Hoardings Called a Top Promotion Channel in Africa


Banners and hoardings – the public placement of billboards or large print advertisements – are one of the leading channels in Africa for lubricant promotion, industry sources and a new study agree.

Market research firm MarketsandMarkets published a study last month stating that hoardings and banners is the leading brand promotion channel in the African automotive lubricants market. This is due to the fact that it is the most convenient and effective medium to reach out to the end users, the Pune, India-based firm stated in a news release. The study is Automotive Lubricants for Africa – Brand Awareness, Market Share, Sales Channel Analysis and Market Size & Forecast to 2020.

Emmanuel Ekpenyong, head of lubricants for Honeywell Oil and Gas Ltd. in Lagos, Nigeria, said that banners and hoardings are much more effective, convenient and in most cases, cheaper. They are much more effective than TV for reaching out to the buyers of automotive lubricants.

Ekpenyong explained that hoardings and banners play a leading role in lubricants promotion because they can penetrate the most remote of areas, unlike television. They can be hung on shop walls, in open markets, in mechanic garages, on sidewalks, roadsides, curbs. Television advertising is adversely affected by factors like absence of electricity, difficulty reaching people with low income, regulation by government agencies and lack of terrestrial TV signals in remote areas, Ekpenyong added.

Unichem South Africa Director of Operations Same Akram said, In more outlying areas, the view that hoardings and banners are more effective than television is fairly accurate. In more urban areas, they are still effective, he added, but South Africa has a growing middle class with rising levels of disposable income, and it is impressionable for advertising campaigns. Akram concluded though, that the most effective medium of lubricants promotion is still at fuels retail stations because this is where the vast majority of users are targeted.

Rami Al Kinanny, general manager for Hi Tech Oils and Grease in Egypt, said hoardings and banners is the most effective channel for lubricant branding because the end user is a driver or vehicle owner, who one way or another is on the road much of the time. On the other hand, in Africa, not all TV viewers are vehicle owners or drivers. So media planning becomes a serious challenge to reach different segments such as diesel engine oils and petrol engines, Al Kinanny said. Truck drivers who account for a huge percentage of the target audience – which is not a small amount – do not necessarily have time to watch TV, he said.

Sources in some markets argued that television is the more effective advertising medium.

In Kenya the scenario is very different. TV coverage is very significant – more than 80 percent of the country, said Richard Mugambi, lubricants sales manager for Gulf Energy in Kenya. In fact, its made better by the fact that there are so many TV channels including regional [stations] that make it easier to tailor messages that can resonate with specific tribes or communities in a given region.

So from this point of view TV is more effective in Kenya. However, wall branding and banners go a long way to reinforce the message, Mugambi said. In my view, TV gives life to an advert in the sense that there is emphasis on a specific product feature in a way that a banner may not. TV communicates a feeling among the consumers of a quality product, a serious company that is confident about its product, etc., while seeing a branded wall reminds the consumer of what they heard or saw on TV.

Mugambi, criticized as over simplistic MarketsandMarkets assertion that hoardings and banners is the leading channel, saying the firm made the mistake of treating Africa as if it was a country rather than a continent.

Ekpenyong opined that lube marketers in Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, have used a number of means to effectively promote their products, including road shows based on events that spotlight rigs or trucks, free automotive services at designated service centers, handbills, radio and dissemination of promotional materials.

Similarly, Akram noted that South Africa is a very brand-conscious market, and there is also a strong motor sports following and car enthusiasts following. Therefore a good number of effective promotions are run to target these end users.

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