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‘How Goodvertising can create egalitarian country’

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A cross section of attendees at the 60th birthday celebration and lecture presentation of Dean of School of Communication, Lagos State University (LASU), Professor Olurotimi Williams Olatunji, recently in Lagos


The Head of Department, Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan, Prof. Ayobami Ojebode, has emphasised the need for agency executives as well as brand executives to use goodvertising to create an egalitarian society that will address practices and values that lie behind the nation’s problems.

In his address at the 60th birthday celebration of Professor Rotimi Olatunji, Dean of School of Communication, Lagos State University (LASU), last week, Professor Ojebode noted that the importance of goodvertising to the development of the country couldn’t be over emphasised.

Speaking on the topic ‘Goodvertising and the search for a place called country’, he stated that in 2012, a man called Thomas Kolster wrote a book where he introduced the concept of goodvertising. In his words, goodvertising is advertising that is “a force for good”.

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In the words of Minar ‘Goodvertising’ [is] the inclination of brands to communicate about topics of goodness for the whole of society, and even on social change… [It] is a brand’s statement on serious issues which affect society, often with the intention of changing the world and human thinking.Profitmaking, he said, is important. However, of what use is profit in a world that knows no peace? Should the peace of the world not, therefore, concern the advertiser?

He added, “Goodvertising tackles the fundamental behaviour, practices, values and beliefs that lie behind our daily problems. Greed, violence, indiscretion, corruption, wastefulness, obscene display of wealth, nepotism are the underlying fuels behind most of our national woes, and the reason for the massive search for a place called country.”He said goodvertising can strengthen the arms of organisations and agencies that are primarily set up to tackle wrong values. “For instance, if the message of #Like-a-girl was part of our socialisation – that is, the need to respect and support the girl child, and help her realise her full potential – if that message was part of us, would there have been less gender-based violence than we have right now? Would men abusing and violating their wives have learnt to behave differently? Would women stabbing their husbands to death or lacing their drink with rat poison have behaved differently too? Would there have been much more domestic peace than we have, with fewer widows, orphans and women and men convicted of spousal murder? In my view, there is very much goodvertising can do to help us find that just, egalitarian society … a land full of opportunities for all citizens.”

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For the academic, ‘good advertising is also not the same as good advertising – that is, advertising that is beautifully produced, captivating and irresistible. Pieces of goodvertising may have these qualities, but that is not what make them qualify as goodvertising.”

He said, “Goodvertising is not social marketing. Social marketing employs the principles of commercial marketing to promote social good and the overall welfare of people. This has been employed in the marketing of family planning services, and other public health campaigns. It is essentially the application of the five Ps of marketing (product, price, place, promotion, and positioning) to ignite behavioural change. Goodvertising may also seek to promote healthy living and social good, but it does not offer products or services. Rather, it leverages on the existing brand visibility to call attention to fundamental problems in society and sometimes, to how a brand is responding to this problem.”

Conclusively, he asked: “Would goodvertising solve all our problems? The answer is an absolute no. It would, however, not only keep them in the front burner for discussion but also equip us to tackle them by unveiling the fundamental beliefs and values that fuel the problems. Goodvertising would serve as fodder for national and individual introspection when problems arise. Working with other factors, it would help us redefine ourselves as a nation, and quicken our realisation of that place called country.

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“Evaluating goodvertising would be a challenge because we are addicted to a cost-benefit analysis that is expressed in naira and kobo. For conventional advertising, evaluation is about if or not sales increase and stronger consumer loyalty can be felt or proven. In goodvertising, that is not the case.

“As a country bedeviled by so many heaps of garbage – high maternal mortality, high unemployment rate, huge levels of corruption, threat to press freedom – we cannot ignore the promise of long-term rebirth and renewal that goodvertising offers. It is important to promote our products and seek profit; it is however, equally, if not more, important to seek to make this geographical entity a place called country.”

The dignitaries present also described Prof Olatunji as a great and humble man that radiates the fear of God. Specifically, The Vice Chancellor LASU, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagboun, described Olatunji as a man of great courage and integrity that is needed to change the country’s narrative. In the words of Prof Lai Oso, Olatunji is “a diligent man that is student centred.”

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