Steve Babaeko needs no introduction when advertising in Nigeria and Africa is the subject. Since his intention to run for the president of the Association of Advertising Agencies in Nigeria (AAAN) broke the internet just about a week ago, the industry has seen some hyper activities as players freely expressed the desire to support the vision of the youngest president (yet to as the time of filing) in the annals of the nearly 50 years association. He made history yesterday, as he was elected at the Annual Genera; meeting of the Association of Advertising Agencies in Nigeria (AAAN), as the new and youngest President of the advertising body.
The teaser that led the campaign had curiously presented a Steve contesting for the Presidency, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Anyway, such was the anxiety and palpitation that greeted the “is this guy crazy” curiosity created within the target populace as they looked forward to seeing what Steve was up to.
The reveal wasn’t disappointing either as stevebabaeko.com – the campaign website methodically dished out the AAAN presidential aspirant’s vision and manifesto among other vital information.
Though, on a solo-run for the presidential slot, Steve leaves no stone unturned, in his campaign efforts. The campaign apart from being heavy on social media and digital-led, one-on-one consultations and cold call interactions play a pivotal role in gaining industry acceptance and support. All these further cements and burnish the overt goodwill the aspirant enjoys as a bridge builder across divides and purpose-driven practitioner and businessman.
As his election to the position of Vice President two years ago, marked a watershed and “up-the-ante” in AAAN electioneering process, the on-going electioneering contest, in the spirit of defeating COVID-19 pandemic, moved the frontline to the digital battlefield with equal diligence and innovation.
One wonders, why the fuss, pressure, and hard work especially as the election is more or less a mission-accomplish for Steve. But hell no! Steve is not given to suffer-fools gladly, he is also a believer in the dictum, “what is worth doing at all is worth doing well”. He does just that putting his mind and soul into his pursuits. That explained why he dedicated so much time and other resources including goodwill towards actualizing the vision of leading the association to its next growth phase.
Working with the now popular and apt theme – “ADvancing together”, Steve explained in his well oiled and coordinated digital campaigns across his social media handles – Facebook, Instagram, and Website among others, the import and meaning of the campaign slogan for all interested parties to see beyond the often amorphous veil.
As a known fighter, who doggedly and diligently fought his way through for his X3M Ideas to become a member of the association about 8 years ago, members and friends who urged him on in his campaign believe he warehouses so much more fire to “walk the talk” and take the association to the envisioned new heights.
Advancing Together for Steve according to his manifesto means – “We make LAIF better by giving the industry’s local award show more international flair and appeal”; “Empower more Women – by kick-starting the journey towards gender balance in the leadership of AAAN; “Build a world-class Academy” – This is aimed at helping the industry secure its future through the education of newbies and re-education of oldies via a standard advertising academy.
He also plans to “make AAAN more visible” – With this, the new tenure wants to ensure AAAN is more visible to the government and in the lives of fellow practitioners, especially when it comes to protecting industry’s common interests; just as the vision also incorporates fostering unity and healthy competition between all agencies in marketing communications.
These visions and plans are not new altogether! However, most of these have become just mere expressions and elusive to the average practitioner and to the detriment of the industry. Now is the time to take the bull by the horn, “break the glass ceiling, push the envelope” as Babaeko often says. Incidentally, he walks the talks in most of his submissions and the way he runs X3M Ideas and its many spin-offs including agencies located off-shore. These are testaments to the great strides he has recorded over the years.
His rise has been meteoric. Rising from a rookie copywriter at the back-end of operation in MCA to becoming a creative /business director of the fastest-growing agency, 141-Worldwide all within 14 years revealed some uncanny brilliance and unalloyed passion.
Same excitement and enthusiasm he has deployed in gunning his X3M Ideas group to the forefront in creativity, business and client base, and maybe, billings too; he also regularly represents the face of Nigeria Advertising at global Ad meets and events. This maverick status can be extended to and for the good of the industry. Suffice to add that, polls on most loved companies to work in the industry have consistently placed the agency on the front roll. He never failed to give credits.
Giving credit to the fore-fathers of industry and leaders, Steve in one of his campaign messages highlighted the industry’s envious beginning, “In 1973, a group of visionary ad practitioners came together to chart a revolutionary new path for the advertising industry. Through grit and a unity of purpose, the Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria (AAPN) was born”.
Today, 47 years later, spotted the reason “we must be driven by the same old purpose of advancing our interests within and beyond Nigeria’s marketing communications landscape, he said.
“It is my firm belief that we cannot afford to lose hope. We must not lose faith in our industry, in ourselves, nor in our capability to bring the much-desired change for our industry. That is why I present myself to lead the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) as President”, he declared. Just as he wants this to ring in the hearts of members as the association goes to the poll to berth a new era for the association