Is advertising, communication Industry still ‘Boys’ Club’?
When Diane Rothschild, an international advertising professional, was inducted into the One Club’s Creative Hall of Fame, the second woman ever so honoured, she said that Neil French’s attitude was emblematic of his generation.
“Based on the world according to uninspired, rigid, time-warped and aging advertising men, I should be home right now in a little apron,”
Rothschild is quoted as saying. “Where I shouldn’t be is here being inducted into the Creative Hall of Fame.”
Sally Hogshead, another female in the American advertising industry, had once said that “creative departments are Darwinian, and men have the strengths that are encouraged and rewarded in the ad business.”
Other successful creative women have also echoed that a certain breed of women tends to be successful in the business, and they tend to have what are traditionally male characteristics. These were indications that the advertising and communications sector was exclusively “The Boys’ Club”
But times are fast changing. Dynamics have also changed. The numerical strength and the power of women in many sectors of the African economy are on the increase.
The communications landscape in Africa is changing and even more so since 2020. Women now dominate advertising across the globe, which has become a growing trend in the last decade. Women now make up almost 50 per cent of those working in the advertising industry. Women have not only broken the glass ceiling in this field, but have also pushed the doors wide open for Generation Next. Women hold top executive and managerial positions in blue-chip advertising and communications companies.
Recently, at a well-attended ceremony in Lagos, women were among the 63 advertising and communication professionals inducted into the Fellowship cadre by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, (APCON), having distinguished themselves and attained the pinnacle of their career.
Here is an insight into the profiles of some of the women who shape the Nigerian advertising and communication industry as captured by Daily Sun…
MARTHA U. ONYEBUCHI
Martha Onyebuchi is deputy director for the southern region, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Nigeria’s advertising regulatory agency, supervising the council’s operations in 14 offices, with over 99 staff. She has industry-wide experience spanning over 23 years.
She is an experienced manager who has acquired quality skills sets in management-client service, planning and organizing of professional training, examinations and tutorials, examinations, inspection, monitoring and enforcement, among others, and has had results of profits and volume increases for various jobs handled over the years.
She has been very instrumental to some major policies that positively impacted the council and the advertising industry in general, as a member of APCON’s management for over 21 years.
She has over the years held the following positions and served in various committees: Client service executive (Candid Communications Ltd.), senior vetting and monitoring officer, APCON, head of publications, head of vetting, monitoring and enforcement department, secretary of the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP), head of operations – North Central zone, assistant director of registration, career matters and corporate licensing, deputy director – Southern Region – Steering Committee of The Industry Media Summit, APCON Editorial Board member, Editor Advertising Annual, Outdoor Agencies Association of Nigeria Poster Award Panel Of Judges, Member, APCON Accreditation Committee, Member APCON Management Committee, among others.
Her hobbies include mentoring, reading and travelling.
She is a full member of the advertising profession, an associate member of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), and Fellow, Institute of Credit Administration.
Omowunmi Owodunni graduated from the University of Ilorin in 1985 with a B.A. Second Class (Hons.) in English. After a brief stint as a secondary school tutor, she started her advertising career in 1987 as a management trainee with the Taiwo Ajai Lycett-led Partnership Advertising Limited, where she was exposed to the rudiments of the profession across the different agency departments.
Her creative flair and passion led her to narrow in on opportunities within the creative field and she joined Promoserve Limited in 1988 to pursue her dream of becoming a copywriter. At Promoserve, Omowunmi created campaigns for a wide variety of top-notch brands in the banking, pharmaceutical, personal care, publishing and other industries. She won several agency awards and was a key member of the agency’s management team.
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From the position of trainee conceptualizer/copywriter in 1988, Omowunmi rose to become deputy director (Concept/Copy), heading the Concept/Copy Unit of Promoserve’s Creative Department within a couple of years of joining the agency. One of her key strengths was her sharp focus on addressing creative briefs from a strategic perspective beyond creativity – earning her the title, Madam Strategy, from her colleagues.
In 1997, Omowunmi moved on to join Insight/Grey Communications for a brief stint as group head (Concept/Copy) and then to Twenty-First Century Communications, where she headed the Creative Department as creative director.
In 1999, Omowunmi heeded a call to join STB-McCann as Deputy Associate Director (Concept/Copy) and head of copy, where she worked on global brands and businesses like Coca-Cola, Maggi, Nescafe, Unilever’s Blue Band, Reckitt & Colman’s Dettol, British Airways, Peugeot, UPS, the then Econet, as well as other brands. Her contributions soon earned her the position of Creative Director, with her Agency carting away a good number of creative awards during her tenure.
In 2008, Verdant Zeal Communications, one of the agencies where she had consulted, invited her to join them as director, Business Service and Brand Development – taking her out of her creative comfort zone to put her skills and experience to work in another strategic agency function. As Head of Department, this afforded her the opportunity to broaden her professional horizons and add value from the business and brand end, armed with a deep understanding of the creative process.
Omowunmi served in this capacity until 2010 when she got a call to return to STB-McCann as Executive Director, Creative & Business Development.
In 2013, Omowunmi became STB-McCann’s Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director the following year, a position she held until June 2018 when she moved on to pursue other interests, including becoming an Adjunct Lecturer at the Pan-Atlantic University School of Media & Communication (SMC) and, more recently, appointed as the chairman of APCON’s Advertising Standards Panel (ASP).
Omowunmi has, for a number of years, served on the AAAN LAIF Awards Board and Jury; the AAAN Professional Practices Sub-Committee; and other Industry Committees.
She has over the years attended various on- and off-shore training programmes, seminars and courses on Advertising creativity, marketing communications, brand management, corporate strategic planning, consumer & market research.
Ijedi Iyoha Is a professional advertising regulator with APCON, an agency of the Federal Government charged with the regulation of advertising in Nigeria, where she is currently a director. She is a full member of the advertising profession with vast experience and proven skills of more than two and half decades in Advertising Ethics, Integrated Marketing Communications and related areas.
She has served in various capacities at the council and has represented the council at national and international programmes, delivering lectures in advertising and advertising regulatory topics in diverse spheres.
Mrs. Ijedi Iyoha holds the B.A (ED), M.Sc Mass Communication, certificate and postgraduate diploma in Advertising and Event Management, and Human Resources Management, among others. She acted in the capacity of registrar/DG of APCON for a period of three years. She is a member of the International Advertising Association (IAA).
A motivational speaker, youth and women empowerment executive and inspirational communicator, Mrs. Ijedi Iyoha devotes her time and resources in inspiring young talents to reach their ambitions through constructive engagements in their desired fields of endeavours.
She is blessed with an illustrious husband and three beautiful children.
MARGARET OBIAGELI OLELE
She is the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Secretary of the American Business Council, the voice of American business in Nigeria and the affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce. Prior to this role, she was the corporate affairs director for Pfizer in Nigeria, Ghana, East Africa and Southern African markets responsible for all public affairs and communication engagements in about 15 countries and represented Pfizer on the board of directors of the American Business School.
She played a key role the pharma industry working with different government committees and trade associations, including the Advertising Standards Panel of APCON, BASCAP task force and the Nigerian representative of overseas pharmaceuticals manufacturers, where she served as executive and championed publicity initiatives.
Margaret obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature, a Master of Arts degree in English from the University of Ibadan, a postgraduate diploma in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos and a Master of Science degree in Mass Communication, specializing in Public Relations and Advertising from the same university.