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Cultural relevance and ‘relatability’ in advertising

Radio is s powerful tool for marketing communication , the influence of radio is premised on its portability , accessibility and affordability . Nigeria has about 82 AM radio stations and over 50 FM stations. There are 11 short-wave stations in the country.

Throughout the country there are over 25 million radios sets however every mobile phone has an embedded radio thus making radio more accessible than newspaper , television and the internet because mobile phone penetration in Nigeria is nearly 90% at the present. It is therefore not surprising that advertisers still use radio in disseminating their marketing communication.

Currently, airing is an advertisement by a brand we decided to call Brand X. In the advertisement a tenant decided to take up a tenement because the communal toilet is very clean, so clean that the couple in the advert decided to pay for six years . We find a whole lot wrong with this advert because it is in abeyance with basic truth in our society.

First , the couple couldn’t be so impressed with communal convenience that they would opt to pay for six years instead of the traditional two years . As a matter of fact, government requires a maximum of one year rent instead of two that the agent is requesting in the advert much more six years !

Second, in our culture every person desires independence associated with property ownership . We do not celebrate tenancy as it is the case in the advertisement by brand x. This is a misrepresentation of who we are .

Third , the advertisement shows desperation and a departure of what a good copy should look like. The story line is not relatable and culturally correct.

According to marketing communication guru and link specialist at Kantar Nigeria, Abidemi Junaid , a good advert must convey basic and common sensical truth. It must have the potency to cut through the clutter – be distinctive.

It must deliver the brand message in a simple linear manner .It has to be linked to the brand, high brand memorability is key, no branding, no impression, Junaid opines.

A good Ad must leave a lasting impression in the mind of the audience about the brand.

It should induce purchase intention or call to action in favour of the brand. It must be in alignment to reality and must dovetail with cultural truth relatable to all concerned. Brand x is in abeyance of all the points mentioned above.

It must be enjoyable and draw the attention of the audience. essentially, good radio ad must be interesting, involving and distinctive. If so, it would definitely be actively received by the audience. So we wonder if Nigerians would celebrate an advert that is urging them to remain in permanent tenancy because the toilet is clean . Communal toilets by our experience are not clean hence people desire personal toilets that they can use safely without the fear of picking up diseases.

Vibrancy is key for a radio Ad to be successful. The vibrancy should be balanced with a simple linear storyline. This is present in the advert but the story line is not fitting.

Finally, exaggerated claims make the Ad to lose its relevance and credibility. Hence, brand appeal is low when we over exaggerate the execution and message. It would be nice to see this advertisement updated with hints given above taken into consideration.

Michael Umogun is a business development specialist and deputy registrar at Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administration of Nigeria.

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