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What does the future of working in advertising look like?

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By Stanislaus Martins, Aleph’s Managing Director for West Africa

If you work in advertising or are considering a career in the field, there’s a good chance you’ve wondered what the industry’s future will look like. And with the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies, that speculation is more relevant than ever.

Stanislaus Martins, Aleph’s Managing Director for West Africa

Will tools like ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot eventually become so sophisticated that they replace copywriters, designers, and illustrators as some have predicted? And even if they don’t, how will they change the skills required for those positions? Outside of those specific roles what skills will be most useful in the future, particularly as digital and physical world advertising become increasingly integrated?

While it would be foolish to make hard and fast predictions, especially for an industry that moves as fast as advertising does, there are a few emergent trends that give us a good idea of where it’s going. Those already working in the sector, or aiming to do so, would do well to look at these trends and understand how they might impact their career trajectories.

Even in an AI world, authenticity still matters

At the start of 2023, numerous headlines were describing how AI tools could easily replace creatives, especially as they become increasingly sophisticated. As the year has progressed, it’s become clear that the picture’s nowhere near that simple. A research paper released in July, for instance, showed that the quality of answers from ChatGPT was nowhere near perfect, and its creators explicitly highlighted the probability of “AI hallucinations” e.g the generation of incorrect or misleading results.It’s also notable that “authentic” was the US dictionary Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2023.

This not only suggests that AI tools may take more time to reach maturity than many thought but also that, even as the technology advances, people still crave authentic experiences. That includes the adverts they’re exposed to daily.

None of this, of course, is to say that AI tools can’t be helpful to creatives. They can be. But making full use of them requires people to build up new skills. You have to know what prompts will give you the output you want, for instance.

Creatives won’t be the only ones who need to develop AI-based skills either. With AI also playing an increasingly important role in things like audience segmentation, ad placement optimisation, and performance analytics, anyone working in those areas will also have to build up their AI skills.

The ongoing integration of physical and digital worlds

A true metaverse, whereby the virtual and physical worlds integrate seamlessly, is still being worked on by tech giants, and the integration of AI will take a huge load off the shoulders of human developers.

There are few areas where that integration is more visible and more relevant than in advertising. Whether it’s a point-of-sale activation that requires people to scan a QR code for a discount or a full-blown augmented reality (AR) campaign, advertising is increasingly at the forefront of showing what’s possible when it comes to the unification of the physical and digital worlds.

That doesn’t only mean in-house marketing teams need to break down the silos between different specialties, it also means that even the out-of-home (OOH) agencies responsible for things like billboards will have to up their digital skills. Digital-first agencies, meanwhile, will have to look at how they can broaden their physical advertising capabilities.

In the face of this kind of unification, those with the skill sets needed to bring these two worlds together will be in high demand. With that in mind, advertising professionals on either side of the divide would do well to grow their physical or digital skills.

Adaptability is everything

What the above two trends show is how important adaptability is in advertising. It’s a fast-moving field where things change all the time. The skills that you have in the industry might not be the ones that keep you growing within it. As such, workers don’t only need to be aware of industry trends but how they might affect them in the future.

Those workers also need to be able to access resources that can help them build up the skills necessary to ride those shifts. It’s something that we’re profoundly aware of at Aleph and is one of the reasons why we launched our Digital Ad Expert platform.

Make no mistake, these shifts won’t be any slower in African markets either. In fact, as the continent continues to experience rapid jumps in connectivity, the continent could leapfrog the rest of the world and set the tone for the future of advertising.

Anyone in the industry or looking to get it into it needs to be ready.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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Under my Watch, NBC will Follow Due Process- New DG

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Charles Ebuebu, new director general, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has promised to follow due process in the regulation of broadcast stations in the country.

Under my Watch, NBC will Follow Due Process- New DG

The new NBC boss made this known in an exclusive interview with Channels Television on Monday after a meeting with Dr John Momoh, chairman, Channels Media Group.

Ebuebu, who replaced Balarabe Illelah as director-general of NBC last October following his appointment by President Bola Tinubu, promised to end any arbitrary sanction on media stations in the country while not sparing consistent wrongs by defaulters.

He said the NBC Code will be reviewed to facilitate an enabling industry that allows operators thrive.

Ebuebu said, “There are two sides to a coin: one one hand, there is a perception that the NBC has been overreaching in the applications of sanctions. It’s been said that we did not follow due process and all of that.

“Basically, the takeaway for me is that, it has been an arbitrary process. Now, part of my training as a lawyer is the fact that we will definietly put together a transparent process. I don’t want to particular details. It’s still in process but I can assure you (that) there is going to be a change in that perception, it’s going to be transparent so much so people will be allowed to speak, they will be allowed to defend themselves.

“The issues will be analysed based on the code. We are going to have a code review where all inputs will be taken in and that will address that perception.

“Now, on the other side of it, it’s sort of strange to have a policeman who cannot issue a fine. of course, the case is in court and I can talk about its legality or otherwise.”


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How New UK Funding for Tech Entrepreneurs will Boost Livelihoods in Developing Countries

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Andrew Mitchell, UK’s Development Minister has announced new UK funding for innovative mobile phone technology will help change lives in developing countries around the world.

He noted that harnessing AI technology to provide real-time agricultural advice to farmers in Nigeria and pay-as-you-go solar powered fridges are just some of the ways UK-funded mobile technology is improving livelihoods globally.

At a speech at Mobile World Congress last week, Minister Mitchell announced the UK is providing £37.3 million of new support for the Mobile for Development Programme, to help more people access mobile and digital technologies to find new opportunities and boost their livelihoods.

The programme, which the UK funds in partnership with UK-based mobile industry association GSMA and the private sector, has already benefitted more than 94 million people and focuses on women and girls, climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience and scaling up innovative solutions.

Minister for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell said: “Mobile technology has the potential to revolutionise the lives of the poor by helping tackle the effects of climate change, creating jobs and boosting opportunities for women.

“The Mobile for Development programme has already benefitted more than 100 million people, and the UK’s new announcement aims to up the ambition, reaching 110 million additional people, including 60 million women.

“Together the worlds of development and mobile tech giants can be a powerful force to unlock opportunities and prosperity and meet the UN Global Goals.”

UK funding has previously helped scale up a digital hub in Pakistan, BaKhabar Kissan (BKK), which provides accurate weather forecasting data to farmers to help them make critical farming decisions such as the timing of seed sowing, irrigation, and fertilisation. With the help of this programme, BKK has almost doubled users from 6.6 million to 12.4 million.

Another innovative business, Ensibuuko, is providing digital skills training to help community saving groups in rural Uganda keep up with the latest digital products and services where previously they relied on paper record-keeping. Since gaining funding, Ensibuuko has benefited over 236,000 members of rural savings groups, 60% of whom are women, providing them with digital skills training.

John Giusti, President of the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation, said:”For more than a decade, the FCDO and the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation have worked closely in partnership to drive socio-economic and climate impact for the most underserved populations through digital innovation, and to date our partnership has improved the lives of more than 127 million people.

“Today’s renewal of our partnership will further amplify our joint impact by leveraging the power of digital and emerging technologies to support innovation, improve access to opportunities for women, and tackle the effects of climate change for the most vulnerable.”

With the increase in climate crises around the world, the need for new solutions to help vulnerable countries adapt is growing and mobile technology can make a big difference to people’s lives.

At Mobile World Congress, GSMA also announced the grantees for its Climate Resilience and Adaptation Fund which is funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. This fund is designed to test and scale up new technology to combat the effects of climate change in countries throughout Africa and Asia.

Some of the projects being funded include one using AI-powered satellite imagery to help smallholder farmers increase their yields and another to reduce food waste via an online grocery platform.


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Omniverse Summit 2024: Climate Action Africa Reiterates Commitment to Climate Innovation Agenda

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Climate Action Africa (CAA), a leading social enterprise focused on environmental sustainability, reaffirmed its commitment to fostering an inclusive climate action ecosystem at the ongoing Omniverse Summit 2024.

Alice Eze, Chief Operating Officer of Climate Action Africa and Olatubosun Alake and Commissioner, Innovation, Science and Technology, Lagos State at the Omniverse Summit 2024 that held in Lagos, Nigeria.

Co-founded by Innovation Support Network (ISN Hubs) with support from GIZ/Digital Transformation Center Nigeria (GIZ/DTC Nigeria), the Omniverse serves as a meeting point for diverse stakeholders across sectors, including development partners, public entities, regulatory agencies, academia, startups, finance professionals, media, and the creative industries.

As a key participant at the four-day event, Climate Action Africa has reaffirmed its commitment to being at the forefront of driving climate innovation for a sustainable future. The organization emphasized the need to integrate environmental sustainability models, technology, and community-driven innovation to address climate change challenges.

Emphasizing the pivotal role of innovation in identifying and scaling solutions to address the imminent climate crisis in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, Alice Eze, Chief Operating Officer of Climate Action Africa, said: “Our participation at The Omniverse Summit 2024 reflects our conviction that fostering innovation is crucial in discovering and amplifying solutions to address the imminent climate crisis, not only in Africa but also globally.”

Climate Action Africa’s participation includes thought-provoking discussions on offering climate-resilient solutions, engaging exhibitions, active involvement in deal room discussions, and cultivating strategic partnerships towards the upcoming Climate Action Africa Forum 2024, among others.

Climate Action Africa remains dedicated to engaging with critical stakeholders and advocating for a multi-stakeholder approach to addressing climate change challenges. The organization’s presence at The Omniverse Summit 2024 reflects its commitment to this collaborative approach, which is essential for knowledge exchange and shared solutions to navigate the complex climate challenges facing the African continent and its communities.

L-R: Alice Eze, Chief Operating Officer of Climate Action Africa and Olatubosun Alake, Commissioner, Innovation, Science and Technology, Lagos State at the Omniverse Summit 2024 that was held in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

 


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