Okeme of Unilever Emerges New ADVAN President, Promises To Make ADVAN’s Nigeria Centre Of Gravity

The Director of Brand Building, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Mr. David Okeme has emerged the new president of the Advertisers Association of Nigeria, ADVAN.

He polled 11 votes to beat a contender, the Commercial Director of Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Mr. Kachi Onabogu who polled 4 votes at the Annual General Meeting of the association this evening. ‎

Okeme took over from Mr. Kola Oyeyemi, the General Manager; Consumer Marketing at MTN.

Mr. David Okeme serves as Director of Brand Building (Home & Personal Care) at Unilever Nigeria Plc. Also as the Director of Brand Building (Foods) at Unilever Nigeria Plc and served as its Head of Brand Building.

He said, “In terms of focus, I think the EXCO will shift the focus a bit and that shift will be moving from being a pressure group to an enabler of growth in the industry. There is a Nigeria market agenda that we have and we are going to leverage on it. Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa and when you talk about advertising platform, people tend to go south of the continent but this EXCO will work to make Nigeria the centre of gravity in advertising. These are real big ambitions and we will mobilise our partners to make this happen.”

Okeme lamented that about a million dollars is spent every year in terms of advertising, adding, “that is a very big investment but if you look at the kind of returns that we get, it shows that growth among our members is between zero and five per cent.

According to him, with the high level of investment that goes into advertising, the advertisers are not getting a level of growth that they expect. “So one of the things that ADVAN we look into is how to leverage on the industry such that we can build greater efficiency in terms of advertising returns,” he said.

While commending the immediate past executive, led by Kola Oyeyemi, the General Manager; Consumer Marketing at MTN, Okeme stated that the new administration would create an engine on how to drive consumer and include them in the industry. “We will do something on consumer inclusion. There are still lot of Nigerians who are in rural areas who are still not getting the information that we are churning out. We will think of how to unlock that and how to ensure that we bring new people into this category,” he said.

He emphasised on the rising technology in the advertising industry, describing it as a tool and the needed enabler that the new executives would pull to grow at a faster rate. “We have to grow at the faster rate so that the level of investment in advertising will be more and that’s how we can quickly become more mature. 

This is our agenda for this executive committee that is being sworn in today. And the enabler of that project will be technological advertising. We need to become better in understanding our consumers in terms of understanding their media consumption habit and how to leverage on that to reach them and become effective,” he said.

Another enabler, according to Okeme is how to build the capability and capacity of players in the industry, adding, “ ADVAN will facilitate training programmes and knowledge based activities so that he entire value chain from creative agencies to production agencies through advertisers and advertising platforms are able to get capability to build efficiency. It’s going to be win-win scenario where all the key players will be involved to be part of that change.

With over 18 years of experience in Customer Marketing, Brand Development and Brand Building, David returns to Unilever Nigeria as Brand Building Director, following three years as the Regional Brand Development Manager for Unilever’s … Oral Care business in the Gulf.

He is a Fellow of the National Institute of Marketing in Nigeria, and an alumnus of London and Wharton Business Schools. He joined Unilever Nigeria in 1992 with an Honours Degree in English from the University of Jos.

Speaking shortly after the victory, Okeme called for a new relationship among players as he posited that the advertisers are yet to gain enough from the huge amount of money they have invested in advertising.
He solicited for the support of other members of the executive to enable his administration to step up from where Oyeyemi had stopped.

“I was a member of the past administration led by Kola Oyeyemi that did well for ADVAN, this administration will create new initiative and you have to wait and see what we will bring on board,” he said.