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Sponsorship Around the World: Nigeria Edition

Sponsorship Around the World: Nigeria Edition

6 Minute Read

• Nigeria has experienced a rising economy in the past 15 years, providing a new opportunity for marketers to meet consumer demand

• Nigeria`s most famous soccer players participate in the English Premier League creating a large following for the league in Nigeria

• Nigeria`s active film industry produces a number of stars which have been leveraged by brands as endorsers

Sponsorship Around the World is a series published by MKTG appearing in our Friday Insights feature. Sponsorship Around the World will take you to different countries to highlight sponsorship trends and best practices from outside North America. For each installment, MKTG will provide an overview of key insights from a different global market. For the third installment, MKTG travels to Nigeria to study their sponsorship landscape:

When looking to emerging international markets, a number of regions are discussed as a lucrative opportunity for marketers. A key identifier of any emerging market is the growth in the middle class. With increasing disposable income, an opportunity is created for marketers to unlock value. Such is the case when studying Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. The country is experiencing an economic resurgence and provides a new opportunity for sponsorship marketers. MKTG discusses 5 sponsorship insights regarding Nigeria:

1. An emerging economy paves the way for sponsors

Thanks to its large supply of natural resources and strong sectors in financial, legal, and entertainment, Nigeria has seen their economy grow in recent years. In 2014, Nigeria surpassed South Africa as the largest economy in Africa. This is also in large part due to their implementation of democracy in 1999. Since 1999, Nigeria has seen strong economic growth with the World Bank classifying the country as an “emerging market”. The country is also heavily populated with over 180 million citizens and their largest city Lagos, is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, growing at an annual rate of 4.14%. This large population and economic fortune, provides sponsorship marketers with a new market to speak to. As the citizens have more income, the “brand” of a product plays a larger role in their purchase decisions and sponsorship can be an effective tool to help drive brand value. The increased marketing in Nigeria is evident by the total spend of advertisers in the country. Spending has increased nearly 500% from 2001 to 2010 ($129 million to $834 million CAD). The increase in advertising spending has correlated with the strengthening economy. Advertisers understand that a society with greater disposable income will be more open to marketing initiatives.

2. Homegrown talent give the English Premier League a large following

Soccer is by far the most popular sport in the country. Nigeria has their own domestic league and their national team has had success on the international stage. The country has qualified for the World Cup on five occasions and in 1994 they were the fifth ranked team in the world, the highest for any African nation. Nigeria has also seen a number of their player go on to compete at a higher level in other leagues. Over the years there have been multiple Nigerian born players compete in the English Premier League (EPL) and currently there are eight active Nigerians on EPL teams. This has created a strong following in the EPL with 60% of Nigerians considering themselves strong followers of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, or Liverpool. This strong following has given opportunity for teams to enter into regional sponsorships in Nigeria. Last year, Manchester United entered into a regional partnership with Nigerian drink Chi, to become the official soft drink partner in Nigeria. Manchester United reports having 35 million Nigerian followers. Chi is able to connect with that large fan base and promote their brand. With the rising middle class and growing economy, Nigeria could prove to be a target for future regional partnerships with other EPL teams.

3. The Nigerian north-south divide brings different customs sponsors should be aware of

The country of Nigeria can be split into two distinct regions, the north and the south. The north of the country is largely conservative and adhere to very strict customs, while the south is more liberal and holds less traditional values. As a result, advertisers have seen a better return on their investment when advertising in the south. The head of the Advertiser Association of Nigeria has said that there is an overwhelming concentration of advertising in the south compared to the north, with 50% of the country`s ad revenue coming from the southern city of Lagos. Advertisers have stated how they could not run the same ad in both the south and the north. Creating a separate ad for the north and the south can make for a more costly investment for advertisers. For sponsor that are looking to enter into Nigeria, they need to be aware of the divide and realize that activations should either be localized to the south or tailored depending on the region.

4. Nigeria’s film industry has produced a number of endorsers for brands

Nigeria is home to a large film industry dubbed “Nollywood”. By production numbers, Nollywood is the second largest movie industry behind India’s Bollywood and ahead of Hollywood. In 2014, the Nigerian government released data stating Nollywood was a $3 billion industry. With such a large film industry, there are a number of notable Nigerian film stars. While Nigerian actors are not well known internationally, they enjoy high recognition in their own country. Globacom, the largest telecom company in Nigeria, is very active in sport supporting a number of properties including the national soccer team, but do not have an athlete as an endorser. Instead, their endorsement roster is made up of multiple Nollywood actors. Of Globacom’s 28 endorsers, about half are actors and the rest are musicians. Globacom’s endorser roster demonstrates the value Nollywood celebrities can bring to a brand.

5. Nigeria's vibrant culture has elevated ethnic festivals as an investment platform

Nigeria is home to a very diverse population with over 521 languages spoken and multiple ethnic groups. As a result of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, there are a number of different festivals that take place throughout the country celebrating their heritage. One major festival is the Calabar Carnival which lasts the entire month of December. It is known as “Africa’s Biggest Street Party” and attracts 2 million spectators and 50 million viewers on TV. The Calabar Carnival has attracted sponsors such as Guinness and First Bank, Nigeria’s largest bank. Nigeria also hosts a number of religiously significant festivals which attract sponsor interest due to the large attendance generated by these properties. The Ojude Oba Festival is held three days after the Muslim holiday Eid and last year was sponsored by the telecom company Globacom. The large and frequent festivals give sponsors a chance to engage with a large audience. They are also present at a time when consumers are in a celebratory mood, giving them a more positive association.

Highlighting different attitudes and interests from various international regions is an important practice for sponsorship marketers. It helps to identify challenges and opportunities a different region provides. MKTG will continue to profile a variety of countries and if you have a market you are interested in learning more about, let us know in the comment section below or email us at insights@mktg.com.

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