STB McCann risks AAAN sanction over N5bn Airtel account

By Princewill Ekwujuru

The N5 billion Airtel Network Limited account taken over by STB Mc-Cann may have landed them in trouble as they are about to face sanction from the umbrella body of advertising agencies; Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN, for accepting the account.

This, according to report, is contrary to an industry agreement to reject all Airtel briefs pending the resolution of a legal dispute between Prima Garnet Ogilvy and Ogilvy Africa and its new agency, Scanad Nigeria.

The Airtel account, estimated at N5 billion, became a subject of litigation after the telecoms firm withdrew the account from Prima Garnet Ogilvy, PG, one of Nigeria’s leading advertising agencies and its global affiliate, Ogilvy & Mather.

Prima Garnet accused Ogilvy of establishing a new agency, Scanad Nigeria, owned by a Kenya-based Scangroup, which had reportedly acquired 51 percent of Ogilvy Africa in a share swap to take over the account contrary to the terms of their affiliation agreement, which it said confers the right to all Ogilvy accounts in Nigeria to PG.

But while the Lagos State High Court on December 19, 2012 had ordered that all parties in the dispute maintained the status quo pending the determination of substantive matter, the Board of Trustees and the Executive Board of AAAN had also issued a directive to all member agencies not to accept the Airtel account until that matter was resolved.

However, after a newspaper report (not Vanguard) published on Sunday, March 10, revealed that Airtel had appointed STB McCann as an interim agency, the newly appointed Managing Director, Mr. Anwar Saeed, was issued a query on March 13 by AAAN to explain the agency’s position on the report; the process leading to the agency’s appointment as an interim agency of Airtel Nigeria and to state the ethical consideration in the acceptance of the offer/business of Airtel Nigeria.

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