Advertising in someopinions dates back tothe origin ofAdam, Eve and theSerpent in the Bible(see, for instanceOkigbo 1985:10 andKlepper 1985:6).
Some others statethat advertising started inancient Babylon at about3000 BC Wright (1983:4)when inscriptions for anointment dealer, ascribe and a shoe makerwere made on claytablets.
Sandage andFryburger (1963: IV)argue that Egyptiansfirst wrote runaway –slave announcementson papyrus at about3200 BC.
In Nigeria in particularand Africa in general,Town Crying andHawking wereearliest forms ofadvertising.
The earliest form ofadvertising datesback to London whena prayer book wasannounced for sale in1477. The firstnewspaper advertisingappeared in the BostonNewsletter in 1704.
• The print media came into Nigeria in 1859 with the appearance of a Yoruba language newspaper, iwe Iroyin published by Reverend Henry Townsend at Abeokuta. The publication carried an advert in the form of an announcement for the Anglican Church.
Advertising has been defined as “a powerfulcommunication force and a vital marketing tool helping tosell goods and services, image and ideas…”(Wright1983:8).Advertising may also be seen as “a group of activitiesaiming at and including dissemination of information in anypaid product or service to compel action in accordancewith the intent of an identifiable sponsor.”(Doghudje 1985:8)
In Nigeria…• The advent of Advertising agencies like West African Publicity now known as Lowe Lintas, OBM, Grants, Admark which were established during the colonial days and were run by expatriates brought about a structure in the industry.• After Nigeria’s independence in 1960, there was a break in the monopoly, which the foreign based agencies enjoyed with the advent of two indigenous advertising firms Insight Communications and Rosabel, which formed the bedrock of the clientele of Advertising agencies.• Agencies such as Prima Garnet, Casesers and SO&U sprung up in the 90’s and changed the face of advertising due to their creative vibrancy. Sectoral groups such as Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN) Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) emerged at this time also to protect the interest of the different stakeholders as advertising became an all commerce affair.
• As a result of this mad rush of individuals to join the bandwagon of advertising practitioners and the challenges that the regulatory body Advertising Practitioners’ Council of Nigeria (APCON) have to face to maintain standards, there is a need to critically analyze Advertising in the Nigerian media.
What is SemiologyIs simply the study of signs and the sign process. It is divided into three branches and they are;
Political-It was a decade of military rule-There was no freedom of press due to military ruleInfrastructure-There was a shortage of Nitel phones so people had to movearound more often to visit friends and loved ones unannounced.Entertainment-The kind of music listened to back then where the likes of Chris Okotie,Onyeaka Owenu, Sunny Okosun, Alex O, Dizzy K. Falola & Mike Okri. Soapoperas like the village headmaster, new masquerade, cock crow at dawn,koko close, house number 13Fashion-Suits with shoulder pads, bubus made out of Ankara, Iro and buba.Washing and setting, jerry curls e.t.c.Value System-A great regard for family, good food, Communal and Conservative
• Adverts of this era focused majorly on icons that projected the product or service.• Some of the adverts borrowed from the existing lifestyle of Nigerians at that time. e.g Social Life, Fashion, friendship.• The language was simple, unexaggerated and was limited in its use of figurative expressions.• There was hardly any contrast between the copy and the visual representation-what in advertising terms we call “Say shoe, show shoe”.• Advertising in the Nigerian media in the 80’s reflects to a large extent the technological limitations and modernization of this time.
Political-A failed transition to civilian rule-Continuation of Military rule-An Interim Civilian Government- Another Military ruleInfrastructure-The internet (1995)-Influx of desktop computers-America took over Britain as Nigeria’s biggest customersEntertainment-The kind of music listened to back then where the likesof Blackky, Plantation Boiz Danny Wilson, Junior & Pretty, Remedies and westernMusic NOLLYWOODFashion-Coloured Blazers, Shoulder padded dresses and topsValue System-A great regard for family and aspirations for a good life
• The influx of technological devices like the desk top computers and the internet brought advertising to life due to the vibrancy that colours and concepts which reflected people’s way of life persuaded consumers to buy products and services available at that time.• It was also a period where quite a number of indigenous businesses sprung up majorly in the financial sector and fast moving consumer goods category.• The visuals projected family, friendship, celebration, patriotism and so much more. With food and beverages, the products were displayed in a very alluring manner through the use of models that consumers aspire to be like and their interaction with the brands in question.• There was a lot of figurative expressions e.g Alliterations “Peak of the Pack” Personification “Strength” in the guiness, Simile “Guinness is good for you”• Advertising in the 90’s marked the beginning of intellectual and conceptual development in the use of media in advertising. This could be attributed to the number of professional advertising agencies that sprung up in this era and the internet.
Political-Successful transition to democratic rule-Freedom of expression-Nigeria turned 50-Transition from one democratic dispensation to another reflected stability andencouraged investments.Infrastructure-More sophisticated computer devices-Mobile PhonesEntertainment-Nollywood gone international, Nigerian Music gone international,Sophisticated music videos were being produced, DSTVFashion-Fusion of African Prints and Western Styles. Human Hair Weavons, Tailor-madesuitsValue System-Speed, Great & Ambitious Aspirations, Luxury, Living the good life at all cost.
• One prominent feature in Advertising on Nigeria Print media in the 21st century is the use of copy and visual hyperbole.• Advancement in technology, has enhanced colour and production quality that makes for an exciting print commercial.• There is a conscious effort to stir up the emotions of consumers as opposed to just telling them the rational benefit of the product or service.• Brands are associated with colours, a layout style and a visual persona that reflects the image perception they wish to convey.• The use of brand ambassadors.
SummaryAdvertising is a marketing tool that creates awareness about productsand services enough to compel people to purchase them.Whilst advertising of the 80s and 90s were quite conservative andrational, advertising in the 21st century has been more excitingbecause print houses also stepped up the game of their qualityoffering, therefore creating a formidable platform for creativeadvertising to be showcased.However, the downside to this is because of the exaggerated style ofadvertising in this era, brands tend to overpromise and under deliver.There are standard organizations in place like APCON and ADVAN. Tosome extent they do a good job of managing the content allowed toreach the consumers. However because they are highly monetized,they compromise standards and allow things to slide.
Effect on Society• Compulsive buying• Young people who do not possess the purchasing power begin to crave for things they don’t necessarily need.• Perception that every brand is a reflection of your personality, status or class.• It has the power to alter the value system of a people.
CONCLUSIONThe effects advertising has on society cannot be changedAs long as we keep selling goods and services and expectpeople to buy. However they can be managed.Until corruption in the nation of Nigeria is curbed standardorganizations to a large extent will be compromised.However, practitioners must be the first gatekeepers of what theyallow the society consume all in the name of Advertising. MediaHouses as well should also be gatekeepers of what they allowagencies or marketers place on their media.
Reference• Klepper, O. (1985) “Advertising and Development in Nigeria”, The Public Communication Systems. London: Allen and Unwin• Rodenrick, W. (1980) Advertising: What it is and How to do it. Surrey: Routledge• Sandage, C. and Fryburger, V. (1963) Advertising: Theory and Practice. Homewood• http://introductiontomasscommunication2.blogspot.com/2010/05/history-o• http://freelartdesigns.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/nigeria50-the-story-of-adv• http://www.allbusiness.com/marketing/advertising-print-advertising/2590-1.