Advertising Practice As Brand Communication Archery In The Age Of A Rebellious Audience - EDU-BIZNEWS


Saturday, May 4, 2024

Advertising Practice As Brand Communication Archery In The Age Of A Rebellious Audience

Kolade Ajilore, Professor of Marketing Communications and Head of Dept of Mass Communication, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State delivered the institution’s 48th Inaugural lecture on Thursday, May 2nd, 2024. 

Edu-Biznews brings to you the full Inaugural lecture for your delight.

By Kolade AjiloreBSc (UNILAG), MILD (UNILAG), MSc (UNILAG), PhD (BU)Professor of Marketing Communication 

Preamble Sometime in the first quarter of 2005, I found myself entangled in a grueling and rather thorny debate. The setting was an ‘MCOM 468: Economic and Social Issues in Public Relations and Advertising’ class and my debaters were my 400 level (final year) students. Pursuant to one of the learning outcomes of the course as encapsulated in the course outline, I had attempted to explain to my attentive audience one of the fundamentals and unconquerable social principles of advertising, which is respect for and deference to the ethos and precepts of the advertising target audience. This principle is as old as, and probably predated, advertising itself. Advertising breathes and thrives on this conventional code; to negate this precept is to alienate the target audience and consequently endanger the advertised brand, I had further asserted. To exemplify my point, I had gleefully cited the “MTN mama na boy” controversial television commercial. For a flashback, MTN, a frontline telecommunication service provider in Nigeria, had in 2003 launched one in the series of its advertising campaigns, themed “mama na boy”. Obviously designed to bolster its marketing programme that was steadily gaining national penetration and foothold, the 45-second television commercial opens with a long shot of an early middle-aged man nervously pacing the foreground of a maternity ward. To the accompaniment of the whimpering of a baby, camera cuts to reveal the man being approached by a midwife. The camera closes in on the apparently overjoyed man putting a call through to either his mother or mother-in-law and proclaiming the punchline, “mama, na boy!” The camera closes in first on the mother at the other end of the call triumphantly echoing the revealed gender of the baby and then cuts to a long shot of the mother breaking into an infectious jubilation with a folksong, which was chorused by other community members who joined her in a celebratory dance. This seemingly innocuous advertisement, as some of us can recall, triggered an avalanche of caustic attack from a section of Nigerians. This vociferous protest that was led and coordinated by feminist groups, had alleged that MTN was unwittingly undermining, through this stereotypical glorification of the male child, the modest progress that had been recorded in the area of gender equity advocacy in Nigeria. The protesters had argued that the privileged hierarchy of power that had culturally favored men and marginalized women would be difficult to correct if the misconception and cultural preference of the male child is perpetuated while the dignity of the oppressed group is not admirably projected. They went further to insinuate that the advertisement could potentially rekindle the moribund rivalry between wives and mothers-in-law over failures to produce a male child. Through this singular act of implied disdain for the girl child and women in general, MTN, they asserted, had firmly secured its place in the disreputable black book of feminists in Nigeria. So strident and exigent were these attacks that the advertiser, MTN, eventually withdrew the advertisement and replaced it with a gender neutral and possibly less objective-centered version. Indeed, the Nigerian audience had staged a successful rebellion. To explain how implausible the uprising against MTN was, I, as an advertising defender and teacher, went on to acknowledge the fact that ours was a patriarchal culture that privileged a male child.  Advertising, via the instrumentality of advertisements, cannot but mirror this patriarchy. Asking it to do otherwise was not only tantamount to inciting it against, but also priming it to challenge the very community it was configured to relate with and persuade.  Rehashing some of the arguments that were articulated during the MTN imbroglio, the students spontaneously pushed back. The last of them that I dared recognized to make her contribution put the class position tellingly when she observed that historical and cultural imbalances in the distribution of power and privileges had over the years hampered the quest for real development in all facets of our society. She also noted that “big business” had perpetuated this culture of oppression and   marginalization of the under-resourced just to maximize profit. To her, the role of the mass media and its appendage in this mix was not only despicable but also represented a betrayal of public trust.  As the custodian of public right of eternal vigilance, the much-vaunted power of the mass media to liberate people from the shackles of invisibility and backwardness as well as empower the oppressed had been regrettably abandoned. She concluded that these Nigerian advertisers, under the guise of mirroring social realities, were not only commercially exploiting this social injustice for pecuniary gain but also legitimizing and deepening it. It was at this point that I sensed that l might be incubating a rebellion of my own. At this juncture I decided to declare a stalemate and call a truce. This experience left me intellectually bruised, emotionally drained and somehow humbled. I ended the class with mixed feelings. On one hand l was immensely intrigued by and proud of the depth of critical thinking capacity exhibited by my undergraduates and of how highly opinionated they had turned out; on the other hand, I felt affronted by their brazen and contemptuous understanding of advertising. Here was l trying to perfect their initiation into one of the most lucrative and colourful professions on earth. And what did I get in return? Resistance from these advertising rubes. These were students whom I was trying to initiate into advertising performance and practice but here they were passionately attacking what they were supposed to embrace. As a young lecturer, I felt my authority undermined by neophytes who were supposed to listen with submission and internalize my argument. Quizzically, I engaged myself. Why are economic influences of advertising less contentious than its social effects? Why is the audience suddenly talking back and raising its voice? Is contemporary advertising model of practice trailing social change or is there an emerging counter-culture that is being defiantly disregarded by advertisers? I left the class rethinking all that my years of experience in advertising practice and teaching had taught me.  I decided to rekindle the intellectual gladiatorial show on a platform where I could not be easily challenged and this manifested in my first scholarly article titled “Advertising: Not Guilty as Charged” (Ajilore, 2006). It might be useful at this point to also concede that some years later, Ajilore and Oyelade (2009) found empirical evidence corroborating the incrimination of advertising in the alleged efforts to undermine the crusade of feminist groups for the equitable treatment of women in the Nigerian society. It is instructive to acknowledge that uprisings targeted against advertising has not subsided; rather, they have grown in frequency and intensity. For instance, in 2022 the Easter greetings’ advertisement of Sterling Bank drew the outrage of the Nigerian Christian community. The sponsor had blatantly misrepresented the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ through its advertisement copy that read “like Agege Bread, He rose. Happy Easter”. The advertisement provoked such a groundswell of discontent and indignation among Christians that the sponsor had to immediately withdraw the beleaguered advertisement with an apology. About the same time in 2023, and for the same purpose, Peak Milk also caught the fury of the Nigerian Christian community for depicting the photograph of a can of Peak Milk punctured in two points with milk dripping and then a tagline reading “bruised and pierced for us”. This perceived sacrilege was vehemently protested by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) which threatened to mobilize a backlash of boycott against Friesland the manufacturers of Peak Milk. For this, Friesland had to apologize and withdraw the advertisement from circulation. In its 2024 Easter online advertising message to the Nigerian public, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) had rekindled the fury of the Nigerian Christian community by claiming that “Jesus paid your debt, not your taxes”. Although the offensive message was spontaneously tackled by the Christian Association of Nigeria and its unintended interpretations regretted by the FIRS, the incident again foregrounds the yawning gulf between the two key participants in the advertising process: the advertiser and the audience. I must however be quick to say that all advertising actors manifest and are incriminated in this growing dissonance.      Advertising: Queen of The Promotion GardenAdvertising is one of the elements, perhaps the most conspicuous element, of marketing communication. Although its place and weight in the promotion campaign is always determined by factors such as the nature of the product, the orientation of the marketing challenge, the character of the competitive environment as well as the communication needs of the product decision makers, advertising visibility as a marketing force is legendary. Advertising is not only pervasive but also designed to be inescapable. It dots our streets in the form of billboards and shelter advertising, beckoning for attention as we meander through traffic, either as pedestrians or commuters, to our homes and offices. It ambushes us as we passively engage news and drama on our favourite television and radio stations. It lurks around the pages of the newspapers, magazines, and some books we read. Yet it jumps rather irritatingly at us as we browse through the digital space. Advertising we must modestly concur, has evolved over the years as one of the prominent elements of modern global culture. As a social artifact, its ubiquity is only rivalled by that of the mass media that it primarily relies on. The controversy and debate that it stokes, inevitably seems to be a natural consequence of its workings. As an instrument of advertising, advertisements placed in different platforms are the ultimate outcome of a managerial process. Much like an iceberg, advertisements are the ultimate manifestations of behind-the-scene intellectual contributions of a confluence of experts in research, marketing, advertising, psychology, sociology, anthropology, visual and graphic art, linguistics, photography, and economics. Every element in a typical advertisement is consciously chosen and purposefully included. There is no room for redundancy as spatial and temporal limitations of the mass media makes redundancy an unaffordable luxury. At the very best, an advertisement is limited to 60 seconds in the broadcast media or centerspread in the print media advertisements. Aside mechanical limitations, pushing these boundaries could risk totally losing the audience that is well known for its impatience.  Every nanosecond of broadcast commercial, just as every ounce of a print advertisement, counts both in money and expected marketing rewards. Little wonder the cost of producing some notable less than sixty seconds commercials have dwarfed the production budget of some blockbuster movies. To appreciate the quintessential place of advertising in modern marketing campaign, we may need to put certain things in perspective. As an offshoot of marketing, advertising constitute an indispensable and primary communication function for many marketers. In utter recognition of the modern marketing philosophy of value-added consumer experience, product formulation, pricing decisions and   distribution plan of action are usually synchronized with the communication component to deliver value-added consumption experience. Other promotional elements such as public relations, personal selling, sales promotion, packaging, sponsorship, and exhibition require advertising to subsist and could become ineffectual if denied advertising support.  For example, a public relations campaign might immensely benefit from advertising complimentary efforts to maximize the philanthropic investments of the company. In like manner advertising might be needed to oil the path of personal salesmen and women by preselling the brand. Of what marketing relevance, we might ask, will a sales promotion programme or a colorful package that is denied advertising support be to both the marketer and the market? And how will the planned beneficiaries of event marketing or exhibition take full advantage of these marketing interventions if they were both estranged from the visibility that advertising would have conferred on them? The place and importance of advertising in most marketing communication mix is indeed incontrovertible. The ability to deliver a standardized message with guaranteed fidelity to the preselected duplicated audience appears to be the allure of advertising.  Determining the appropriate promotion mix and the possible place of advertising in the equation usually come down to the following questions: what is the product all about? What are the marketing objectives? What budget is available for the communication campaign? Who exactly do we want to communicate with? What is the nature of competitive activities? What do regulations say about using communication for the product category?  The answer to these questions will provide the first critical step in formulating advertising response to marketing challenge. Mr. Vice Chancellor Sir, permit me at this point to pause and reflect on the constitution of advertising as a tribute to this ageless cornerstone of our thriving media. Admittedly, there are innumerable definitions of advertising, but l will recall a definition that I came across some decades ago and that like a true first love, has smitten me and guarded my understanding as well as appreciation of the concept of advertising. This definitional perspective, posited by Michael Shultz, was introduced to me by my advertising lecturer, Dr Yomi Daramola. Michael Shultz defines advertising as “a deliberate process of disseminating informative and persuasive message through paid, nonpersonal media by an identified sponsor to a target but anonymous audience.” I was initially bewildered by the definition, and it took me some mental immersion to become acquainted with its content and value. Eventually, I memorized it as a student and adopted it as an advertising teacher, if for no other reason but its elastic conceptualization of advertising despite the transmutation that technology and managerial approaches have foisted on how it is practiced. The definition describes advertising as a process, meaning that it is neither eventful nor episodic in its approach. It dispenses messages that are either informative or persuasive in their intent and impact. While some critics have described this dichotomy as hairsplitting, an insightful probe shows that informative messages are more preoccupied with enriching the recipients’ knowledge while persuasive advertising messages attempt to convert the receivers from one line of attitude or behavior to an alternative one. The point at which a message ceases from being informative to being persuasive remains a realm yet to be conquered by scientific research. A stratum of the definition states that advertising is “paid non-personal,” which embodies attempts to distinguish advertising from public relations and then from personal selling. By acknowledging that advertising transactions and activities are always paid for, it establishes a distinction from public relations which often relies on the collaboration of other parties, particularly journalists, to freely promote public relations events. In the use of the “non-personal” phrase, it also differentiates advertising, which is inanimate, from personal selling which is face-to-face unmediated dissemination of commercial messages. Shultz further acknowledges the brand portion of advertising by recognizing the need for the sponsor of the message to be identified, simply for legal and marketing reasons. And then finally, the definition posits that the ultimate recipient, though targeted, remains faceless. This definition has remained evergreen despite the changes that advertising has endured over the decades. Advertising Objectives: Hounded by the Bull’s-EyeAdvertising objective(s) constitute the heart of the advertising campaign plan. As the advertising campaign linchpin, the entire advertising efforts revolve around it and are directed by it. Krugman, et al. (2001) assert that advertising objective performs three fundamental functions: it communicates the intended touchstone to every advertising team member and coordinates their various contributions; enables decision makers to evaluate different options so as to commit to a particular decision; and provides a benchmark for measuring and evaluating the success or otherwise of the campaign. The significance of the advertising objectives is underscored by the fact that its formulation determines every other component of the advertising equation such as budgeting, audience selection, brand communication decisions, message construction and media selection. Though it is set by the advertising campaign planners base on dispassionate analyses of available resources, diagnosis of the audience communication needs and after taking cues from the marketing objectives, it immediately assumes the status of a bull’s-eye once it is set. The preoccupation of every member of the advertising campaign team is calibrated to accomplish the set objective. Like an archer skilled in the art of marksmanship, the advertising campaign manager invests all efforts in attaining the set objective(s).  Advertising objectives could range from the very superficial, such as creating brand awareness for a relatively new brand or reminding existing customers of the presence of the brand and its need satisfying qualities, to more elegant objectives like elevating the perception of a brand from a pedestrian, economic brand to an ultra-premium brand. Tapping into their marketing communication knowledge of what is practicable using advertising, advertising campaign planners craft simple, measurable, actionable, realistic and time specific (SMART) objectives that normatively guide and prod subsequent advertising decisions. They may realize, as is often the case that they need to tweak the personality of the brand from that of adventure, youth and assertiveness to a modest, conservative and aristocratic outlook or animate the brand by connecting it to customers ‘emotions. It might be to reinforce customer long term memory by incentivizing customer brand learning using humorous or dramatic execution, motivate existing customers by inducing them to unlearn certain misconceptions that are inhibiting purchase, or just associate certain imageries with the brand to deepen and expand its market. Any of these advertising objective-driven efforts will naturally influence a chain of advertising creative and production decisions such as models and artiste that will feature in the advertisement, props that will be engage by the producer, location that will constitute the scene as well as the message and media component of the campaign. By primarily determining physical attributes such as height, size, shape and skin tone of casts for the commercial as well as the texture, colour and styling of their apparels, the type of setting for the advertisement, whether upscale or tacky, and the camera angles, the advertising objective determines the brand identity and positioning. Any upset at this stage will misdirect the entire advertising effort and probably dilute the brand.  Consumed by the brand focused advertising objectives, it is not uncommon for the advertising campaign manager to be locked in an ‘economic tunnel vision’ that precludes the potential social consequences of the emerging advertisement. While it might be wrong to say that advertising campaign planners deify advertising objectives, the need to attain these objectives in a non-detrimental fashion to public sensitivity appears to be a secondary consideration.  Many advertising models have been constructed to clarify how advertising effects occur and more importantly guide advertising practitioners on how to design their advertising objectives (See Figure 1.1). The AIDA model designed by Edward Kellogg Strong projects a series of unidirectional steps that begins with “attention”, through “interest” and “desire” before to “action” (Smith & Taylor, 2002). Basically, Strong views potentially effective advertising intervention as one that must first be able to evoke the attention of even the most indifferent audience, potent enough to tickle her interest and then motivate her to desire the advertised brand and eventually provoke some purchase related action. Russell Colley also offered his DAGMAR model (Smith & Taylor, 2002). An acronym that when fully elaborated spells “Defining Advertising Goals for Measuring Advertising Results”, the DAGMAR model is a purpose-built visual construction that outlines the same advertising effect process. Figure 1.1: Response hierarchy models. Source: Smith and Taylor (2002).However, while still projecting the three dimensions of impact in the advertising process, that is cognitive, affective and conative dimensions, Colley rather elongated the stages into five, starting with “unawareness” through “awareness”, “comprehension”, “conviction” and finally “action”. Other scholars such as Robert Lavidge and Gary Steiner (1961), Everett Rogers (1961), John Howard and Jagadish Sheth (1969), as well as Charles Hofacker (2000) have lent their intellectual weight to the conversation on advertising effect through their hierarchy of effects, innovation adoption, consumer behavior and information processing models respectively. By constructing linear models of how advertising works and invariably on how advertising objectives should be structured, these marketing communication scholars lent credence to learn-feel-do paradigm. As logical and unassailable as their unidirectional models initially seem, Ajilore (2010) contested the universality of these postulations. While all these models unanimously projected advertising as habitually impacting cognition first as the foundation for subsequent impacts like “affect” and “conation” in a straitjacket “learn-feel-do” fashion, Ajilore (2010) counterargued that the steps, rather than being only unidirectional in is contemplation, is also interactive. That is, beyond “learn-feel-do’, the process could also be one of “feel-learn-do”, “do-feel-learn” or “do-learn-feel” depending on a consumer’s level of involvement in the purchase decision making process. Put differently, advertising could be deliberately engineered to first tickle the audience emotions as a pathway to evoking some mental activities like brand association and brand purchase. Alternatively, advertising approach could be directed first at triggering some immediate brand purchase (direct action advertising) that then leads to brand consumption knowledge which eventually climaxes in emotional bond with the brand. In all advertising practice is about setting attainable objectives and then coordinating all resources to accomplish these set objectives. Advertised Brand: Beyond StardomThe object of advertising effort is the brand. It embodies the cornerstone of marketing activities and advertising talking points. It is the object that brings the marketer and customer together in a transactional relationship. Anything can be branded; either tangible or intangible. Brands could range from physical objects to services, organizations, geographic locations, people, ideas, and causes. It could be a profit-oriented article or a totally not-for-profit product. Arguably the most important element in the advertising process, the brand defines the level of relationship prospects are willing to have with the marketer. The entire advertising content and media deployment are all geared towards creating visibility for and preselling this object called the brand. In prosecuting an advertising campaign, advertising is usually saddled with not just redirecting public attention to the brand, but also creating a personality for the brand. As simple as a brand appears, it has drawn inconsistent definition from scholars and marketing practitioners. While the American Marketing Association (AMA) sees a brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competition”, McNamara and Shah (2019) consider a brand as “the sum of all feelings, thoughts and recognitions-positive or negative- that people in the target audience associate with a company, a product or service”. The inconsistency between these two postulations immediately becomes apparent as the AMA, an elite league of eminent American marketers, confined its definition of a brand to all activities designed to determine the source of a product and by so doing set it apart from related competitive offerings. Meanwhile, McNamara and Shah maintain that it encases the emotions and cognitions that are evoked by the entity called the brand.While the AMA perspective might have been heavily constrained by the German origin of the word which basically means “to burn, mark, or stamp,” the mark of ownership on an item, that of McNamara, which summarizes the preponderant perspectives among scholars, represent contemporary views of what a brand truly represents. Despite the disagreement in perspective, the two postulations present significant opportunities in advancing our understanding of what a brand is all about. To the AMA, the significance of a brand to consumers is underscored by the fact that it identifies the source of the offering thus making it easy for the producer to be traced and held to account in the event of a tortious wrong. In the case of McNamara, a brand embodies a bundle of feelings and thoughts that the audience invest in it. In agreement with the latter perspective, Ajilore (2009), while debating the distinction between a “brand” as a noun and “branding” a gerund, posited that a brand is a multidimensional entity encasing the benefits, whether utilitarian or emotional, that are relevant and consistently delivered to a target market. As a multi-layered item, it encapsulates functional, emotional, and self-expressive dimensions (Ajilore & Solo-Anaeto, 2016). The brand utilitarian value is what certifies the brand as a bona fide candidate of a product category. It is what determines the brand point of parity. Of what use is a car that cannot move? an air conditioner that cannot cool? and an insurance provider that cannot indemnify? Much consumers’ perception of products is largely focused on the utilitarian value. At the utilitarian level, the role of advertising is to clarify often in memorable fashion, the need satisfying functions and attributes of the brand. For example, how a branded pair of shoes protects the feet and comfortably shield one from harmful objects becomes the goal of an advertising campaign formulated to sell the functional dimension. Another distinct dimension to the brand is how it makes the prospect feel. Studies have consistently showed that beyond rational/functional attributes, emotional bonds with the brands go a long way in determining consumers’ satisfaction and brand loyalty. Marketers employ advertising to create and strengthen positive emotions of duty, faith, pride, affection, pleasure, innocence, gratitude, serenity, desire, joy, competence, and patriotism; all in an effort to evoke any of these feelings whenever the brand is contemplated. Advertising injects emotions into the consumer’s earning and valuing process. Because emotions are characterized by a state of heightened physiological arousal, studies have suggested that emotive advertising content are attention grabbing, ignite better mental processing and are remembered far more easily than neutral advertisements. The third and final dimension is self-expression. Consumers use brands to create identities for themselves. In a world that discourages the verbalization of attainments, brands have become symbolic outlet for giving substance and expression to the achievements, identities and values of individuals.  Brands have become surrogate communicators that people use to send signals about themselves to other people. Social constructivism explains the symbolic nature of brands. The increasing use of and dependence on brands for this symbolic act of communication was eloquently acknowledged by Ajilore and Olomojobi (2018) in their research report documenting the influence of brand associations on the consumption of perfumes by Babcock University undergraduates.From a broad marketing viewpoint, the invitation of advertising into the marketing of a brand is fundamentally to build and sustain the equity of the advertised brand. Shimp (2000) argues that a brand is considered endowed with equity if the consumers are familiar with it and have also stored up in their memories favorable, strong and unique associations relating to the brand.  Nothing in the history of branding has so much centralized advertising as this model. It underscores the importance of promotion, particularly using advertising, in shaping the profile of a brand. In creating brand awareness or familiarity, the proficiency of advertising has assumed a legendary status. Either through brand recognition or recall, advertising is superlatively engineered to build and sustain brand memory. The strategic implication of accomplishing brand awareness via either brand recognition or brand recall was examined by Ajilore (2009) in his critique of a wasteful and futile international advertising campaign tagged “Nigeria: Heart of Africa” which embodies efforts by the Nigerian Government to alter the attitude of the global public to the brand called Nigeria.As fundamentally necessary as the creation of brand awareness is, it has never guaranteed a sufficient condition for any brand adoption. In addition to brand familiarity, there is also the critical need for brand image, which basically is what customers associate with the brand anytime it comes to mind. These associations must be favorable as only positive experience reinforces the learned association. A graduate of Babcock University whose undergraduate experience was pleasant is more likely to feel nostalgic and consider returning to the University for postgraduate studies or to even recommend Babcock University to her loved ones. Beyond the perceived favorability of the advertised brand, the strength of the positive associations also matters. Customers are more likely to stay committed to a brand that is considered important to their wellbeing, security and happiness. Advertising should project and accentuate hidden brand attributes and benefits that might be considered valuable to customers. The last element of brand association, brand uniqueness, is considered vital in a highly competitive situation. The capacity of advertising to demonstrate a brand’s superior point of difference might be all that is needed to nudge a reluctant buyer into purchase action and get her committed for life.  The role of a brand in possibly inciting protests against its advertising needs some elaboration. The aphorism “one man’s food is another man’s poison” holds true for brands as the preferred brands of a group of people might be considered a sacrilege by others. People might abstain from a brand or the product category it belongs to for varied cultural, religious, ideological, or negative consumption experience reasons. However, it might be difficult to avoid its advertising. It might just be instinctively easy to ventilate one’s frustration and disappointment with the brand by scapegoating its advertisements. They can avoid the abominable brand or the product category it belongs to. But evading its advertising, that by nature is highly visible and in your face, could be an impossible task.  By transferring their disdain for the brand to its advertisement, protesting members of the public seeking catharsis can vicariously purge themselves of their pent-up anger since they had been offered a sacrificial punching bag. It is also easy for public interest groups crusading against the production and marketing of certain brands to attack the advertising of such brands. It is common for protesters campaigning against the popular acceptance of a controversial product to accuse advertising of legitimizing its adoption or of discouraging potential quitters from quitting the habit. In this situation, advertising appears to be bearing and paying for the iniquities of its employer- the brand.  Advertising Content: Your Mind, Head and Pocket The advertising content represents the heart of communication as well as the core of advertising. It is the outcome of the source’s encoding and the primary source of the receivers’ decoding. To the uninitiated, it is coterminous with the advertisement. The message portion of the advertisement embodies what is said and how it is said in the advertisement. What is said in print advertisement is manifested in the headline, rider or kicker, body copy and payoff line while the illustration/photograph of the brand and the model together with the placement and arrangement of elements on the page all depict how it is said. On the electronic media, the verbal dimension of the advertisement is what is uttered by the on-camera spokesperson or via voice-over and could be heard in the case of television, while radio appeals to the auditory sense only. Both these two components are jointly critical to the success of the content. In many of the protests against advertising it is easy to guess that the message is the culprit. The content performs a key role in facilitating the persuasion function of advertising. To accomplish this persuasion goal, the content can take either a rational or emotional route. An advertising message that is based on rational appeals is directed to the recipient sense of logic and self-interest while in contrast emotional appeal ordinarily exploits the receivers’ feelings and passion such as love, fear, vanity. The delivery of what is said and the how it is said can be executed in manifold ways and this ranges from drama, humour, endorsement to animated cartoons and claymation. The choice of the executional approach is only limited by strategic and budgetary considerations. When for example advertising budgets can support it and the credibility as well as the visibility of the brand spokesperson matter, it is not uncommon for advertisers to engage celebrity endorsers. Through this association, the brand can leverage the popular acceptance of a public figure such as an artiste, sports star or media icon. Beyond the visibility that these endorsers are expected to bring to the endorsed brand, marketing communication scholars have always projected the possibility of transferred personae. In a study conducted by Ajilore (2008), empirical evidence was put forward to contest this possibility. Evidence showed that advertising audience were able to easily recall artiste endorsers of each brand featured in the study; however, contrary to expectations, respondents’ perception of the celebrity endorsers remarkably differs from that of the endorsed brand. This evidently invalidates the power of celebrities as sales magnets. In the case of humour and drama in advertising, Ajilore and Arowa (2022) argue that both are highly potent means of achieving brand memory through either brand recall or recognition, evoking positive emotions for the advertised brand and ultimately animating an otherwise inanimate object.  Boisterous audience dissent directed at advertising is always ignited by and directed at advertising content. As illustrated by the cited MTN, Sterling Bank, Peak milk and FIRS advertisements, the verbal and nonverbal components of the advertising message constitute the principal focus of objection and opposition by concerned groups. This situation might not be unconnected with the polysemic nature of media content. As expounded by Lopukhina et al. (2018), polysemy is the potential for multiple interpretations of messages. Meaning that in this advertising context, active audiences could make diverse meanings out of a single advertisement. The mainstream audience could infer a dominant meaning which usually coincides with the preferred meaning envisaged by the advertiser. This set of primary audience will most probably appreciate everything about the advertising message and most likely act consistent with its line of advice. Meanwhile, a section of the audience, particularly those on the fringe of the target audience, could deduce a subordinate or negotiated meaning. In this case, the audience, though unwilling to accept the meaning intended by the communication source, could still succumb to its argument. The group that is considered most highly defiant is the radical interpreters. Armed with and using ideological materials outside of and fundamentally contrary to those provided in the advertising message, radical interpreters are usually militant and belligerent in pushing their interpretations. Radical interpreters are mostly likely to consider preferred and negotiated interpreters as “victims” of media text. Though Houston (2022) examined the implication of textual polysemy in advertising and Killin (2022) considered the influence of context in the direction of interpretation, there is still so much on this subject that is shrouded in mystery and left in the realm of speculation. The object of advertising polysemic interpretation and possible protest could be what was said or implied by the spokesperson. Just as it could also range from the advertising setting, props, models to an insignificant artifact that missed the attention of the advert producer but not that of the ever-attentive audience.    Advertising Media: Piggybacking Down the Rabbit Hole The mass media constitute a critical component of advertising. The relationship between advertising and the mass media is hypothesized to be interdependent. The mass media, on the one hand, provide the platforms, sort of the conveyor belt, for projecting the advertising message to the advertisers’ audience while advertising, on the other hand, provides the subsidy that is critical to the survival of the media. Without this vital lifeline, few media proprietors would be able to sustain content production. The media recruit the audience using alluring contents and then “sell” this audience, much like a commodity, to interested advertisers. One nagging but unanswered question is who exactly between these two parties is in charge of the relationship? The media that created the platform and the audience or the advertiser that “buys” the audience and by so doing indemnify the media? This ostensibly reciprocal relationship has drawn some critical comments from media ethicists who have treated this advertising subvention as nothing but kickbacks that over the years have eroded the editorial integrity of the mass media (Baker, 2013; Frost, 2007). For instance, the tradition for many decades of newspaper production was to exclude advertising materials from the first page. Not satisfied with reader traffic redirection from the first page using “story continuation in inside pages” as baits, advertisers have encroached on the first page, an act that was unthinkable some years ago. In this relationship, the media seems to be holding the short end of the stick. He who pays the piper is, indeed, dictating the tune. Though theoretical advances have renegotiated the maximalist notion of mass media power to a more realistic active audience paradigm, the influence of the media is still without doubt palpable in our society. Theoretical postulations espousing the power of the media to determine issue salience, frame audience perspectives and constitute the primary source of information during moments of social dislocation have all sustained media influence. The era of niche media has accelerated the proliferation of the mass media and consequently the further fragmentation of the media audience (Ajilore & Olomojobi, 2021). This phenomenon has lessened the reach and power of each medium and multiply the resources needed by advertisers intending to reach a wide audience. Each medium now only controls a stratum of the market with consequential impact on its bargaining power with advertisers. However, some shrewd media proprietors have converted this to a major strength.  They have touted the narrow profile and intense involvement of their audience in their media content as a potential major advertising strength. An emotionally involved audience is usually considered a treasure trove by marketers. Other media, particularly the print section, are projecting their willing flexibility to adapt to advertisers’ creative request as point of attraction. Physical characteristics of the media such as size, intensity, colour, movement, position, isolation, information quality could enhance or inhibit the potency of an advertising campaign. For instance, a gigantic billboard with larger-than-life brand image is likely to be better noticed just as a frequently ran advert on radio or television increases the probability of audience exposure. Also, a brightly coloured item with moving images would be far more noticeable than a colourless stagnant article. An advert that is placed at the center of viewers’ visual field would be easily spotted compared to those on the margins, while an article that is isolated would be easily seen than one that is crammed or cluttered by others. All these are now promoted as editorial concessions and investment that the media are willing to make to protect their investments. In what ways have the mass media enabled audience uprising against advertising? The media, it must be admitted, have unwittingly spurred some of the protest directed against advertising. The mass media act much like a dragnet in reaching readers, listeners and viewers who could be offered to marketers as potential advertising audience. Just as a dragnet usually harvest different species of sea creatures, the audience of every medium represent an aggregation of geodemographic allies. With the aid of sophisticated data, skillful planning and some modicum of luck, the advertising media planner might be able to match its planned advertising target with the media audience. This matchup can hardly be 100 percent; it is often difficult, if not impossible, for a single medium to deliver in full the desired audience of advertising just as it is almost unfathomable for the advertising audience to fully coincide with that offered for sale by a medium. Compromises and other complimentary arrangements will have to be made to plug the hiatus. Evidence suggests that protests against particular advertisements are usually more endemic among fringe media audience members who fall outside the purview of the brand advertising effort. This group of protesters is usually easily offended by what it considers advertising intrusion and is more likely to be vociferous in airing its discontent against such advertising materials.     Broadcast Media The term broadcast media is used to refer to the operations of both radio and television. Both media forms share a similar trait of discharging electronic signals that are transient in nature yet they are different in many respects, particularly with the solely auditory engagement of the former versus the audio-visual engagement of the latter. The intrinsic advantage of appealing to sight may appear to confer an immediate advantage on television over radio. Nevertheless, experienced radio script writers have learnt to convert this seeming deficiency of the “blind medium” into an opportunity to engage the imagination of the audience through the creative use of words and sounds for picturesque effects. In many markets, particularly those with high level of illiteracy, a preponderant portion of many advertisers’ budget, especially for fast moving consumer goods is invested in radio and television. Radio, because of its comparative cheapness or affordability, affords high advertising frequency and television, as a result of its capacity for demonstration and dramatization that enhances its impact and captivates its audience had historically collectively taken up chunks of many fast-moving consumer goods advertising budgets. The rating of a television and radio station as well as their programming is a direct indication of its popularity and acceptability by the audience. This directly translates into how easy it is for the station to attract advertising patronage.The remote control, an electronic “wand” devised to ease listeners and viewers’ interaction with and control of the radio and television sets, has become advertisers’ albatross. Evidence abound that listeners and viewers do not pay the same level of attention accorded a programme to the advertisements embedded in it; as most people take advantage of the commercial interlude to pick a snack, engage in verbal reviews and debate the programme or use the remote control to search other stations for possibly more interesting content. This behavior is further encouraged when newscasters, on-air-announcers and programme moderators openly announce, “let’s go on a commercial break”, “let’s go pay the bills”. This practice is nothing but a complete disservice to the sponsor, who has put both his money and message forward in the hope that the listeners and viewers would be given equal opportunities to share the values inherent in both the sponsored programme and the sponsors’ advertisement.Print Media Newspaper and magazines constitute the print media. Books have historically received scant attention from advertisers. The media audience members are specifically known as readers showing that this audience must actively mentally engage the media content to consummate its consumption motives. Beyond this similarity, both are different in many respects. A newspaper has two well established formats: tabloid and spreadsheet, while magazines are devoid of any standard format. The frequency of publication of newspapers ranges from weekly, bi-weekly through to monthly. Furthermore, newspaper uses fragile paper stocks that collapse easily while magazines are printed on heavy glossy paper stock that can support a variety of artistic creations. The attraction of newspaper as an advertising medium is basically its frequent publication that allow it to jell with fast-moving consumer goods that require media flexibility to thrive. On its part, the reproduction quality, creative flexibility, relative permanence, and consumer active involvement qualities of magazine have all set the medium apart as an advertising magnet. Outdoor Advertising MediaThe outdoor advertising platform is peculiar in many respects. It is about the only advertising media, aside direct mail that is devoid of the allure of editorial and entertainment materials. This means the advertisement is denied the piggyback that the print and electronic media enjoy. It is also different in the sense that it specifically appeals to a mobile audience. Whatever the outdoor status of the audience (a pedestrian, rider, driver, or passenger), the medium has a fleeting moment to communicate its message. The medium comes in a variety of forms. For one, there is the billboard which comes in diverse sizes. There is also shelter advertising which is gradually making entry into the Nigerian advertising media landscape. Emblazoned with the advertisement of the sponsor, shelter advertising creates a comfortable atmosphere for pedestrians and passengers taking shelter from inclement weather condition to savour advertising content while they wait. The third and related form is putting advertisement inside and on public buses and other means of transportation. Out-of-home advertising medium is particularly the delight of advertisers because it permits market saturation and geographic flexibility, permits frequent and repeated exposure to the advertising content, supports larger-than-life images, and has lately allowed tremendous digital creative flexibility.   This advertising medium, particularly the billboard, has endured the most excruciating regulatory interventions, even in Nigeria. A combination of federal and states’ regulatory intervention as well as technology has locally transmogrified this medium into the cornerstone of the beautification plans of many metropolitan settlements (Ajilore, 2018). The seeming over-policing of this advertising sector has always been attributed to its tendency to obstruct traffic and distract passers-by when carelessly erected. Also cited is the risk of injuries or also accident from toppled billboard. Critics have also invoked express concern of the scenic pollution that billboard constitute when indiscriminately sited. Over the years, particularly as a result of regulatory pressure, the outdoor platform has evolved to become the urban renewal plan of many metropolitan cities. Billboard in Nigeria has been the target of vandals, metal pilferers and violent protesters. Contractors have resorted to perforating the board surface to make them less attractive to these thieves. That measure, as ingenious as it appears, has come at a greater cost of degrading the appearance of the advertisements.  Online MediaInternet-based electronic communication has been the most recent of the mass media. The computer-based media have dramatically altered not only the way we communicate but has fundamentally ignited a shift in the way we conduct commerce, transact politics and carry out social activities. It bears all the trappings of interpersonal, group and mass communication.  Its influence is so far reaching that it has spawned many different online communities and extended free journalism license to every willing member of the cyber society. Without this medium, we would not have had neologisms such as bloggers, online influencers, cyberbullying, etc.  The remote access it offers to diverse text and images has made it the fastest growing media in the history of media evolution. Online media interactive capabilities and mobile device connectivity have enhanced its popularity and penetration among the young generation. By providing sanctuary for counter establishment voices, the cyberspace has given a new refreshing meaning to the concept of alternative media. Irritated by state regulatory control over traditional media that is non-interactive by nature, media audiences, particularly the youth, are beginning to migrate to this new media where they can talk back and ventilate their grievances with little or no mediation. In their assessments, Ajilore and Adekoya (2016) describe the platform as a revolutionary gift of the twenty first century that thrives on its unique capacity to support transactional real-time information exchange through one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one, and many-to-many communication. By its participatory nature, the platform has singlehandedly democratized communication and transformed the active-audience paradigm into a resistive and activist audience experience (Ajilore & Adekoya, 2021). But for this medium, on-shore and off-shore social movements such as the Arab Spring, #ENDSARS, #BLACKLIVESMATTER would all have eluded us.  Naturally, the mass appeal of this platform has attracted marketers. Digital advertising disproportionately accounts for over 51% of global advertising spend for 2023 (Statista, 24) forcing other traditional advertising platforms to scramble for the remnants. With remarkable leap from $378.16 billion in 2020 to $522.5 billion in 2021 (Statista, 24), probably due to the COVID-19 pandemic, advertisers have demonstrated their willingness to skew their advertising appropriations in favour of the platform because it returns value on their advertising investment. That over $600 billion was spent globally on this medium in 2023 (Statista, 2024) is an affirmation of its intrinsic strength. In Nigeria where over 81.2 billion naira was in 2022 spent by advertisers to reach digital citizens (Statista, 2024) and where also the number of Internet subscribers grew to 163.8 million in December 2023(National Office of Statistics), advertisers’ increased migration to the cyberspace is imminent. Giving the fact that every phone has a unique mobile ID, advertisers can easily identify who you are and your interest using appropriate algorithms. Marketers can easily track your shopping and browsing proclivities and then use this to load the audience with information that reflects his needs. The media has spawned different types of digital advertising such as product listing, banner adverts, demand-side platforms, affiliate adverts, native adverts, social media adverts, video adverts and email adverts. These web-based advertising opportunities offer marketers extra narrow targeting of messages to specific recipients. Advertisers can track metrics and easily determine the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns. The same platform has invented varied adblockers to allow browsers shield themselves from unwanted advertising TotalAdblock, Adblock, Adguard, Adblock Plus, Adblock, Ghostery are some of the online barriers against advertising. Albeit there are no reliable information beyond speculation about audience deployment of these “advertising avoidance” software, it could be safely assumed that they are used.  The birth and popular acceptance of online media has caused much disruption in the advertising industry by degrading the influence of advertising agencies. The phenomenon of brand influencers and ambassadors has stolen the spotlight from advertising agencies and traditional media. Marketers are now noticeably bypassing agencies to insert their brands and advertisements with this latest marketing communication actor: online influencers. This explains the doggedness with which ARCON extended the purview of its regulatory competence to online marketing communication activities by Nigerian marketers.Advertising Regulation: Policing the Crossroad of Mediated Commercial SpeechLife as vividly captured in the Hobbesian state of nature is ominously described as nasty, brutish, and short. Simply put, a hypothetical human society devoid of laws and rules is bound to be chaotic, disorderly, and short-lived. Our social interaction in the face of individual differences makes law a necessity. In the same vein, commercial laws have always had the dual guiding principles of protecting hapless consumers from exploitation by large corporations as well as promotion of wholesome rivalries among competitive organizations. Beyond regulating the formulation of products and prescribing minimum threshold for quality assurance, countries around the world, depending on their jurisprudence, have always shown some degree of interest in regulating commercial communication. Even though all civilized countries of the world have legislations protecting freedom of expression, this right is never absolute. It is qualified by laws forbidding reckless misstatements. In the case of commercial communication, regulatory agencies with varied powers are established to enforce the law.  In the United States of America, the task of policing advertising falls squally within the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), while The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) oversees same practice in the United Kingdom. In Europe, the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) provides some modicum of by-laws for advertising, while in the case of South Africa, The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) exercises regulatory power. The need for marketers to steadfastly match advertising claims with advertised products’ performances and by so doing strengthen public trust in commerce has always justified some measure of regulatory intervention in advertising practice. In Nigeria, the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) is saddled with this onerous assignment. Formerly known as the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), a misnomer, given its enormous regulatory responsibilities, its ambit bestrides the entire gamut of advertising practice in Nigeria. Why did APCON, a far more pronounceable acronym, change to ARCON? Perhaps, the answer is traceable to the outcome of two watershed judicial decisions that threatened to undercut the capacity of this regulator to police advertising practice in Nigeria. First was the Federal High Court judgement of 2010 in the case between APCON and The Registered Trustees of International Covenant Ministerial Council and later was the Court of Appeal verdict of 2018 in MIC Royal Limited Vs APCON. In both cases, the courts were consistent in ruling that the jurisdiction of APCON does not extend to non-advertising practitioners and that APCON can concomitantly not impose its enforcement mechanism on non-advertising practitioners. The implication of this judicial interpretation of the APCON enabling Act is that The Registered Trustee of International Covenant Ministerial Council and the MIC Royal, as well as every non-advertising practitioner, are immune from the sanctions of noncompliance with the regulation of APCON. By replacing “practitioner” with “regulatory”, the 2022 Act seems to be communicating unequivocally to every employer of advertising its undisguised intention to act decisively against any infraction of the extant advertising law.  From its extant code titled “Nigerian Code of Advertising” it is discernible that ARCON determines the four Ws (without the Why) and H of advertising practice in Nigeria. Quite extensive are the powers of ARCON that it sets the latitude of what constitute advertising in Nigeria, prescribes the minimum standard of knowledge necessary for advertising practice, and determines the condition under which an intending practitioner could be registered to practice advertising in Nigeria. ARCON dictates the ‘what’ of advertising in Nigeria. For instance, in chapter one of its code, the regulatory body prescribes that advertisement must be legal, decent, honest, while eschewing sexual exploitation and gender discrimination all in an effort to preclude advertisers from making outlandish claims that cannot be validated by consumers’ experience. It decides the ‘who’ of advertising by directing that ‘advertisement directed at or featuring children shall not spotlight products unsuitable for children. It regulates the ‘where’ by emphatically advising that “advertisements for alcoholic beverages shall not be sited within a radius of 200 meters from the nearest perimeter fence of any place of worship, hospital, school, or motor parks. And directs the ‘when’ by expressly stating that advertisement for alcoholic beverages shall not be aired between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm on radio and between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm on television. All these provisions were enshrined in the code to shield children, considered socially malleable from being manipulated by a powerfully persuasive force that they are helpless against. The influential effect of advertising on children was tested by Alao and Ajilore (2014). Results showed that while children could differentiate between advertisement and other editorial materials as well as decipher advertisers’ sales intention, they could not resist its influence as many of them claimed to have pressured their parents after being consistently exposed to specific commercials.  All advertisements except those for public service announcement, goodwill messages, obituaries, and vacancies, must be presented to the Advertising Standard Panel (ASP) of ARCON for scrutiny and approval. Members of this panel cut across the critical sector of the Nigerian society. All media houses, advertising agencies, marketers and advertising practitioners are forbidden under the weighty threat of sanctions from participating in or facilitating the publication of unauthorized advertisements in the Nigerian media space. The enforcement capacity of ARCON to match action with words and “put its money where its mouth is” was demonstrated in August 2023 when the regulatory agency came out to forcefully denounce the “all eyes on the judiciary” outdoor advertising campaign mounted by a group of people. While this presentation will avoid any evaluation of the impropriety of the act of the promoter of the controversial campaign and ARCON robust response, it is instructive to acknowledge that ARCON in August 2023 dissolved the ASP consequent upon its perceived negligence in the handling of the “all eyes on the judiciary” advertising campaign. In addition to some self-reproach and internal administrative cleansing, ARCON denounced the advertisement and ordered its withdrawal from all media. This test case gave ARCON the opportunity to demonstrate its ability and willingness to enforce its rules and may l say, also revamp its image before advertising stakeholders. However, whatever gain the foregoing “show of strength” incident conferred on ARCON as the unassailable regulator of the Nigerian advertising space was on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, emasculated by a Federal High Court decision that declared as null and void the provisions of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code which empowers the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to impose fines on erring broadcast stations. Though the verdict was not directly against ARCON, it is implicated in and affected by the judgement as a government agency that relies on similar punitive intervention such as the one that had just been declared illegal. Probably, we have not seen the end of this issue as parties are yet to exhaust the judicial remedies available under the Nigerian appellate system. The analysis of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, to me, will be incomplete without some mention of the salutary reforms that the agency is pioneering in the Nigerian advertising industry. These laudable reforms, for all intent and purposes, appear geared towards fortifying and shielding our fragile local advertising industry against the buccaneering force of certain powerful players. By proclaiming professional indemnity for sectoral groups, capital structure and working capital for advertising agencies, 45 days payment threshold for marketers employing the professional service of an advertising agency, ARCON is taking courageous steps to fortify the Nigerian advertising industry. By also insisting on the use of local talents in advertisements, data bank for advertising agencies, media rates deregulation, engagement and disengagement protocol in advertisers/ advertising agency relationship, publication of ARCON register of practitioners, stoppage of imported advertisement in Nigeria, national policy on out-of-home advertising and sundry issues, ARCON seems geared up to sanitize the practice of advertising in Nigeria. Clearly, ARCON has picked up the gauntlet and braced up to encourage advertising organizations to underwrite the professional hazards that are crippling advertising practice in Nigeria, reduce insolvency among advertising agencies by encouraging mergers and acquisition and sifting out charlatans. These reforms will also promote advertising agency business by freeing them from the shackles of marketers who unnecessarily delay on service already delivered, protect our saturated employment market together with our depleted foreign exchange by championing greater dependence on local talents, identify and weed out charlatans from advertising agency venture by creating and sustaining a data bank of agencies and forestall the emergence of advertising media cartel through advertising rate deregulation. Also, apparently within the contemplation of the intervention is the urgent need to bolster the confidence of advertising agencies to stand up to some exploitative advertisers who usually take advantage of the power imbalance between marketers and advertising agencies to outmuscle the latter, update and publish advertising practitioners ‘register to clarify the identities and status of legitimate advertising practitioners. Ultimately, the policy proclamation will lead to utter reversal of Nigerian advertising industry principal reliance on foreign talents, and this will help conserve our foreign exchange reserves, assert our intellectual independence and inject some modicum of sanity into our otherwise chaotic out-of-home industry. This policy intervention if followed through will globally benchmark our advertising industry, invigorate and stabilize our infested advertising practice and prevent the industry from being garrisoned by foreign multinational advertising behemoth. While ARCON is saddled with the responsibility of guarding the Nigerian public against commercial messages that are potentially detrimental to their mental health and exploitative of their susceptibilities, it has to exercise good and informed judgement to be able to deliver on this mandate. Extreme caution has to be exercised not to encroach on the rights of business entities to freely share information about their offerings with the general public. This right must be delicately weighed against the need to shield the public from misinformation that is designed to goad them into making reckless and vainglorious decisions. Critics are likely to view the regulator as utterly incompetent, negligent or outrightly spineless if advertising activities that they consider irresponsible go unrestrained or unsanctioned. This will feed into a groundswell of discontent against the regulatory agency as well as the institution of advertising.     The Advertising Audience: The User or the UsedNow that the pendulum of supremacy has finally swung from the mass media to the audience, the perception of a weak, emasculated and helpless audience has given way to a better appreciation of the place and capacity of each element in the communication process. The overrated and maximalist notion of the media together with the conception of a passive and pliable audience has been toppled and a realistic appreciation of the audience as an active actor in the media-audience symbiotic interaction has been constructed. Seminal communication thinkers such as Katz et al. (1974) as quoted in Rosenberry and Vicker (2022) propounded the uses and gratification theory to provoke the most fundamental revolution in communication scholarship. The audience has now traded passivity for activeness as capacity to actively negotiate the effect of media consumption using needs and motivation has gained better clarity and appreciation. The notion of an active audience projects audiences as being proactive and independent. They are not docile and accepting. The active audience uses the media for its gratification. Unlike the passive audience paradigm that depicts the media as the sole custodian of power, the active audience perspective, by elastic interpretation, demonstrates the power of the audience to negotiate its exposure and degree of attention as well as its submission to the influence of advertising. However, this argument is inconsistent with that of classical economists who contend that advertising, and invariably advertisers, is the sole beneficiary of advertising-audience interaction. By exploiting the vanity of people, they argue, advertising manipulates its audience to purchase what it does not need. From the blinkers of the classical economists, advertising audience malleable. Using the prism of modern communication scholars, the audience, save for children, is impervious to any manipulation. It, however, appears that this audience activeness is before our eyes morphing into audience activism as we watch and monitor events unfold around the world. The modern audience is becoming rebellious. It is willing to engage in opposition and never shy to challenge the authority of advertisers and their claims. This audience seems frustrated with the status quo and appear less willing to comply with its oppressors. The participatory character of the new media seems to have empowered its resistant audience and ignited in its youthful and energetic participants the urge to fight and break the shackles of submission in order to confront perceived social injustice. This growing audience could defy conventional models employed in identifying and segmenting advertising audience.  Over the decades, advertising practitioners have adopted and perfected ways of approaching and cultivating the advertising audience to maximize communication effectiveness while minimizing waste. Using the postulate of social category theory as hypothesized by Melvin de Fleur (Franzoi, 2000), advertising practitioners use parameters such as geographic location, demographic and psychographic make up to organize prospects into groups based on the assumption that members of each stratum will seek out similar communication messages.  Identifying and prospecting the advertising audience is never the outcome of a random or slipshod process. Rather, it bears the hallmark of a professionally and painstakingly guided undertaking. From the marketing data concerning the profile of customer, advertising practitioners are trained to walk back and trace the decision force(s) behind the purchase. In other words, while marketing obsesses over the brand customers, advertising, at this stage, is preoccupied with the profile of those who make decisions that may potentially influence or stonewall a sale. The analyses that eventually unmask the portrait of the decision maker typically begin with the “three graphics”. These are geographic origin or location of the prospects, their demographic profile and their psychographic composition. By pinpointing the geographic environment that acculturated the prospects, advertising analysts can gain some insight, however superficial it might be at this stage, into the culture that set boundaries that frame how these prospects think and act. Next is the demographic profile of the potential audience. By harvesting data on the gender, age range, level of education, income bracket, etc. of the prospects, another enriching layer of insight is added to the foundation already set on geography. Even though no two individuals are identical in all behavioral traits, social category theory hypothesize that people within similar age, income, education and gender are most likely to behave approximately alike. From demography, the analysis could gravitate to psychographic, which captures attempts to understand prospects through their psychological dimension by simply accessing data on their lifestyles, interests, activities, and opinions. The outcome of this three-dimensional undertaking is usually bountiful as the ensuing information and knowledge help guide the decisions of advertising content and media planners. In addition to the illumination offered by the foregoing, advertising analysts could push their efforts up a notch by trying to determine how decisions relating to the product category are made. In this respect, five possible decision-making roles are possible: the initiator, the influencer, the decider, the buyer and the user. It is important that neither the role nor power of any of these players is trivialize or subordinated at this point.  They are equal power wielding participants in the brand decision making transaction. It must also be observed that multiple powers could be consolidated in the hands of an individual. That is, one or two persons could wield multiple powers. The power of the initiator is defined by the fact that s/he initiates the process by arousing the consciousness that the group is eligible and due for consumption of the benefits that the product category offers. The activation of the influencer’s power depends largely on victory at the initiation stage. One fundamental function of advertising is to suggest to and teach people how to solve their problems and meet their needs using advertised brands. Riding on the success of the first stage, the influencer then steps in to set the parameters that will determine the candidate brands worthy of their shortlist. At this stage, brands without the inclusion criteria are automatically screened out. Advertising practitioners invest in advertising with the hope that their brand will make the shortlist. The decider, probably operating under the spell of the influencer, is the one who steps in and makes the final commitment to buy a specific brand. It must be swiftly said at this point that the perceived dictatorial power of the brand decider does not, at the least, undermine the power of the two other decision partners. The buyer is the party that eventually approaches the market to physically consummate the adoption of the product.  Though apparently constricted by the dictates of the brand decider, the buyer still could exercise some latitude of freewill by buying another brand other than the brand preferred by the decider. The buyer could offer arguments such as “l bought this because your preferred brand was not available”, “was found to be inferior to this after interacting with an authority in the area”. The buyer could have been intercepted and hijacked by another alluring advertising between when s/he received the brand instruction and when s/he accesses the market. While initially, the ultimate power of the brand user appears completely degraded, her role in possible brand repurchase and advocacy can never be understated. Every marketer knows the implication of selling to a satisfied and loyal market. A loyal customer is far cheaper to sell to and is considered the most persuasive force in brand evangelism. By directing advertising to this set of decision makers, marketers could educate them on how to maximize the benefits of the brand, soften their likely defensive posture and incentivize them to become brand proselytizers. By appreciating the awesome power at the disposal of each decision maker, the advertiser could optimize the performance of its advertising intervention. To further enhance the effectiveness of a potential laser-guided advertising campaign, advertising practitioners could further choose to unveil the prospects by examining its relationship with the product category to which the brand belongs. Again, the history of prospects with the brand could be that of a non-category user, a favourable brand user, other brand user, favourable brand loyal or other brand loyal. A non-category user is basically a non-user of any brand in the category. His reason might range from lack of awareness to negative consumption experience. The favourable brand switcher typically oscillates between brands, temporarily adopting and dropping brands that appeal to his/her interests. They are categorized under this group because the marketer’s brand enjoys consideration when this group of switchers is contemplating a choice. The other brand switchers are different from the preceding group by the fact that the investigating marketer’s brand is excluded from this switchers’ consideration set when trying to make purchase. The fourth group is favourable brand loyals which is composed of potential buyers who are dedicated to investigating marketer’s brand. The last, which is the other brand loyals, comprises people who are devoted to the brand of a competitor. The underlining motivation behind these different groups’ disposition and consumption behavior should be examined to determine appropriate intervention. Their message needs will be different. Advertisers painstakingly endure this process to maximize advertising impact and minimize dissonance. An audience segmentation approach that is fast gaining traction among advertising practitioners is prospects’ membership in a cohort of individuals. This approach affords analysts the opportunities to understand and take advantage of how varied landmark formative experiences had interacted with the life cycle and aging process to condition and shape people’s worldviews. Using this cohort system, analysts talk about the Silent Generation (1928 – 1945), the Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964), Generation X (1965 – 1980), Generation Y, also known as Millennials (1981 – 1996), Generation Z (1997 – 2012), Generation Alpha (2013 – 2025). The Gen Z seems to be receiving marketing primary attention for now because of the consumption potentials of the bracket. Also known by other names such as the lGeneration, Centennials and Homelanders, members of this generation have been substantially influenced by global events such as the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, the Arab spring of 2010 and the COVID-19 pandemic. This generational cohort grew up in an information and communication technology-saturated world; consequently, making them tech-savvy. Surrounded by technological devices and applications such as smartphones, social media and streaming services, they can freely negotiate their voluntary membership of the cyberspace. They treasure independence, self-direction, self-sufficiency and desire personalization. Their sense of social justice has been principally amplified by their disappointments with events in their immediate environment and around the world.  Horrified by enduring issues of marginalization, racial discrimination, and political persecution, they have displayed their capacities to clamour for the attenuation of extremism by promoting diversity, call for equitable redistribution of resources to protect the needy, push for inclusive management of society resources by resisting marginalization, and campaign for free access to means of attaining their culturally imposed goals. This cohort is anti-establishment and is not timid to confront authority. In Nigeria, this generation had missed out on watershed incidents such as the bitter Civil War that decimated our population and magnified our fault lines, the tyrannical military interregnum that traumatized our collective psyche and set us back by decades. Consequently, members of this generation are aggressively idealistic and most likely to blame the pacifist posture of their forebears for the failing economy of the country. They are rebellious in nature and most likely to use opposition to gather power. Their proclivities for aggressive power display were evident during the #ENDSARS protest and could also be gleaned from its 2024 mantra of “no gree for anybody”.  It is the first true digital native generation and members spend most of their time outside their physical environment as they are digitally relating with members of their cyber society in our borderless world. It is a fastidious generation that is fast becoming impervious to the influence of conventional advertising. As seasoned digital technology users, they can factcheck and geolocate to determine the authenticity of claims. Their smartphones are their lives and their dependency on this contraption is phenomenal. Sir, to determine the veracity of this claim, you can conduct a simple experiment of just seizing their phones. Many of us have tried it in our classrooms when this object become a source of distraction and I can tell you sir that the resultant reactions are always mesmerizing.   Advertising: Just Naughty by NatureFrom the foregoing it seems that the nature of advertising-audience interaction is configured for rebellion. I make this claim based on the following reasons. First is the intrusive nature of advertising. Unlike media editorial and entertainment content, people do not search for advertising; rather, advertising searches for people. It goes without saying that advertising materials are not searched for and many advertising situations are unwelcomed. They sneak on and ambush people, piggybacking on other media contents that are considered attractive. When people invest their money and time, they are eager to have their motives completely satiated without interruption from less fancied entities. In this mood, advertising that is unanticipated, uninvited is likely to irritate even the most tolerable audience.Second is the issue of incidental exposure. Though much effort in terms of research and planning is invested into maximizing the exposure of advertisements and minimizing accidental or incidental reach, it is highly unlikely that those outside the purview of the advertising campaign will be precluded from exposure. Evidence abound that the bulk of protest usually emanates from the community of people outside the target. Another source of irritation is the repetitiveness of advertising. Advertising practitioners, in deference to the principle of iconic rote learning, have learned to use rehearsal to nudge the advertising message from the short-term memory to the long-term memory where it could be safely stored until recovery/ recall is needed to facilitate purchase. By repeatedly exposing the target to the advertising message, brand memory deepens and the probability of mental extinction is reduced to the barest minimum. This repetition often nauseates some audience.  Further to this argument is the fact that advertising, unlike other media content, is neither objective nor unbiased. That is, advertising argument is one-sided, and the audience knows. Objective advertising is a misnomer in terms. The advertiser is not expected to present fair and balanced information about the capabilities and shortcomings of brand to the audience. It rather, tries to skew the scale in favour of itself. The audience knows this and consequently immediately erects perceptual defense. A perceptual shield that helps the audience navigates advertising environment. Children are the only exception to this as many of them cannot even tell other media contents from advertisement even as many of them cannot see through the intention of the advertiser. This is further attenuated by the unidirectional and non-interactive nature of advertising. Although digital advertising is trying to eliminate this defect, traditional advertising allows only top-down communication without any provision for instantaneous feedback from the receivers. This structured relationship is distressing and provocative.Added to this situation is the realization that the audience ultimately bears the cost of all these vexatious and “non-beneficial media activities”. How emotionally traumatizing could it be for anybody to discover that s/he had borne the cost of a nuisance in his/her life? Well, this is a reality that the media-savvy audience members are well attuned to. All the investment on advertising is eventually transferred to the consumers when they buy the brand.Protesters have also showed their contempt towards some objectionable advertisements whose contents, in their evaluation, had no relevance to either the product or brand being advertised. What is the relevance of an unclad lady besides a brand of car being advertised? Aside objectifying the poor lady, the advertisement will evoke irritation among a section of the audience. Having said this, we must also appreciate the fact in addition to feeling, locking and moving powers, a potentially effective advertisement must possess stopping power. That is, in the midst of competitive noise and other daily social distractions, the advertisement must be able to attract and hold the attention of the audience. It behooves advertising practitioners to search for non-irritating but audience attracting tactics to attain this fundamental communication objective.    Advertising is unapologetically sales oriented, unlike public relations that on most occasions wears a camouflage and even misdirect using red herrings. Advertising is utterly unpretentious in both appearance and intent. The law forbids advertising from wearing a veneer.  The audience can perceive it from a distance and is therefore given sufficient room to put on its armor. Added to this mix is the parsimony of advertising content. As earlier insinuated, advertising is simple and short. The longest a broadcast commercial can last for is usually 60seconds and the largest print advert is at best a centerspread. Even on larger- than- life size of a billboard, the highest number of words affordable has less to do with budget than with human psychology. The average attention span is very short and the marketer has little patience for an absent-minded audience. There is not much clarity that can be offered in a communication that is totally devoid of redundancy. In addition to parsimony is the question of message polysemy. That is, the possible multiple interpretations that a word, phrase clause, sentence or image might evoke. Communication theories postulate that   any communication symbol could trigger multiple meanings. This potential for pluralistic interpretations has been one of the Achilles heels of advertising. In the world of advertising, it could be “one word; many meaning”Finally, is objectionable brand. Advertising has become the punching bag for brands that are considered objectionable. People can still bear the sight of products and brands that are considered sacrilegious either due to religious, health or negative consumption experiences. After all, we can retrace our footsteps away from a mall that sells an abominable product or even boycott a supermarket that thrives on selling items perceived to be harmful. However, we cannot boycott a radio or television station or refuse reading a magazine or newspaper, or even turn a blind eye (literarily speaking) to billboards all because they carry advertisements considered offensive. In the face of frustration, people easily redirect their negative emotions to advertising.   Advertising: Periscoping TomorrowAdvertising, we must admit, has inexorably evolved in the last three decades. Its transmutation has been principally driven by the ceaseless revolution in Information and Communication Technology. Albeit a confluence of uncontrollable forces such as growing democratic culture, friendly legislation, demographic revolution, economic turbulence has also exerted its fair share of influence. The ever permeating and shaping role of ICT cannot be understated. The unfolding digital age has bifurcated generations into digital immigrants and natives. The cyber natives composed of the cohort that was predominantly borne after the proliferation of the Internet and considers themselves completely comfortable with it. They are not only Internet-savvy, but also spend a considerably large share of their day and activities surfing the net. They are highly opinionated, idealistic and overly conscious of the manifestations of social injustice in our society. The unfettered access offered by the privilege and power of the Internet has deepened their belief that social reforms are urgently needed and can be staged either violently or peacefully to negotiate better access, inclusion, equity and plurality. Most of them were borne after the Nigerian civil war and mostly underage during the military government regime. Consequently, they are belligerent in outlook and seem disappointed by the pacific posture of their forebears. They are impatient with gradual change and highly critical of the establishment. As seasoned Internet users, they can fact-check and geo-locate to determine the veracity of claims that are offered them. As cited earlier, statistics has revealed a growing pattern of acceptance and penetration of the online medium. If this momentum is sustained, the cyberspace will by the end this decade control in terms of distribution approximately ¾ of media audience. And since advertisers go wherever the audience goes, online media will concomitantly command a huge component of advertising investment. RecommendationsThe objective of this presentation was to highlight the widening gap among actors in the advertising process, with special reference to the Nigerian marketing communication space. To reconcile these apparently divergent interests, the following pieces of advice are offered:Audience LiteracyAs a matter of urgency, the Nigerian government, through the relevant agencies, should immediately initiate the introduction of media literacy programmes into our educational system. This initiative is already overdue. The ubiquity and overpowering influence of the media in our society without the necessary corresponding knowledge of their potentials for harm, particularly among the socially pliable and vulnerable youth, is to say the least perplexing. While appreciating the progress that has been recorded in our society through the media, especially the social media, we must also acknowledge the havoc it has caused and will continue to cause if nothing urgent is done to manage its use. The increasing incidence of cyber victimization and predation has made the cyber space a toxic environment. The society has a responsibility to protect its vulnerable community. Not to be quoted wrong, l am not clamouring for the regulation of the Internet. Regulatory intervention cannot assuage the unsavoury impact of the social media in our society. Rather than advocate for or contemplate regulation of the digital media space, a bottom-up approach of educating the society on the dangers of this ubiquitous media should be adopted instead. The phlegmatic response of our educational curricular to the challenges besetting society fulsomely speaks to the quality of these policies and our attitude to our social malaise. The media have come to stay. They have become enmesh in our lives. Many of us cannot do without them. The earlier we institute arresting measures to tame its untoward effects the better for us. We cannot prevaricate. The time to intervene is now.  Media literacy courses should be introduced from primary level to tertiary level of education. These courses will not only be designed to educate learners about how to use and harmlessly navigate through the cyberspace, but more importantly hone their capacity to intellectually shield themselves from online predators prowling and lurking in wait to prey on the naivety of malleable members of the cyber society. The City of New York in February 2024 instituted a civil lawsuit against the giant corporations behind Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, accusing them of fomenting widespread youth mental health crisis by ensnaring minors through the design of their social media applications and exposing underage to harmful content that are addictive in nature. Through the use of media literacy intervention, the society can easily intellectually inoculate its youth against the deleterious effects of the cyber space. Modern man has become habituated to and reliant on these platforms. Untutored access to and use of this platform without needed training is analogous to a motorist whose dexterity behind the wheel is though unquestionable but who lacks basic knowledge of traffic rules. Such a driver, to put it candidly, is not driving a car but a missile.Added Reliance on ResearchScientific research, undoubtedly, has advanced the practice of advertising. From the clarity that this sophisticated evidence brings to every stage and element of advertising to the enhanced managerial decisions, scientific research has over the decades bolster the quality of advertising outputs that eventually grace our media. However, global economic turbulence is gradually degrading the strategic place of scientific research in advertising campaign planning. To achieve efficiency in the deployment of advertising resources, while not compromising on the effective attainment of advertising objectives, advertising training manual dictates research at three stages of adverting campaign. First is the pre-campaign research design to assist the planner better understand the nature of the planned advertising space in terms of opportunities and challenges.  Research at this phase of the campaign is akin to a reconnaissance mission undertaken by the military preparatory to an attack. By casing prospective target and gathering intelligence, military high command can determine the appropriateness and adequacy of resources needed to neutralize a threat. Second is tracking research instituted to monitor the progress of the advertising campaign as it unfurls. Its fundamental goal is to highlight any trouble spot so that corrective measures could be injected before irreparable damage is done to the communication campaign. Finally, is the post advertising campaign research which is basically conducted at the end of the campaign to ascertain the degree of success. Using the advertising campaign objectives as touchstones, the post-advertising campaign study allows the advertising investor the opportunity to determine the extent of accomplishment, the variables responsible for the outcome in order to enrich the capacity of the advertising planner to either replicate the success or avoid the pitfalls in subsequent years. In 1996 while undergoing account executive training in one of Nigeria’s leading advertising agencies, I was coopted into an internal small-scale research effort designed to determine the potency of a creative response to a client’s brief. The brand was anti-sludge engine oil and the creative intervention was to insert the word “sludge” into the middle of popular but dreaded diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and cancer with a rider proclaiming the invention of a solution. After two days of field testing, we all came back to the office with our tails between our legs as the idea was generally rebuffed and condemned by the sample we interviewed. You can imagine the potential harm that would have been done to the brand but for the timely insight provided by research. Insider testimonies reveal scant deployment of and reliance on research evidence by the Nigerian advertising industry. Since advertising practitioners are not clairvoyant or psychic, scientific research remains the only energizing resource they can deploy to clarify the pathway to attaining success with little or no collateral repercussion. The industry regulatory agency, ARCON, should upscale its operation by deferring to scientific evidence. Instead of relying on assumed convention and customs of a fast-changing public, it should be able to muster credible and irrefutable scientific evidence that is not only persuasive but reflective of the values of the Nigerian public. This will supply the one critical W (why) that is missing in the earlier mentioned four Ws and H of advertising regulation. Through this, advertising actors can also reconcile the economic-centric interest of advertisers with the social consequence concern of the public. Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria should collaborate with universities running advertising-related programmes like mass communication, marketing, graphic arts to facilitate advance and cutting-edge research in the area of advertising and society. The agency could also institute grant to subsidize and support advertising-related research. Dawn of Big Data Analytics and AI                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                From the recommended greater dependence on scientific research comes the urgent need for advertising practitioners in Nigeria to explore the problem-solving instrumentality of Big Data Analytics. Revelations from scientific research indicate that 4.9 billion people (Kemp, 2021), a significant number by any measure, primarily conduct their daily social and commercial transactions online. Each time they do they leave telltale digital footprints as they navigate this superhighway. These digital breadcrumbs provide goldmine of insightful information about the purchase history, interest, taste, preferences, and online search activities of prospects. Armed with this game changing technological intervention, advertising practitioners can skillfully anticipate customer needs and leverage consumer behavior to attain advertising and then marketing objectives. The quest for personalized advertising response is already being attended to by Big Data Analytics. The era of advertising massification is at its twilight. By tailoring advertising messages to the personal communication needs and sensitivity of individuals, the incidence of offensive and irritating content would be reduced, if not eradicated. An extended dimension of this technological intervention is Artificial Intelligence.  Touted as the next level of the fourth revolution in man’s chequered history, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has further redefined the place and role of computer assistance in human society. Simply defined, AI is the development and deployment of computer systems capable of taking up creative problem-solving decisions that had ordinarily historically require human intelligence (Cousera, 2023), AI is bound to improve efficiency and productivity while saving time and costs. The use of Generative AI to spawn text, photos, videos, codes that are usable has already been documented while the propriety of CHATGPT in crafting content is still being subjected to ethical debate (Hanson, 2022). Other potentially disruptive technological inventions that deserve some close monitoring by Nigerian advertising practitioners are Virtual Reality, Internet of All Things, Web 3.0, Robotics and Quantum Computing. While some semblance of their deployment in local advertising is already being seen, the industry needs to deliberately mainstream the intervention of these innovations in our marketing communication output. The dire implications of neglecting these pieces of advice are unfathomable.    Embrace Two-Sided ArgumentIn addition to the intervention by the establishment, advertising content creators need to gravitate from dependency on one-sided message to a two-sided message approach. One-sided message, which is the advocacy of only the benefits and positive attributes of an advertised brand, has been shown to have limited persuasive power among educated and critical audiences. The power of education liberates the mind and intellectually empowers the perceiver to believe that nothing is infallible and flawless. By presenting the semblance of balance and objectivity using two-sided approach, the advertisement will appear credible and the argument more convincing before even a fastidious audience. Though this suggested approach may potentially expose an imperceptible brand weakness, through refutations and counterarguments, the advertiser could trivialize the said foible and still emerge unbiased and unscathed in the perception of the audience. As earlier insinuated, the unlimited access to information made possible by the Internet means that citizens of this electronic community can goggle search and geolocate to burst the bubble of any advertiser. Adopt Multiple Execution of Ad ThemesBeyond tinkering with the structure of the message, advertising creatives should invest more resources in the creative process to mastermind multiple creative execution of a single advertising theme. Given the realization that one of the sources of irritation with advertising is repetitiveness and taken that this is an intrinsic and unavoidable trait of this frontline marketing communication force, advertising practitioners could minimize this incidence by producing different variations of the same advertising theme. Undoubtedly, this will increase the total cost of advertising. However, the additional investment will be more than justified in far less audience irritation and avoidance. This would invariably translate to greater advertising exposure and brand knowledge. Rather than indolently resign to fate and believe that advertising audience apathy, audience perceptual shield, and negative audience evaluation are all part of the advertising process, the advertiser-audience engagement can always be a win-win situation. Beyond Short-Term ProfitThe advertising industry, probably under the aegis of ARCON, should embrace more environment-friendly causes that transcend the obsession with profit. The world is presently contending with revelations about the damage that the consumption of non-biodegradable packaging materials is doing to our ecology. By continuously engaging in the promotion of products that use these eco-damaging materials, the advertising industry is unwittingly demonstrating its indifference, nay antipathy, to efforts to protect and reverse the irreparable damage those decades of unbridle production and consumption of these deleterious products have wrecked on mother earth. It is time for advertising as an institution to support humanitarian causes and promote corporate philanthropy.  ConclusionAdvertising is a key component of modern society with critical ties to its fundamental institutions. As part of our media system, advertising supports media entertainment together with editorial independence. Advertising, by this intervention, underpins and nourishes our democracy. Advertising preserves and projects our indigenous culture, nurtures our economy and is now reputed to be a huge employer of talents and labour. Despite the doomsday prophecy foretelling the displacement of this foremost marketing communication force, it will, like a phoenix, adapt and reinvent itself to cope with our fast-changing society. One fundamental trait that advertising might have to forfeit in this quest for adaptation is ‘message standardization’. Considered one of the intrinsic qualities of advertising, message uniformity has paradoxically become one of the identifiable defects of modern advertising. It appears we are witnessing the revival of the individual differences theory as the social category paradigm is losing traction. Advertising will have to demassify to enable marketers personalize their advertising approach to reflect the sensitivity of the audience. Good enough, advance communication software now exists that support customization of advertising delivery. This is one sacrifice that advertising as well as its practitioners has to make to guarantee its place and relevance in modern marketing.        Contribution to Academic CommunityAs Head of Department, I facilitated the following:Accreditation of the Department’s Mass Communication programme by the Advertising Practitioners’ Council of Nigeria (APCON)Accreditation of the Department’s Mass Communication programme by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR)Full accreditation of the Department’s Mass Communication programme by the National University Commission (NUC) in 2012 and 2022.Full accreditation of the Department’s programme by the AAA/IBE.To date, I have successfully:Supervised 26 doctoral theses.Authored and published (both unilaterally and jointly) over 100 scholarly articles.Served as external examiner for master’s dissertations and doctoral theses in many public and private universities.Served as assessor for professorial cadre promotion applications in many public and private universities.Nominated to serve on the National University Commission (NUC) Ad hoc accreditation committee to many public and private universities.Served as the foundational editor and currently the editor-in-chief of the Babcock Journal of Mass Communication (BJMC).Served as the secretary to a three-man interim executive committee of the Ewu-Oliwo Community Development Association.Presently serving as chairman of the Electoral Committee of the Ewu-Oliwo Joint Committee of the Community Development Association (EWUJOCDAS). Major Appointments and AwardsMembership of University Committees and Professional AssociationsMember and Head, Department of Mass Communication undergraduate and postgraduate boardsMember, Veronica Adeleke School of Social Sciences Board.Member, Academic Standard BoardMember, University SenateMember, University Curriculum and Development CommitteeMember, College of Postgraduate Studies BoardMember, Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, ARCONMember, Institute of Brand Management of NigeriaAcknowledgementI want to thank God Almighty for my modest attainment in life. It is by His grace that I have trudged through the turbulent journey of life.I want to appreciate my late father, Mr. John Kehinde Ajilore, for the love and discipline with which he managed our upbringing. I also want to thank my mother, Mrs. Janet Modupe Ajilore, for graciously picking up the gauntlet of caring for us after the passing of our father.I want to express my gratitude to the two Vice Chancellors that I have served under, Prof. James Kayode Makinde and Prof. Stephen Ademola Tayo for giving me the opportunity to serve the university. In the same vein, I also wish to register my appreciation to my two bosses, during these two dispensations: Prof. Iheanacho Okoro and Prof. Philemon Amanze. I want to also recognize late Prof. Ekundayo Alao, late Prof. Lai Oso, and Prof. Victoria Ajala, three God-sent figures who positively marked the trajectory of my academic career. Also worthy of special recognition is the friend who lured me into academic, Prof. Adepoju Tejumaiye. I want to offer my deep appreciation to my siblings for the love and support they have all shown through the years: Mr. Olusegun Ajilore, Mrs. Eunice Olatubosun and Mr. Solomon Olatubosun, Mrs. Ojuolape Akintade, Mr. Omololu Ajilore and Mr. and Mrs. Okediran. Thank you all for the love you have shown to me. Special thanks to Mrs. Sola Aiyelokun, Pastor Oluwasoji Ajiboso and Mr. Samson Ajiboso. It is fitting at this stage to also appreciate my academic family whom I have spent most part of the last twenty years with in the department: Dr. Helen Adekoya, Dr. Babafemi Akintayo, late Dr. Olusegun Ojomo, Dr. Sam Okere, Dr. Oguchi Ajaegbu, Dr. Clementina Anatsui, Dr. Omolayo Jegede, Dr. Mofoluke Akoja, Dr. Margret Solo-Anaeto, Dr. Oluwafisayo Ogunwemimo, Dr. Patricia Ernest-Onuiri, Dr. Ifeoluwa Atakiti, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpegbu, Dr. Oluwaseyi Sodeinde, Dr. Oluwafemi Olomojobi and Dr. Esther Afolabi. I also want to extend my gratitude to the staff of Babcock University Department of Marketing and Communication for always attending to assignments from the Department of Mass Communication with passion and dedication. From the big boss himself, my friend and brother Dr. Joshua Suleiman to Mrs. Josephine Akarue, Mr. Wale Apata, Mr. Godwin Ugbaka, Mr. Godwin Nwankwere, Mr. Kuranga Olatunji Job, Funke Oyinloye, Sadare Olabanji, Gbenga Olajobi, Ogunbunmi Akinkumi, Ogunbowale Tolulope, Afolayan Moturayo and Grace Oyewole. You are all appreciated.My profound gratitude goes to the staff of WAD Media Centre/AWR/Hope 89.1 FM: Dr. Johnson Babafemi Akintayo, Dr. Omolayo Jegede, Mr. Ishaya Zachariah, Nathaniel Williams, Tayo Adeleke, Folakemi Adejuwon, Afolabi Fagbohun, Ubochi Cassandra, Rose Lawrence, Josephine Ewhe, Damilola Kafidiya, Victoria Dennis, Esther Afolabi. I want to specially appreciate the following colleagues who made my 2018/2019 sabbatical experience in Redeemer’s University, Ede a memorable one: Prof. Isikilu Oloyede, Dr. Felix Talabi, Dr. Bernice Sanusi, Dr. Omowale Adelabu, Dr. Emmanuel Ifeduba and Dr. Moyosore Alade.   I will specially like to appreciate the following academic achievers who have deepened and strengthened my scholarship through the years by dint of our research collaborations: Dr. Helen Ambassador-Brikins, Dr. Qasim Akinreti, Dr. Babajide Johnson, Dr. Oluwafisayo Ogunwemimo, Dr. Olusewa Mamora, Dr. Shade Ade-Johnson, Dr. Emmanuel Akpoveta, Dr. Belinda Faniyi, Dr. Shina Aina, Dr. Rasaq Ogedengbe, Dr. Moyosore Alade, Dr. Oluwafemi Onifade, Dr. Rasheed Buhari, Dr. Olufisayo Abdul, Dr. Oluwafemi Olomojobi, Dr. Joshua Suleiman, Dr. Akinola Babalola, Dr. Odukunle Atewolara-Odule, Dr. Lateef Odegbenle, Dr. Emmanuel Atansuyi, Dr. Temidayo Bankole, Dr. Lateef Ibirogba Dr. Babatunde Orungbeja, and Dr. Oladimeji Arowa. In the same breath I will also want to recognize the efforts of Mrs. Ngozi Wellington, Mrs. Victoria Ibanga, Mrs. Sharon Ugbo, Mr. Oluwole Ayinla, and Mrs. Tomike Olufemi. I have also been graciously blessed by the work of Dr. Goke Rauf, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun, Dr. Olusoji Olatunji, Dr. Binta Oloyede, Dr. Oluwakemi Ogungbamigbe, Mr. Olalekan Otun and Dr. Wasiu TejuosoI want to also recognize the following senior colleagues for their exemplary academic lifestyles and careers: Prof. Bayo Oloyede, Prof. Umaru Pate, Prof. Williams Olatunji, and Prof. Ayobami Ojebode.  Special thanks to the following Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) officers: Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, the DG, Mr. Eugine Onuoha, Director of Registration, Mr. Olajide Olishile, Director of Abuja Operations, and Mrs Adenike Adeniyi, Chief regulatory officer, Abeokuta Laison office.I am very grateful to all the deans and heads of departments I have served with in the Veronica Adeleke School of Social Sciences: Prof. Solomon Adebola, Prof. Ayandeji Aina, Prof. Femi Ajayi, Prof. Olajumoke Yacob-Haliso and Prof. Gift Ntiwuka. I am also recognizing Prof. Michael Oni and Prof. Ngozi Nwogwugwu of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration; Dr. Oladapo Awolaja, Dr. Ovikhu Ayodele and Dr. Esther Lawal of the Economics Department; and Prof. Rita Ezeokoli of the Department of Social Works. I am also saying big thanks to the secretaries who have worked with me: Grace Oyewole, Mrs. Ife Babalola, Dr. Funmi Oloyede, Mr. Joseph Amaefule, Mr. Oluwatimilehin Dada and Mr. Moses Odi-Uzoma. I will want to appreciate Prof. Dele Odunlami, Dr. Dele Ige, Prof. Tokunbo Adaja and Dr. Toyin Onayinka for marking the land with me. I am also grateful to the following individuals for dignifying me with their friendship: Prof. Samuel Dada, Dr. Wole Ojo, Dr. Akinkorede Adisa. I will also want to specially appreciate Pastor Morris Anayo for showing extra-ordinary leadership in First Love Estate and Mr. Sefiu Olalekan Owolowo for his preternatural sense of brinkmanship in managing the affairs of Ewu-Oliwo Community Development Association in Ikorodu. A special thanks goes to the following individuals for volunteering their time and resources to help plan this event: Dr. Joshua Suleiman, Mrs. Aderonke Adebowale, Dr. Tunde Orungbeja, Dr. Olusewa Mamora, Dr. Olusoji Olatunde, Mrs. Victoria Ibanga, Dr. Oladipo Arowa, Dr. Lateef Ibirogba, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun, Dr. Jide Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Oshinaike, Mrs. Ejiro Femi-Babafemi, Mrs. Ngozi Wellington, Dr. David Oloyede, Dr. Ovie Edomi, Dr. Shade Ade-Johnson, Dr. Joseph Odigie, Dr. Amos Kolawole and Mrs. Josephine Ojomo. Finally, I want to appreciate my two children for their filial sense of responsibility in converting my inaugural lecture manuscript into a typed work. While Molade Iteoluwakishi Ajilore typed, Monisade Adetunoluwakiye Ajilore read the manuscript out to him to ease the typing. And to the last but definitely not the least, my cheerleader, loving critic and best friend for three decades, Mrs. Mojisola Ajilore, I say a very big thank you.Thank you for your audience!ReferencesAjilore, K. (2018). Regulation of outdoor advertising in Nigeria. In A. Daramola & A. Tejumaiye (Eds.), Nigerian outdoor advertising- Concepts, constructs, issues and trends (pp. 193-202). University of Lagos Press.Ajilore, K. (2010). Advertising effect- In search of an adequate theoretical explanation. Babcock University Journal of Management and Social Sciences, 8(1), 75-87.Ajilore, K (2009). Reconstructing public attitude to a corporate brand using advertising: The Nigerian question. Babcock Journal of Mass Communication, 2(1), 117-127.Ajilore, K. (2008). The effect of celebrity endorsement on Lagos youths’ perception of Hollandia, Viju and Chivita beverages. Babcock Journal of Management and Social Sciences, 6(2), 104-117.Ajilore, K (2006). Advertising not guilty as charged. Babcock University Journal of Mass Communication, 1(1), 33-41.Ajilore, K., & Adekoya, H. O. (2021). Media commercialization, concentration and democratization in Nigeria: Matters arising. Babcock University Journal of Social Sciences, 13(1), 17-75.Ajilore, K., & Adekoya, H. O. (2016). The social media and twenty first century politics of involvement in Nigeria. In G. Rauf & A. Adedeji (Eds.), Sociology of media – A reader (pp. 147-158). Meek Associates.Ajilore, K., & Arowa, O. O (2022). Contemporary issues on usage of humour and drama advertising appeals in television advertising in Nigeria: A conceptual review. Journal of International Politics and Development, 20(1), 83-102.Ajilore, K. & Ekpo, G. (2018). Smartphone advertising, brand perception and purchase decision among undergraduates of the University of Lagos, Nigeria. Journal of Social and Management Sciences (JSM), 13(1), 57-65.Ajilore, K., & Olomojobi, O. T. (2021) Conception of public as a comparative framework for public opinion measurement and contextualisation in political communication research. Babcock University Journal of Social Sciences, 13(1), 163-184Ajilore, K., & Olomojobi, O. T. (2018). Brand Association as a predictor of conspicuous consumption of perfumes among Babcock University undergraduates. Communication Review, 8(1), 221-256.xxxAjilore, K., & Oyelade, O. (2009). The portrayal of women in contemporary Nigerian television advertising. Babcock University Journal of Mass Communication, 2(1), 89-101.Ajilore, K., & Solo-Anaeto, M. (2016). Smartphone brand personality as a predictor of brand value among undergraduates of Babcock University. Global Journal of Management and Business Research, 16(1), 33-43.Alao, O. O., & Ajilore, K. (2014). Role of cognition and demography in the response of children to advertisements a study of pupils of four Nigerian primary schools. Spring Board Journal, 6(1), 23-36.Baker, C. E. (2013). Media concentration and democracy: Why ownership matters. Cambridge University. Belch, G. E., & Belch, M. A. (2001). Advertising and promotions: An integrated marketing communication perspective. McGraw-Hill.Bosch, T. & Roberts, T. (2023). Spaces of digital citizenship in Africa. In T. Robert, & T. Bosch (Eds.). Digital citizenship in Africa: Technologies of Agency and repression (pp. 1-31). ZED.Burns, K. S. (2017). Social media. ABC-CLID.Coursera, A. (2023). What is Artificial intelligence? Definition, Uses, and types. Retrieved from https//   Franzoi, S. L. (2000). Social psychology. McGraw Hill. Frost, C. (2007). Journalism ethics and regulation. Pearson.Hansen, R. E. (2022). Mass communication: Living in a media world. Sage.Houston, E. (2022). Polysemic interpretation: Examining how women with visual impairment incorporate, resist and subvert advertising content. Journal of Advertising, 51(2), 240-255.Kemp, S. (2021). A decade in digital. Retrieved from, A (2022). The polysemy theory of sound. Erkenn, 87, 435-458., D. M., Redd, L. N., Dunn, S. W., & Barban, A. M. (2001). Advertising: Its role in modern marketing. The Dryden Press.Lapukhina, A., Laurinavichyute, A., Lopukhin, K., & Dragoy, O. (2018). The mental representation of polysemy across word classes. Frontiers in Psychology, 9. Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00192Mamora, O., & Ajilore, K. (2018). Youth, counter advertising and the propensity for alcohol. Lambert Publishers.McNamara, G., & Shah, P. (2019). Managing your brand. Harcourt School PublishersOtun, O. S., & Ajilore, K. (2023). Influence of Nigerian regulatory procedures on newspapers advertising revenue. Journal of Communication and Media Research, 15(1), 66-80.Rosenber, J., & Vicker, L. A. (2022). Applied mass communication theory: A guide for media practitioners. Routledge. Statista: Smith, P. R., & Taylor, J. (2003). Marketing Communication: An Integrated Approach. Kogan Page.Previous Inaugural Lectures1. Seventh - day Adventist in Nigeria since 1914.An Impact Analysis.Lecturer: Prof. David O. BabalolaDate: Thursday, December 3, 2010.2. The Truth about Truth: Postmodernism and its Epistemological Implications for Christian Education.Lecturer: Prof. Ademola Stephen TayoDate: Thursday, February 5, 2015.3. Food for Thought in Thought for Food: Conceptual genius of Local Ingredients in Global Diets and Food Habit of African Population. Lecturer: Prof. Yetunde Oluwabunmi MakindeDate: Thursday, April 02, 2015. 4. One Kingdom, Many Kings: The Fungi Sidelined and Maligned, now Irrepressible and Irresistible.Lecturer: Prof. Stephen Dele FapohundaDate: Thursday, May 02, 2015.5, The Hand that Handles the Scalpel.Lecturer: Prof. Iheanyichukwu OkoroDate: Wednesday, June 10, 2015.6. Parasitic Infections: Challenges of Control and Eradication in Public Health.Lecturer: Prof. Dora Oluwafunmilola AkinboyeDate: Thursday, October 15, 2015.7. The Oracle, Intellectual Property and Allied rights, the Knowledge Economy and the Development Agenda.Lecturer: Prof. Bankole SodipoDate: Tuesday, November17, 2015.8. Challenges of University Education Quality in Nigeria: Placing the Emphasis Where it Belongs.Lecturer: Prof. James Ahamefule OgunjiDate: Thursday, February 04, 2016.9. Factionalism, Rampaging Economic Vampires and Fragile States.Lecturer: Prof. Ayandiji Daniel AinaDate: Wednesday, March 09, 2016.10. Footprints: Livestock Nutrient Management and the EnvironmentLecturer: Prof. Grace Oluwatoyin TayoDate: Thursday, April 07, 2016.11. Nursing on the Move: Consolidation and Harnessing the Grains for Clinical ExcellenceLecturer: Prof. Ezekiel Olasunkanmi AjaoDate: Thursday, May 05, 2016.12, Accounting in the Business Age: Creating Values with Paperless Support Systems.Lecturer: Prof. Enyi Patrick EnyiDate: Thursday, September 08, 2016.13. Cost of Beating the Bug: Issues in Health FinancingLecturer: Prof. Solomon Ajayi AdebolaDate: Thursday, November 03, 2016.14. The Ministry in the Ministry of Public Health: Contending with Powers andPrincipalities.Lecturer: Prof. Godwin Nwadibia AjaDate: Thursday, February 09, 2017.15. Emerging Challenges in the Use of African Traditional Medicine in Health Care Delivery System: The Way ForwardLecturer: Prof. Philemon O. AmanzeDate: Thursday, April 06, 2017.16, Health Soil: A Crucial Factor in Food Security, its Management and Conservation LawsLecturer: Prof. David Sola DaramolaDate: Thursday, September14, 2017.17. Nursing: The Heartbeat of Our Nation's HealthCareLecturer: Prof. Joseph Oyeniyi AinaDate: Thursday, October 12, 2017.18. Information, Life and the EternityLecturer: Prof. Rosaline Olukemi OpekeDate: Thursday, November 02, 2017.19. Sensing the Future: From Common Sense to Intelligence SystemsLecturer: Prof. Oludele AwodeleDate: Thursday, February 01, 2018.20. Microbes and Man: Misinterpretation of BoundariesLecturer: Prof. John Cletus IhongbeDate: Thursday, March 01, 2018.21. Governance and Performance: A Pathological Exposition of Nigerian FirmsLecturer: Prof. Sunday Ajao OwolabiDate: Thursday, April 05, 2018.22. Gender Matters and the Cultural Dilemma in African LiteratureLecturer: Prof. Mobolanle Ebunoluwa SotunsaDate: Thursday, May 03, 2018.23. Grassroots Governance with Cancerous Roots: X-raying the Systematic Corruption at the Local Government Levels.Lecturer: Prof. Jones Oluwole AlukoDate: Thursday, September 11, 201824. Stemming the Tides of Genetics Diversity Denudation of Domestic Animal Genetic ResourcesLecturer: Prof. Abdur-Rahman Abdullah OladeleDate: Thursday, October 04, 2018.25. The Dilemma of Nursing Profession in Nigeria: Rebranding as Top Priority for Professional Ascendancy and Consumer SatisfactionLecturer: Prof. Rasheed Akinade SalawuDate: Thursday, November 01, 2018.26. The Sick People of Nigeria: A Symptom of Health System in DistressLecturer: Prof. Nnodimele Onuigbo AtulomahDate: Thursday, February 07, 201927. Zero, The TroublerLecturer: Prof. Joseph AdelodunDate: Thursday, March 07, 2019.28. Accounting: A Mismanaged Concept Requiring Urgent Re-definitionLecturer: Prof. Ishola Rufus AkintoyeDate: Thursday, April 04, 201929. Religion and Society: A Phenomenon of Siamese TwinsLecturer: Prof. Adelowo Felix AdetunjiDate: Thursday, September 05, 2019.30. The Librarian: Information Gate Keeper, Advocate and PriestLecturer: Prof. Clara Chinyere Getrude OkoroDate: Thursday, November 07, 2019.31. Conception and Misconception of Majoritarian Democracy and Elections in NigeriaLecturer: Prof. Michael Abiodun OniDate: Thursday, March 05, 2020.32. Waters from Waters: Beyond the FirmamentLecturer: Prof. Adelere Ezekiel AdeniranDate: Thursday, March 04, 2021.33. From Small Business to Big Business: A Future with Little HopeLecturer: Professor Oluseyi Odutola OduyoyeDate: Thursday, August 08, 2021.34. Surgery Without KnivesLecturer: Prof. Clement Enyinnaya Omenihu OnuohaDate: Thursday, December 02, 2021.35. Secured Credit Transaction Imbroglio: The Pathology and the TherapyLecturer: Prof. Pius Oladeji OlanrewajuDate: Thursday, April 07, 2022.36. Resuscitating Financially Distressed Oriented Organizations: Reinventing and Regenerating Strategic Approaches for Business SustainabilityLecturer: Prof. Folajimi Festus AdegokeDate: Thursday, July 07, 2022.37. Emerging Software Capabilities: Lifeline for Economic Growth and Sustainable DevelopmentLecturer: Prof. Sunday Anuoluwa ldowuDate: Thursday, September 1, 2022.38. Culture as Creativity and Law: Indulging in Past for the Future of Copyright Industries in NigeriaLecturer: Prof. Ayoyemi Lawal-ArowoloDate: Thursday, October 06, 2022.39. Inclusive Economic Growth and Development Baking Equitable Cake SharingLecturer: Prof. Adegbeni B. OnakoyaDate: Thursday, November 03, 2022.40. Genetic Improvement of African Indigenous Vegetables CropsLecturer: Prof. Cyril Chikere NwangburukaDate: Thursday, December 08, 2022.41. The Forensic Accountant in the Global World of Corruption and Stunted Economic GrowthLecturer: Prof. Samuel Olajide DadaDate: Thursday, March 16, 2023.42. Seventh-day Adventist Higher Educational Enterprise in Africa: Clearing the Augean Stable in Public EducationLecturer: Prof. Abiodun A AdesegunDate: Thursday, May 04, 2023.43. Financing higher education in Nigeria: a call for critical review and sustainable funding engagementLecturer: Prof. Luke N. OnuohaDate: Thursday September 07, 202344. Parasites and Vectors: the Siamese twins that kills softly Lecturer: Prof. Isaac Olayinka oyewoleDate: Thursday October 05, 2023.45. Plummeting Maternal Mortality Rate: An Uphill Task in Nigeria!Lecturer: Prof. Christiana Olanrewaju SowunmiDate: Thursday November 16, 2023.46. Law's Engagement with Human Body: Searching Through the Prism of Law to Shape the FutureLecturer: Prof. Titilayo Oyenihun AderibigbeDate: Thursday December 7, 2023.47. The Forbidden Fruits: A Counselling Psychologists Odyssey in Taming Adolescents’ Risky Behaviours. Lecturer: Prof. Ruth Adunola Aderanti Date:  March 7, 2024

1 comment:

  1. we are the leading industrial gas supplier in dubai,uae,If you are looking for steady industrial gas suppliers in Dubai, look no further than ROZA GAS. As a reputable Emirates gas cylinder supplier and a leading name among industrial gas suppliers in Dubai, we are committed to providing you with a reliable source of industrial gases that cater to your diverse business needs. Choose us as your industrial gas partner which will bring you excellent peace of mind and operational efficiency,click this link below :