• Monday, May 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

Absence of competitive law cause of ‘guerilla marketing’ – analysts

marketing

Lack of appropriate law to guide competition in the country has been linked to the silence so far displayed by regulatory authorities to the alleged marketing incongruity in the brewing industry.

In the last few months, the media have been awash with reports of blames of what an analyst described as alleged ‘guerilla marketing’ between the two brewery giants in Nigeria, but neither the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, Retailers Association of Nigeria nor any other agency has taken action against the ongoing alleged unwholesome marketing practice.

Guerrilla marketing used to be a strategy by small and medium sized businesses, but these days it is increasingly being adopted by big businesses. The concept of guerrilla marketing rises from an unconventional system of promotion that relies on cutting corners, outwitting competition through raw energy and imagination, rather than a conventional big advertising budget.

Typically, guerrilla marketing campaigns are unexpected and unconventional method targeted at unexpected places.

It is alleged that a brewer is going about inducing retailers not to accept the products of the competitor.

Another analyst, who spoke with BusinessDay in condition of anoymity, linked this quietness over the raging issue by agencies to absence of powers by any of the agencies to tackle the issue.

A source close to the CPC head office said the agency, which is against monopoly and in support of consumer right, was yet to take a position on the alleged guerilla marketing in the beer industry, while a source in APCON told BusinessDay that nothing at the moment violeted the APCON code.s

The analyst, who agreed that any retailer was free to sell any product of his/her choice, said it was wrong when another body induced the retailer not to accept the products of a competitor.

According to him, one of the players may be capitalising on a gap in the system to engage in such guerrilla marketing. “The issue borders on competition. In Nigeria as of today, we do not have competition law. Stakeholders have made a case for competition law to be passed, which is before the National Assembly. The law is at second reading at the assembly. The content of the law goes to the root of stopping monopoly and ensuring fair play by businessmen,” he said.

He believed that the Federal Competition Commission Bill before the National Assembly when passed would be a legislative guide in the regulation of such competition among Nigerian businesses.

“The need to ensure fairness in economic activity has always been part of Nigerian economic principles. However, no legislative activity has been carried on to achieve this end on an industry wide basis. It would appear that owing to the previous status of public ownership and monopoly over major commercial enterprises and means of production, there was really no point in regulating competition as most public entities enjoyed exclusive or special rights as a result of their nature as government entities,” Francesca Aihevba, said, while assessing the competition bill in a report online.

Disturbed by the ongoing de-marketing issue among brewing industry, Consumer Rights Advocacy Network of Nigeria in a recent publication called on relevant government agencies, including the CPC and the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria to take action against what it called the ongoing pirate marketing practices in the alcoholic beverage industry.

It said “evidence points to the fact that a prominent brewery is de-marketing its competitor by inducing distributors and retailers not to take on, display or sell the products of their competitor,” describing the practice as a crime against the consumer.

 

Daniel Obi