By: Adebayo Aransiola



It will be as making effort to uproot a tree through the leave instead of digging round the base if history of advertising is discussed only from 1960 till date without discussing its origin. In the subsequent paragraphs the brief history of advertising will be discussed and furthermore its history in Nigeria from independence till date.




Advertising is as old as mankind. The desire to advertise seems to be the urge of every man. Men and women are born with the desire to let others know what they have to sell or give in order to obtain some personal gain. Therefore advertising is innate.  Advertising has been around for almost 2500 years. In Biblical history, we can safely say that the first advertising began when the serpent advertised the qualities of the forbidden fruit to Eve and she subsequently advertised the same fruit to her husband, Adam. It appears that advertising has been with man for many years, although the strategies of advertising as always been different from culture to culture. The earliest form of advertising in Nigeria could be said to be town crying. Other methods include signs and drawings on caves and mountains.


Nigeria’s advertising business has witnessed tremendous growth especially in recent times. Though the business is witnessing colossal growth, the industry, like most business sectors of the economy, had its humble beginning rooted in colonial history, advertising development could be traced to about 1928 with the birth of West African Publicity Limited. An off shoot of UAC, the company was set up to cater for the marketing activities of the colonial masters in both Nigeria and West Africa. This company was later to transform to a full fledged advertising firm in 1929 known as LINTAS – Lever International Advertising Services with two other subsidiaries newly Afromedia, the outdoor medium and Pearl/Dean, the cinema arm. With the setting up of the companies then headed by expatriates. By the later 1970’s however, two ambitious agencies, Rosabel Advertising and Insight Communication, sprang up.


In the early days of advertising practice in Nigeria, Advertising was uncoordinated and unregulated. Many advertisers worked very hard to put in place codes of conduct but the law did not back them up. They were merely voluntary and ineffective since there were no laws to back them. Some of these efforts included the establishment of Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria, AAPN and Advertising Council of Nigerian, ACON in 1977. These self-regulatory and voluntary associations could not achieve because the instruments of law did not empower them to regulate advertising at the time. Therefore advertising remained unorganized. The underdeveloped nature is clearly demonstrated because the majority of consumer products and services advertised in Nigeria were of foreign origin and mostly non-essential.  The products advertised often targeted the elites because the Nigerian masses could not afford them.  Financial advertisements were the most dominant products and services of Nigerian origin because they promoted more products and services that the average Nigerian could not afford.


Nevertheless, advertising soon become very international, since producers and companies try to sell their products on a globalized market in almost every corner of the world. It is therefore not surprising to see a big sign for Coca Cola in third world countries, such as Nigeria.  In the 19th century new technologies were developed and brand-new methods invented. As a result a surplus of production was formed. Warehouses of many factories were overflowing. In this way, it was necessary to create useful advertisements, which would cover all large spaces, utilizing a large variety of mass media sources.


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. These regions later set up their private stations pionered by the West, at Ibadan, prior to independence. In 1960 and 1962 respectively, Enugu and Kaduna followed suit. And with the creation of more regions by the General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) administration and creation of more states by both Alhaji Shehu Shagari and Ibrahim Babangida regimes, more state government-owned television and radio stations were established.
Daily Times, Express, Tribune, New Nigeria and Sketch were among the fore-runners in newspaper publishing. Some state governments also published newspapers that addressed their local audience. Two major magazines- Drum and Spear from Daily Times stable were also at the time published.


Between the early 1960’s and 1970, there was no spectacular development in the industry but the promulgation of Nigeria Enterprises as promotion Decree of 1972 popularly known as Indigenization policy came in a new phase in the industry. The policy transformed key positions in corporate organizations to indigenes. Mr. Silvester, Muoemeka was by the dictates of the policy to emerge the first indigenous chief executive of Lintas. Lintas further empowered more Nigerians to take up the business of advertising some of whom had to leave broadcasting to embrace the new thinking.


By the later 1970’s however, two ambitious agencies, Rosabel Advertising and Insight Communication, sprang up. The coming of the two agencies which till today are still doing very well, no doubt, was a watershed in the industry of advertising in Nigeria as the agencies brought new ideas into the industry while taking creativity to a higher. Before the turn of the decade, 23 agencies had been formed.
With the steady growth in the number of practitioners and agencies arose the need for associations to be formed to advance their common interests and a regulatory body to that would regulate and standardize advertising practice. A meeting of the agencies held at Ebute Meta, Lagos in 1973 was to metamorphose into Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria (AAPN) with the objective of protecting practitioners against unfavourable business. The Association was founded in 1973 as a sectoral body within the Nigerian marketing communications landscape and has become a force to be reckoned with both locally and internationally. Formerly known as Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria (AAPN), the Association formally changed its name from Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria (AAPN) to Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) on Saturday May 1st, 2004 at Lekki Peninsula Resort, Ajah, Lagos during its 31st AGM/Congress. AAAN is the umbrella body that coordinates and promotes the interest of Advertising Agencies in Nigeria.


AAPN is a self-regulatory body that was legally incorporated by advertising agencies in the country and stands for discipline, honest and responsible advertising.


The association was later renamed Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria. As the industry continued to grow in volume of business and complexity, more and more people were attracted to the industry. The need to establish an institution to regulate advertising practice became apparent. This gave rise to the establishment of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) by Decree 55 of 1988, later renamed Act 55 of 1988 by the civilian administration on 14th November 1989 at a meeting held at somewhere in Ebute Meta, and officially inaugurated by Prince Tony Momoh. The establishment of APCON made it the apex regulatory body for Advertising practice in Nigeria to regulate the activities of advertising agencies.


Decree 55 of 1988 empowered APCON to regulate and control advertising in all its ramifications. The Council is charged with responsibilities of determining who are advertising practitioners, determining what standards of knowledge and skills such persons needed to attain to become registered as a practitioner and reviewing such standards from time to time, securing the establishment and maintenance of a register of persons entitled to practice as advertising practitioners and the publication from time to time of a list of such persons. APCON was also empowered to conduct examinations in the profession and to award certificates or Diplomas to successful candidates and prescribing fee to be paid in respect of such.


The APCON decree goes on to define the membership of the council, its powers, its financial positions and relationship with the government It makes ample provision for discipline and defines the rights and privileges of registered person as well as codes of conduct for the practice of advertising in Nigeria. However, the decree was amended in the Decree number 92 of 1992, which in turn was amended by the Advertising Practitioners Council Decree number 116 of 1993. At the moment, APCON regulates the advertising industry through sectional associations, which are recognized by the council. These sectional associations have played major roles in the development of advertising in Nigeria over the years.


To ensure continuous improvement in creative standards, AAAN setup an annual creative awards, festival Lagos Advertising and Ideas Award (LAIF). A brainchild of the immediate past executive led by DDB Lagos Managing Director and Chief Executive, Mr Enyi Odigbo, the festival sets out to encourage the members of the association to continue to develop their creative ideas and improve creative standards in order to retain clients confidence. The second edition of the festival comes up on October, 2007. Aside local advertising festival, stakeholders are venturing outside the shores of the land to participate in international advertising festivals. Last year and this year, a number of Nigerian agencies participated in the annual Cannes Lions Advertising Festival holding in Cannes, Frances. Though they are unable to win awards, there is no gainsaying that they have gained a lot of knowledge through exposure to award winning creative and through networking.


APCON then regulatory body for the practice of advertising in Nigeria started operation in 1990 with the employment of the pioneer registrar in the person of Dr Charles Okigbo. The era of economic restructuring and liberalization opened up the Nigerian business to global economy. Foreign investments started flowing into the economy the expatriates who once left the shores of the land due to the indigenization policy gradually returned. And with them, the boom in economy. Aside, privatization of mass communication medium in the 1990’s also witnessed the setting up of private owned media houses which are platforms for advertisement placements.


But in the 1990’s the sector came alive. Not only that alarming and ambitions agencies such as Prima Garnet, Sotu and Casesrs sprang up, the sector 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.”


In October 1992, National Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria and was established to serve as the umbrella association for all Corporate organisations that engage in major advertising in Nigeria and it was renamed Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria (ADVAN). It aims to bring together advertisers and clients within the Nigerian business community with a view to forming one united fronts in dealing with other interests in the sector. ADVAN has an executive council as well as a secretariat and it is recognized by APCON.


This association provides an organised forum for advertisers to express their views and influence developmental changes in Nigerian marketing communications scene. Till the establishment of ADVAN in 1992, Nigerian Advertisers had negligible input with regards to issues affecting the marketing industry. Decisions on rate increase and other crucial concerns were concluded without thought to the interest of the advertiser who actually ‘pays the piper’. Whereas the interests of the other sectors in the industry’s value chain were well represented by their respective associations.


The objectives of ADVAN are; to provide forum for advertisers to discuss issues of common interest and influence developmental changes within the industry, to initiate and encourage the compilation of reliable statistics to aid effective marketing planning and value realization, and to create value based relationships with government, relevant associations, and Stakeholders.


The Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN is a union of owners of newspapers, magazine and other related publications in Nigeria. The association seeks to promote the interest of the newspapers industry in Nigeria. The association makes rules that affects its members in the area of commission on adverts placements by advertising agencies and also perform other functions such as the establishment of rules and regulations by which advertisers may deal with their members and the settlement of accounts by advertising agencies in Nigeria. NPAN has organized management structure and a functional secretariat.


The Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria, BON was created as part of efforts aimed at regulating broadcasting in Nigeria. Efforts made at forming the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) dates back to 1973. By then, there was a need for an organization under which broadcasting media in Nigeria would interact with one another. Apart from serving as an organ through which television and radio organizations would speak with one voice, such organization would be used as a rallying point for coverage of major, national and international events. In particular, there was the need for effective co-ordination of broadcast media for the 1973 “All African Games” held in Nigeria. The World Festival of Black African Arts and Culture (FESTAC) also provided the platform through which BON was revived and given a new lease of life in 1977.  After FESTAC ’77, the fledgling organization went into hibernation for about seven years. Unlike earlier seeds which germinated and withered away, the real seed that has grown into what is today known as BON, was planted by Prince Tony Momoh, the then Minister of Information in 1987. While addressing a workshop on the role of broadcasting in the transition to the aborted Third Republic in Abuja, Prince Tony Momoh threw a challenge to broadcasters to resuscitate BON. A six-man committee was mandated to resuscitate the ailing BON; the new BON was then born on 11th August 1988 in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.


Prior to the resuscitation of BON, There were some broadcasting media groups such as:  Chief Executives of Federal and State Owned Radio Organizations
- Television Organizations of Nigeria (TON)
- State Owned Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (SOBON)


The objectives of the New BON as at today are as follows: To serve as a meeting point for all Radio and Television Stations including cable and satellite operations in Nigeria, to serve as an advisory body to the Federal and State Governments on broadcasting matters and to encourage and sustain greater co-operation and collaboration among the broadcasting organizations, to seek and utilize available resources for manpower training, research and development, and set training standards, to set, regulate and monitor professional standards and ethics of its members. The Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, OAAN is the official body of various outdoor advertising companies operating in Nigeria. The organization reserves the right to oversee all corporate entitles that involved in the practice of outdoor advertising in Nigeria, such corporate entities must be fully register to do business in Nigeria.


Historically, Afromedia Nigeria Limited, which was registered precisely on the 28th October 1959, was one of the earliest outdoor agencies. It later changed its name to LINTAS Nigeria limited. Outdoor started in earnest. In 1963, Mr. Kelly of Afromedia spearheaded the development of outdoor industry by bringing clients that patronized outdoor intensively together to form an association with the outdoors companies Afro-media and Railways with the name, 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. While Outdoor Advertisement Contractor of Nigeria came into being in 1954, the name was changed to Outdoor Adverting Association of Nigeria (OAAN) in 1986 to reflect both in outlook and practice the practice of advertising in Nigeria. . Outdoors is the oldest advertising medium in Nigeria, though the print media was few years ahead of outdoors. The Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency, LASAA is another of the latest advertising institutions in Nigeria. LASAA is one of the state agencies tasked with beautifying the state, the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA), is responsible for sanitizing the outdoor environment and making sure that hoardings and signage do not clutter the Lagos state environment.


Away from creative awards 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. Chairman of APCON, Mr. Chris Dogwudje has said one of his cardinal objectives is to fight quackery in the industry. One major step taken towards achieving this objective was the recent notice to all agencies to settle the arrears of their practice fees by the end of last month. The council will any moment from now publish list of registered practitioners. In recognition of the role APCON plays in the industry other sectional associations sought for seats and today all stakeholders including 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), the stakeholders are working together to ensure that the standard of practice in the country compares with global practice. In addition, the bodies are collaborating to ensure peaceful coexistence among them.




Advertising has a variety of economic effects, with economists citing positive and negative effects from the practice. Consumer information which is one of advertisings primary economic effects lies in the way business uses it to convey information to consumers. The Economics Web Institute points out that advertising relies on information and persuasion techniques to influence the consumer behaviour.


Reading through the previous paragraphs under the history of advertising, it can be seen that advertising has effect on Nigeria economy as advertising agencies, such as Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), and Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) were established in order to monitor business activities in Nigeria and this has brought about increase in sales of Products (goods, services, and ideas) produced or developed by companies.


Also, Advertising plays a strong role in the economy because it provides useful information to consumers that tells them about product choices as well as comparing features, benefits and prices. With more complete information, consumers and businesses often choose to purchase additional products which causes an economic chain reaction that generates a net gain in direct sales and jobs due to the promotion of the industries products, generates indirect sales and jobs among the first level suppliers to the industries that incur the advertising expenditures, and generates indirect sales and jobs among all other levels of economic activity as the sales ripple throughout the economy.


Advertising also plays a significant role in the business cycle. As the broader economy shifts between periods of growth and recession, advertising shifts its focus. During downturns, advertising may focus on the price of a product or service. If one company curtails advertising in order to cut costs during a downturn, another company might boost advertising spending to grab customers and grow its market share. Advertising helps stimulate economic growth. In a country in which consumer spending determines the future of the economy, advertising motivates people to spend more. By encouraging more buying, advertising promotes both job growth and productivity growth both to help meet increase demand and to enable each consumer to have more to spend. Companies spend money on advertising because it increases sales of existing products, helps grow adoption of new products, builds brand loyalty, and takes sales away from competitors.


By providing information, advertising reduces consumers’ search costs (time spent looking for products) and reduces disutility (unhappiness or lost value) from picking the wrong products. Advertising provides information such as: Describing new products and what they do to alert consumers to product availability and purchase locations; Showing consumers what to look for on store shelves Helping them differentiate among competitive choices; Advising them of pricing information and promotional opportunities Ultimately, advertising also saves consumers money by encouraging competition that exerts downward pricing pressures. Advertising is a major industry. It contributes to the economy directly (via the jobs it creates to produce advertising messages) but also indirectly as it stimulates demand and provides information about other products.


The Effects of Advertising on economics advertising confronts consumers on a daily basis. At any given time, individuals and households encounter print, broadcast and Internet advertising touting everything from beverages and fast food chains to prescription drugs and automobiles. Businesses spend billions each year to promote their goods and services to consumers.



In recent years, according to the Vanguard Newspaper published on May 22, 2013 on its web page, it was noted that


The Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), has said that the advertising industry contributes over $2 billion (over N300 billion) to Nigeria’s economy as it rolls out red carpets in celebration of the Association’s 40 years anniversary. The president of AAAN, Bunmi Oke, said while announcing the association’s achievements in the last 40 years that the industry’s contribution to the economy is more in intangible assets. According to Oke, members of the association has built and championed great brands, stating with confidence that multinationals still strongly rely on Nigerian agencies most of whom are of international standard for brand building. “All key brands are in Nigeria and it is the advertising industry that has been growing them. An economy is as vibrant as the products and the products are as dynamic as the advertising industry”, she said Speaking on advertising reform, she said the association will continue to support the growth of the industry, promising to continue to work with government to deliver government policies to the extent that every Nigerian will understand them. Promising that the association would continue to operate open door policy to dialogue with all sectoral groups in arriving at mutual understanding of industry issues, Oke regretted that some advertisers have reneged on the payment of pitch fees. She promised that the industry would continue to create awareness on the need for the advertisers to pay pitching fees. Expatiating on the AAAN milestones, Shola Adegborioye, Executive Director of Creativexone and executive member of AAAN, said the industry has grown to professionalism.




It can be therefore deduced from the above paragraphs that advertising affected and affects Nigeria economy both negatively, that is, by promoting sales and negatively, that is, by creating unhealthy rivalry between industries, organizations and companies since its operation in Nigeria till date.


Advertising has therefore sent some organizations out of production while some organization through advertising gain patronage of customers and make more profit. Such organizations also owe the responsibility to produce in large quantity for the sake of consumption by the consumers.




http://adage.com/article/adage-encyclopedia/lintas-worldwide-lowe-lintas-partners-worldwide/98751/ Retrieved April 21, 2017


http://www.allafrica.com/stories/201306101286.html Retrieved April 21, 2017


http://www.economicswebinstitute.org/institute.htm Retrieved April 21, 2017


https://afribary.com/read/4250/advertising-development-from-in-nigeria-from-1960-date-6005 Retrieved April 18, 2017


https://freelartdesigns.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/nigeria50-the-story-of-advertising/ Retrieved April 16, 2017


https://www.scribd.com/document/63644386/Advertising-is-a-Form-of-Communication-Used-to-Persuade-an-Audience Retrieved April 17, 2017


KASIE ABONE, (2007): “Nigeria: 47 Years of Growth in Advertising Industry” Sourced from Daily Champion Monday, December 10, 2007. http://nigerianbrands.blogspot.com.ng/2007/12/nigeria-47-years-of-growth-in.html Retrieved April 18, 2017


Vanguard, (2013): “Advertising contributes over N300bn to economy” http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/05/advertising-contributes-over-n300bn-to-economy/ Retrieved on April 18, 2017.


Yemi Olakitan, (2012): http://yemiolakitans.blogspot.com.ng/2012/04/evolutions-of-advertising-institutions.html Retrieved April 17, 2017



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