their adverts locally and injecting a lot of local content in their campaigns the regulatory body of advertising, APCON, is living up to expectations by the measures put in place to sanitize the industry. Of note is professionalizing the practice to ensure that quacks are reduced if not flushed out completely.

Again measures are adopted to ensure practitioners operate within set advertising standards. Sectional associations include Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Newspapers proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN).


Outdoor advertising in Nigeria has its humble beginning rooted in colonial history. Advertising development in Nigeria could be traced to about 1928 with the birth of West African Publicity Limited; a subsidiary of the United African Company (UAC). The company was set up to cater for the marketing activities of UAC in both Nigeria and other West African countries as at that time. The company was later to transform to a full-fledged advertising firm in 1929 and was named Lintas with two other subsidiaries, Afromedia, the outdoor medium and Pearl/Dean, the cinema arm.

Then headed by expatriates, the companies were to enjoy a monopoly for a long time. It was not until 1950s when other advertising agencies started to emerge on the scene. Ogilvy, Benson and Martha (OBM) and Grant were later to join the fray to form the big three in the industry (Saleem et al. , 2010). In the 50s, other sizes of structures like 8 sheets, 1b sheet and few bulletin boards at Iddo were erected for such clients as Nigeria Tobacco company, Nigeria breweries and Langucy stores. The history of outdoor is the history of advertising in Nigeria.

What has evolved into advertising practice today started formerly around 1928 with the establishment of a UAC subsidiary known as the West African Publicity, whose major activity was producing outdoor advertising for UK companies based in Nigeria. The business has since grown over the years to become a multibillion naira outfit (Tirmizi et al. , 2009). In 1957 all billboards on railway property was landed to MRS Freemont. Railways having set up an outdoor advertising department in 1956. In July 1958, Messrs J. W Mills, Chairman and Managing Director of Mills and Rockleys, a U. K based outdoor advertising company and Mr. G.

C Campbell of Franco Signs Limited visited Ibadan, Kaduna and Enugu with the writer for on-the-spot assessment of the of the country’s potentials. A year later Afromedia Nigeria limited was registered precisely on the 28th October, 1959. West Africa publicity which was the first outdoor changed its name to Lintas Nigeria limited with the new management staff in Afromedia limited Mr. D. M. Casey. Outdoor started in earnest and then the first 40 sheet was erected at the junction of Apapa road and denfor street with number LA 1 and a 16 sheet board was erected on the wall of 4 custom sheet corner of phoenix lane numbered LA2.

The Manager called M. D. Redman brought in Afromedia in about 1961. Proper documentation of all billboards giving such details as date of erection, landlord’s name, address of billboards, annual payable to landlord or local government council and campaign in 1963. Mr. Kelly of Afromedia commission media research, which result gave credence to the posters medium in Nigeria in terms of coverage during the same period.

Mr. Kelly spear-headed the development of outdoor industry by bringing clients that patronized outdoor intensively together to form an associate with the outdoors companies Afromedia and Railways with name as Outdoors Advertising Contractors of Nigeria (OACAN). However, during this period, there were other outdoors companies, like Railway Advertisement Service, Nigeria Advertising Service (NAS), Wilmer Publicity Gilbertson Advertising Limited, Nigeria Commercial and Industries Enterprise Publicity Associates of Nigeria limited. The first posters printing in Nigeria was done in 1962, by Afromedia.

The company was late sold to the Nigeria Management Staff in March, 1974 (BECAME INDIGENISED). During the period, new outdoors advertisement structures were introduced. Sheet unit in 1979, Jewel machine 1989, Timed in 1990, Rooftop in 1990, Directional Street Signs in 1990. UAC West Africa publicity limited set up in 1928, around 1959 it was splinted into two - Afromedia and Lintas. Outdoor Advertisement Contractor of Nigeria came into being in 1954 and the name was changed to Outdoor Adversting Association of Nigeria (OAAN) in 1986 to reflect both in outlook and practice.

Outdoors is the oldest advertising medium in Nigeria, though the print media was few years ahead of outdoors. Outdoor advertising however has witnessed its challenges over the years and in what looked like the major steps to address the problem facing the outdoor sub-sector of the advertising industry, stakeholders in the industry, including government, practitioners and advertisers have identify areas of conflict between practitioners and regulatory agencies.

Among other things, there is a reviewed that outdoor advertising practice and regulatory environment in the country and charted the way forward for a thriving and mutually rewarding outdoor advertising industry. Despite the challenges faced by the sector, there are over 165 outdoor firms still existing in the market, managing over 21,000 boards, pan-Nigeria (Latif and Abideen, 2011). The first act of billboard demolition took place during the Raji Rasaki military regime. This action marked the beginning of billboard extermination in the country. In 2006, there was massive demolition of billboards in Abuja.

The exercise was aimed at sanitising the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), but the resultant effect was the agony it caused some outdoor agencies, some even filed for bankruptcy. In 2007, Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency (LASAA) went on a crusade against billboards in the state (Saleem et al. , 2010). Today, out of home (outdoor) advertising has gone beyond rusty poles signage in Nigeria. The major turnaround featured segmented scrolling billboards, unipoles, ultra waves, crossway billboards (gantries) backlit, Hexa signs and the latest of them is the light emitting diodes LED screen billboards.

These evolutionary billboards designs are meant to make the outdoor advertising functions more effective, less stressful yet delivering value for money (Latif and Abideen, 2011). These latest electronically controlled billboards could be managed from the agencies office without any stress. Another advantage and a delight to clients is that it could also be monitored by the clients from their offices removing the hassle of going to spy on a billboards post for monitoring. Just like other digital innovations, this one also comes with accuracy, ease, speed and trend.

This new technology provides aerial beautification (Saleem et al. , 2010). Outdoor advertising has its challenges. Among these challenges are conflicting regulations and multiple taxation, huge debts and demolition of their billboards. In the face of all these, the practitioners are undaunted because outdoor advertising business is still booming in Nigeria. Issues in Outdoor Advertising in Nigeria Clients Indebtedness Regulatory Issues Technological Issue Clients Indebtedness.

Clients’ indebtedness remains one of the issues that has plagued the outdoor advertising industry in Nigeria, according to a report by Bernard Okhakume in the business column of the Nations newspaper on the 10th of February, 2013, “Consequent upon their (Outdoor Advertising Agents) debt burden, some of these service providers have closed shop. Over 70% of them today are so heavily indebted they cannot run their offices. At the close of business year 2012, some of them simply disengaged their staff and opted for one-man show pending when situation improves.

The situation tends to be as a result of the fact that clients can simply take their wares to other practitioners after being indebted to one agency. However a strong association between practitioners can help to reduce this, In India, the Indian Outdoor Advertising Association is so strong; it clearly states its membership is well over 78% of outdoor corporate service providers in the country. For a country almost the size of a continent, such achievement is highly commendable. Its size enables the association so much power to establish and enforce practice rules, code and ethics.

The members are sure to be protected against system abuse. It is not unlikely that clients do owe outdoor agencies in India, but for a scenario such as prevalent in our local market to play out there, is certainly not permissible (http://thenationonlineng. net/new/againoutdoor-advertising-clients-indebtedness/). Regulatory Issues Outdoor advertising regulation has a long-standing tradition of controversy (Charles R. Taylor and John c. Taylor, Journal of public policy& marketing (http://www. jstor. org/stable/30000175). The need to curb haphazard and chaotic outdoors practice in the country led to the emergence of Regulatory bodies.

However Practitioners have continued to complain over this “Strangulation” as some referred to it. APCON chairman, Mr. Lolu Akinwumi, at the 2012 edition of the annual advertising forum organised by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) under the theme, ‘Outdoor Advertising Regulation and Control in Nigeria’. said the out-of-home is a major component of advertising practice, which in recent years had suffered some decline, especially as a result of different regulatory regimes, resulting in high costs of operations for practitioners.

However, observers have noted that the regulation of outdoor agencies by the government is not a one sided coin, “The effort to check the indiscriminate deployment of outdoor posters, banners, signs and billboards across the state is finally paying off, for example a drive through Lagos state will see an array of safely and beautifully positioned Boards, it’s almost as if you are in a Western Country”, said Omoba Segun Adewale of Proview Advertising agency.

In Nigeria, following the establishment of The Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency as established by the Lagos State Structures for Signage and Advertisement Agency Law, 2006 and the Amendment thereto a body that is responsible for regulating and controlling outdoor advertising and signage displays in Lagos State (http://www. lasaa. com/who-we-are/#sthash. bTsdXaKf. dpuf). Several states are beginning to establish state regulatory agencies to help manage an industry that either to as been a “free for all affair”.

Technological Issue Practitioners in developed economies such as South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States of America (to mention a few), the challenging issues are not indebtedness and member business shut down due to clients’ indebtedness. Practitioners in those economies are now focused on innovative creativity. They are rather challenged by issues such as technological advancement in outdoor advertising practice, research and strategic planning and global innovativeness (not begging to be paid for job done three years back).

In Nigeria, aside from Lagos state that is always on its toes to keep up with modern technology in the field of outdoor advertising, practitioners are still battling with technology in Nigeria, some have attributed this to the cost of having technology especially when clients are not willing to pay the appropriate fee. Despite all the issues raised however, it is interesting to note that over 165 outdoor firms still existed in the market, managing over 21,000 boards, pan-Nigeria ( http://www. thisdaylive. com/articles/charting-the-future-of-outdoor-advertising/120264/).


Humans have been creating wall art since the time we lived in caves. What the wall art was used for, and at what point it crossed from artistic display to marketing for a business is an interesting question. During the time of the ancient Egyptians the government was using images carved into stones to post the laws and regulations of the land. This carving into stones may, in a way, have been the oldest form of outdoor advertising (Mick, 1986). The modern-day billboard advertising approach can trace its roots to lithography, which was an invention of the late 1790s.

The genius of this invention is that it made it possible to mass produce as many posters and announcements as a business needed. There was one major limitation to the outdoor billboards being produced at the time, and that was the quality of the posters; they did not stand up when exposed to the elements for prolonged periods of time. The circuses were one of the first businesses to profit from this new form of mass marketing, and so outdoor advertising underwent a major innovation which brought us the modern billboard advertising that we know today.

The earliest use of the billboard by the circuses dates back to 1835. Prior to the invention of lithography, billboard copy could only be produced on a very small scale which made it significantly less effective as a marketing tool than it is today (Koc, 2002). The true test of a new product is how well it holds up after being introduced to the market for the first time. Several prominent forms of advertising have come into the advertising world and created whole new marketplaces without rendering the traditional outdoor billboard obsolete.

It’s a true sign that traditional outdoor billboards are here to stay. Despite the rise of radio, television and internet advertising, the outdoor advertising industry remains stronger than ever. The modern-day billboard, like the outdoor advertising industry as a whole, are a testament to how simple, sturdy, and flexible marketing solutions can endure despite rapid innovation in marketing campaign strategies and emerging technologies (Bittlingmayer, 2008).


Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), established by Act No. 93 of 1992 is the regulatory body of all advertising practitioners. However, Outdoor Advertising Agency Association of Nigeria (OAAN) was the regulatory body responsible for regulating outdoor advertising in Nigeria before the various State government took over with Lagos state pioneering this move with the establishment of LASAA. The pre-LASAA era saw Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, OAAN, performing the dual roles of a regulator and a trade association.

The OAAN era attracted more criticisms than accolades because of the unstructured environment and the manner in which operators went about business. It was an era when every tom, dick and harry could set up an outdoor advertising agency without due registration and process. In 2006 Lagos state set the pace with LASAA and other States followed in this line of action and introduced their state agencies to regulate and control the business.

The states include Kano State, the state recruited the services of Chris Park Marketing Services (CPMS), Oyo State has the Oyo State Signage and Advertisement Agency (OYSAA), in Ogun State, the Ogun State Signage and Advertising Agency (OGSAA) is doing the job while in Ekiti State, the Ekiti State Signage and Advertisement Agency (EKSAA) is responsible for the job in Rivers State its Rivers State Signage Agency while The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, gave the responsibility to Afromedia, others are Cross river state sign board and signage agency (CRISSA), Kwara State Signage and Advertisement Agency (KWASAA), Anambra State Signage and Advertisement Agency (ANSAA), Bauchi State Signage and Advertisement Management Agency (BASSAMA), Kano State Signage and Advertisement Agency (KASAA), Ondo State Signage and Advertisement Agency (OSSAA) and Rivers State Signage Agency amongst others. While States like Anambra and Akwa Ibom states are on the verge of setting up and/or leasing the business to consultants.

Ogun State attempted to adopt LASAA’s style but could not due to political reasons. Ekiti State, the EKSAA never found its footing due to lack of political will.

The state government’s collaborative effort with LASAA collapsed because some stakeholders in Ekiti felt it was an imported idea. Oyo State is currently enjoying smooth services as OYSAA sanitisation exercise got little or no resistance. However, the Director General of OYSAA, Yinka Adepoju, has lamented operators and brand owners cooperation on the area of levy and dues remittance, which, he claimed, is not encouraging. Kano State took an extreme measure in its effort to enforce the new rules when CPMS in conjunction with the state’s Urban Planning & Development Authority pulled down over N300 million worth of billboards and hoardings. The regulation and control activities in the state became the most draconian.

The pricing of billboards in the state by CPMS is said to be outrageous despite the fact that Kano is not a commercially viable city for advertisers compared to the situation in Lagos State. While stakeholders have applaud the state government’s initiative to beautify and modernize the city, they have also decried the excessive rate and undue grandstanding of the concessionaire. Investigations showed that members of Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) are groaning over their inability to pay the new rate while advertisers are reluctant to accommodate new prices as budgets had already been planned before the new price regime in the state.

The FCT, Abuja, is the new entrant into the outdoor advertising business and the intent of the FCT Administration is clear. For it, it is all about revenue and it has concluded plans to raise the sum of N3 billion from outdoor advertisements annually to augment its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). The FCT Minister, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Muhammed, made this disclosure in Abuja during an interactive session with outdoor advertisement stakeholders, where it announced Afromedia as the concessionaire to the project. The Minister restated that the FCT Administration is working towards avoiding visual assault and pollution caused by random advertisements and signages on the streets and neighbourhood of the 8000 square kilometers of the Federal Capital Territory.

The state regulatory agencies often been referred as interventionist-agencies have the statutory obligations of regulating the practice of outdoor advertising in the country and are expected to enhance the beauty of the environment, which will serve as a big plus to aesthetics. The agencies have ensured that the stakes are higher now, promoting healthy competition and has tremendously repositioned the outdoor advertising industry. The stakes are higher now, unlike in the past, what we have now as billboards can compete favorably with others anywhere in the world. Besides, the environment is saner and cleaner, which serves as a major attraction to investors.

As good as it all seems to have been since 2006 for the state government regulators some new challenge continue to emerge and pose itself as a problem, it’s the issue of the Police, Military and other FG establishments in the state practicing outdoor by default by putting up illegal outdoor signage’s. The question out there is are there unwritten laws that permits these set of institutions to regulate and control the signage industry or is there a bill underway that will enable them to FASCINATING FACTS FROM THE EVOLUTION OF ADVERTISING INFORMATION ABOUT BILLBOARDS IN NIGERIA:

  1. Outdoor advertising is the oldest and most basic type of advertising.
  2. More people can view one particular billboard than AIT Television Station. The fact remains that the billboard must be located in a high traffic area.
  3. Billboards are viewed nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by billions of different people.
  4. OAAA did a study in 1999 that says people glance at 70% of the billboards they pass. Of these billboards, 63% are actually read. Most other types of media cannot compare to this and that is the fact. Reach Billboards in Lagos reaches 80% of all Lagos population.
  5. Television commercials (which ranks #1) reaches 85% of all Lagos population. Other type of Media.
  6. The average person must see a television commercial at least seven times before they actually remember viewing the commercial.
  7. Outdoor Advertising costs 80% less than television advertising, 60% less than newspaper ads, and 50% less than radio advertisements.
  8. Repetition is extremely helpful when you are trying to increase your product awareness, or when you simply want to get your message across to millions of people. This task can easily be accomplished with billboard campaigns.
  9. Outdoor advertising makes it extremely easy to target, or not to target, a specific market.
  10. Billboards are usually the final message we see right before we purchase an item. So why not direct everyone to your product? Driving Trends.
  11. People are spending more time in their vehicle than they do to read the paper and watch the news! For example, the traffic in Lagos, Nigeria makes it possible for you to spend about six (6) hours on the road to work and back.
  12. OAAA did a study in 1999 that says people glance at 70% of the billboards they pass. Of these billboards, 63% are actually read. · How do billboard rates compare to other types of advertising?
  13. Outdoor advertising has a lower cost per thousand (CPM) than any other type of advertising. Outdoor ads cost 80% less than television commercials, 60% less than newspaper ads, and 50% less than radio ads.
  14. Billboards have been rated higher than any other type of advertising for their ability to communicate ideas at the lowest possible prices.
  15. Outdoor advertising has a larger audience than any other type of advertising. Outdoor advertising is the only type of media that has constant exposure.No other type of advertising allows your message to be displayed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  16. Ads on billboards are free to consumers; you do not have to buy a magazine, cable television, or a newspaper to see your advertisement (http://victorariyibi. blogspot. com/2007_08_01_archive. html).

Other facts about advertising:

  • Advertising has existed as far back as 3000 BC!
  • 63% of consumers need to hear company claims 3-5 times before they actually believe it.
  • You’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click a banner ad.
  • The first newspaper ad was in 1650 to offer a reward for 12 stolen horses.
  • The first professional advertising agency was launched in 1841 in Philly.
  • Advertising first became an academic discipline in 1900 at Northwestern.
  • Unilever & JWT first partnered in 1902, creating the longest relationship in advertising history.
  • A baby formula brand was the first to sponsor a blimp (in 1902).
  • The first ad agency to launch a product was JWT on behalf of P&G in 1911, for their product Crisco.
  •  The first radio ad spot was offered in 1922: $100 for ten minutes
  •  In 1929, Lucky Strike spent $12.3M on ads, the most in history to that point to promote just one product.
  •  The first TV ad was for Bulova Clocks & reached 4000 TVs (http://blog. hubspot. com/the-history-of-advertising-war-for-consumer-attention-slideshare ).

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Evolution Of Outdoor Advertising In Nigeria. (2016, Jul 23). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/evolution-of-outdoor-advertising-in-nigeria/

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