It is no news that the hardest-hit media channel is the out-of-home (OOH) media as the OOH ad spending has felt a negative impact worldwide as a result of the pro-social distancing and isolation measures that have emerged across countries, including Nigeria, leading consumers actively avoiding large public places and gatherings, and have impacted advertisers’ willingness to advertise in those places as well due to low exposure.
Ripple effects of the pandemic
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, OOH, especially the digital OOH, had been enjoying an incredible run. However, the outdoor advertising venture came to a screeching halt as the lockdown in major cities including Lagos that accounts for over 55% of OOH ad spend. This trend no doubt is bound to affect the projected N47.2 billion billings by the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) for the year. As a result, advertisers are slashing or pulling budgets, canceling or reducing campaigns, diverting billions to other platforms and forcing media owners to review their media business models.
How are brands reacting?
A majority of brands have completely shut down or suspended outdoor advertising campaigns due to the growing uncertainty of when the pandemic will be over and everyone can go back to their regular lives, leading to the brands diverting resources to other platforms including online and TV platforms.
Notable advertisers that have suspended or pulled out of outdoor advertising include Coca-Cola which stated that the company would be halting all commercial OOH advertising of Coca-Cola and all its other brands in the country.
Goldberg Stay Strong campaign against coronavirus
While some are halting their campaigns, others are using the opportunity to identify with the consumers in the trying times of the pandemic such as the Goldberg OOH “Stay Strong” campaign on static billboards in strategic locations and malls; Airtel converted its digital OOH assets to push awareness of the disease in solidarity with their customers.
How are media owners reacting?
Nigerian outdoor media businesses are unarguable the most affected in the surge of the pandemic in the advertising mix. While almost all of the digital LEDs are shut down as a result of the high cost of maintenance, coupled with the cancellation of ongoing and planned outdoor campaigns by major brands, most of the static boards are either blank or currently have old materials of some brands captured by TMKG during routine monthly OOH audit in March 2020. This is an indication of reduced outdoor advertising.
However, despite the negative impact of the pandemic on their businesses, some of these media owners are keeping their brand visible by providing support for the COVID-19 cause through the use of their highly rated digital billboards to increase awareness of the disease and disseminate critical information around Nigeria in a bid to promote their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Following this trend, other OOH media owners are supporting small businesses badly impacted by the lockdown in Nigeria with free exposures on the agencies’ iconic billboard located in Lagos, in a bid to help in stimulating the growth of the small business.
Taking consumers outdoors
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is impacting and changing every part of the lives of an average consumer, from the places they cannot visit to the way they now spend their time, to their emerging priorities and the way they spend their money.
This trend has forced brands to be flexible and agile to adjust to the shift in media consumption and entertainment sources to communicate and engage with the consumer, giving the customer the opportunity to explore what they would normally experience outside their four walls of their homes.
We have now seen the effects of the coronavirus disease on different industries and marketing efforts, but how will advertisers and media owners adjust? With less revenue, businesses are cutting down on their advertising to save money or “survive the storm.” However, we feel this will be only a brief downtime and businesses will go back to advertising once the pandemic begins to decline.
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has not only left its mark in history, but it has also fundamentally shaken the advertising industry and how brands cook up their marketing mix to meet their target consumers where they are – the question is rather how much impact the ripple effects will have on the out-of-home industry even after the eventual end of the epidemic.
•Adenekan is assistant business development lead at TMKG Consulting.
How businesses, government can restrategise after COVID-19 –Amzat
The group managing director of Zedcrest, Adedayo Amzat, has advised organisations to rethink their business model and adopt technologies that would keep the green-light on – should another pandemic of COVID-19 scale ever happen again.
In an Instagram Live Chat with the editor of TechEconomy, Peter Oluka, on the theme “Implications of COVID-19 on Nigerian Economy: Way Forward for Businesses”, Amzat stated that the battle against COVID-19 is one that leaders today must win if we are to find an economically and socially viable path to the next normal.
According to him, “This is the worse than the worst case scenario that businesses plan for,” noting that the last time the world experienced a pandemic like this was 1918 (the Spanish flu).
“No company or individual could have foreseen and made adequate preparations to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies and businesses. Businesses are shutting down in their numbers because this crisis is unprecedented. In order to stay alive, businesses will require a shift from a brick and mortar mindset to exploring digital channels to reach their consumers. What we have now are opportunistic winners. Digital business are taking over brick and mortar businesses,” he said.
He stated that very few insurance packages have pandemics in their contracts, which unfortunately, means that many businesses will struggle after the pandemic.
The financial expert also urged government to restructure its finances and give more support to agriculture, mining and other sectors that can create jobs to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the Nigerian economy.
“Before now, government had been trying to move the economy from an export-driven economy to a consumption-driven one. There should be more local aggregate demand to drive the economy. Government has heavily invested in supporting the agricultural sector. With lessons that we have learnt during this COVID-19 crisis, it makes sense to deepen internal competences across different sectors.
“Agriculture has the capacity to employ a lot more people. Our first problem in Nigeria is unemployment, if we can develop our agriculture value chain, a lot more people will be employed. Almost 100 million Nigerians live in abject poverty, but remember, poverty isn’t just the lack of money, it is also lack of access to information that can lift you out of that poverty. Agriculture can increase aggregate demand and we can generate more tax revenues, which can make our GDP more liquid. We have a GDP of $360 billion, but we don’t make up to $20 billion in tax revenue. We can make our GDP more liquid by ensuring that people get to work,” he explained.
Amzat opined that government also needs to increase funding and encourage more research in the health sector.
“There was a video by Bill Gates that he did after the Ebola crisis, everything he said is happening right now. There is this theory that anything that can go bad will one day go bad. We have to have a plan for every possible situation. We need to create our health sector response and model it after the military. The military is funded even when there is no war, it’s like an insurance.”
NBC celebrates street sweepers, urges personal, environmental hygiene to halt COVID-19 spread
As the world marks the 2020 Earth Day amid efforts to halt the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Limited, has lauded the doggedness of environment frontline workers, including street sweepers and garbage collectors, for helping to keep the country clean.
Collective responsiveness to earth sustainability, of which environmental cleanliness is key, is also critical at this time that human, wildlife and the marine ecosystems are facing the adverse effects of poor behaviour towards the earth system.
The NBC, in a statement commemorating this year’s Earth Day, with the theme “Climate Action,” signed by director, public affairs and communications, Ekuma Eze, urged Nigerians to embrace the highest standards of personal hygiene and clean environment to curtail the spread of the virus and protect Planet Earth.
“These are trying times not only in Nigeria but across the globe, and the importance of personal hygiene cannot be over-stressed. We call on all and sundry to maintain personal hygiene to break the spread of the virus, and to increase positive behaviour towards the earth. Indeed, we commend the public health workers: street sweepers, garbage collectors and those keeping our environment friendly for us all to live,” he said.
Eze noted that, while lockdowns have seen pollution levels reduced and a more robust and thriving wildlife now evolving, Nigerians should shun activities that cause damage to the environment: “From Africa to Asia, Europe and North America, we’ve seen a significant reduction in pollution levels as a result of the lockdowns to curtail the coronavirus. But we don’t have to wait for lockdowns to do the right things concerning the earth.”
Mouka urges Muslims to uphold godly virtues as Ramadan commences
As Muslim faithful celebrate Ramadan, Mouka, the frontline company in the manufacturing of mattresses and beddings in Nigeria, has urged Islamic scholars, leaders and believers, to sustain the virtues of love, brotherhood, tolerance and care.
Ramadan, a period of fasting, prayer, reflection and communal co-existence, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which begins with the sighting of the crescent moon.
Commenting on the sacred period, which is in fulfilment of the fourth pillar of Islam, the CEO of the company, Raymond Murphy, said Muslims should see it as a time of peace and harmonious co-existence for a more united and prosperous nation.”
Murphy said, in this period of penitence and self-denial, Muslims should demonstrate what they preach for others to emulate and to be seen as epithets of uprightness.
The Mouka boss enjoined Muslims to use the fasting period to pray to Allah for the speedy containment of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has infected hundreds of persons and caused hundreds of fatalities, a situation that has led to lockdown of some states in the country.
“This is crucial at this time of the deadly disease for socio-economic advancement and we strongly advocates preventive measures on (COVID-19) pandemic for a more robust Ramadan period and to avert increase in infection as well as death cases,” he said.