A Trilogy of Advertising, Joesph Bel-Molokwu, 2017, pp. 472
By Neta Nwosu
Molokwu’s book was planned to cover every aspect of advertising, with a view to satisfying a spectrum of interests. It is, indeed, three books in one, covering what advertising is as a profession, how advertising is practised, and the growing area of advertising thought – something of great interest by the author. The book, which took years to actualise, is to the author a crowning opus of his decades of focus on the intellectual and sublime faces of advertising over the commercial.
It is specifically designed for the interests of scholar, students, managers, master advertising experts, brand owners, support service providers, young entrants, researchers, advertising historians and even amateur readers.
This intellectual bent was what stood the author out as the first Nigerian author of a book on advertising, and what spurred other Nigerian scholars into producing books on advertising. Several advertising books by Nigerians are now on the shelves, redirecting the industry towards following foundational education in the very essence of advertising, away from the original exclusively hands-on trend. The author light-heartedly calls this the heads-in approach.
With a foreword by eminent Fellow of advertising, Mr. Mac Ovbiagele, the book is in 33 chapters spread over three “books”, each of which treats the Profession, the Practice and the Philosophy of Advertising. The first book is written from the perspective of understanding advertising; the second from the perspective of working with advertising, while the third is from the perspective of seminal papers, didactic notes and generic issues. There are lists of suggested reading materials in appropriate locations in the book.
Book 1 consists of nine chapters in two parts, Book 2 has 15 chapters, and Book 3 nine chapters. More than 500 sub-issues are treated, ranging from rudiments of advertising to advanced concepts like strategy, computed planning, Integrated Brand Promotion and futuristic trending issues.
Also treated are the background and history of advertising, basic principles, regulations, international views, structures, techniques, development of agencies, Third Space Advertising, advertiser perspectives and insight, media and their importance and strategies, media independents, media monitoring, research, online and digital advertising, careers and professional development, creativity, technology in advertising, international advertising operations, national and social roles of advertising, as well as associated elements of integrated communication like public relations.
A Trilogy of Advertising pays rich attention to the practice situation in Nigeria, dwelling deservedly on APCON and its health-giving part in the great growth of advertising in Nigeria, in the process it highlights up moments of advertising as well as some beacons of this growth. More than 100 such persons and more than 70 institutions are mentioned – of course, a far cry from the number of key contributors to the consolidation of advertising in Nigeria. The book, in addition, casts memory to some immortal advertisements that stamped brands in the minds of the consumer.
The book also brings up two interrogative issues: Should there not be a generic name to describe practitioners of advertising, like other professionals, rather than the extant phrasal description? Should advertising not be based on a Quintupod rather than the extant Tripod, considering the unassailable importance of the Regulator and the Consumer in contemporary marketing communication? These questions are left for the industry to answer.
The work, the fourth by the author, is richly indexed, using the order-of-mention indexing style, which makes it easier for entries to be located in the book. A rich reference take-away is one of the appendices which provides an apparently endless list of advertising media outlet options, a gem for practitioners of experiential advertising.