LAGOS: African agencies should be striving to meet international standards, a leading industry figure has said.

Lanre Adisa, managing director of creative agency Noah's Ark Communications, told All Africa that even though local agencies were addressing a Nigerian audience, those same people had access to cable and satellite TV and were aware of what the rest of the world was watching.

He explained that he regarded any creative work that came his way as material meant for international competition. And he spoke as a man whose agency was the first in Nigeria to be recognised by Cannes Lions.

It was not, he added, that what local agencies were doing should necessarily appeal to an audience outside Nigeria but "there is a universal language which should be the standard". That involved innovative ideas that were "fresh, unexpected and exceptional".

He was critical of some in the industry with their lazy use of technology and a "copying and pasting" approach. "The idea must come first," he declared, while technology could simply "garnish" the work of creativity.

He noted that such creativity had been lacking at the recent Lagos Advertising Ideas Festival, where just six gold awards had been won to set alongside 28 silver and 45 bronze. (Noah's Ark itself won one gold, four silver and seven bronze medals.)

But Brand analyst Akinwunmi Dickson preferred to see the presence of new agencies on the LAIF medal table as a rebirth for the industry.

"What we are witnessing presently, as shown in the results reeled out at LAIF Awards, is the emergence of the real creative guys in the industry," he told the Nigerian Tribune.

"Advertising thrives on creativity, and the fact that we are seeing the relatively young agencies displacing much older ones on the medal table is an attestation to that fact,” he added.

In the past Adisa has suggested that Nigeria has socio-economic similarities with India but it was Indian creative works which had won international recognition. He argued that Western values had eaten deep into Nigerian creative works, whereas India, although also colonised by Britain, had imbibed local content in its work.

Warc subscribers can read here how locally owned brands across Asia, and particularly in India, are raising their game and how social media has become the most-used channel in the region.

Data sourced from This Day, Nigerian Bulletin; additional content by Warc staff