Alozie, Emmanuel C. Books
Dr. Emmanuel C. Alozie is University Professor of Media Communications at Governors State University with a Ph.D. from Southern Mississippi. He has taught at Lincoln University, Shaw University, and Edward Waters College and has worked professionally in advertising, public relations, marketing and journalism. He has published refereed articles and reviews in academic journals, conference proceedings, and has contributed book chapters. He has also presented his scholarly works at national and international conferences. Dr. Alozie serves as an Assistant Editor for Democratic Communiqué, and co-edited Toward the Common Good: Perspectives in International Public Relations (2004, Ally & Bacon). He has received many academic fellowships and awards from various organizations.2005 0-7734-6162-0
Few studies have examined the cultural reflections and the role of advertising in the national development of Nigerian or other African countries. This study, which explored the meaning of development, the debate on the role of culture and mass media on social modernization, African political economy as well as Nigerian history, politics, economic and communication development efforts, serves as an attempt to bridge that gulf. The study focused on the role of advertising in the process of social mobilization and modernization in Nigeria by examining the cultural reflections, the nature and characteristics of the messages, and the values and symbols conveyed in Nigerian mass media advertisements. In order to accomplish the task, the study used content and ideological analyses to analyze 500-plus advertisements published or aired in the last quarter of 1998 and the first quarter of 1999.
The study’s findings demonstrated the difficulty of ascertaining the role of the mass media including advertising on a nation’s social, economic and national development and modernization. However, some of the conclusions drawn from the exploration could be summarized as follows: (1) The Nigerian government as well as native-owned enterprises and public corporations do not use advertising adequately to promote their goods and services; (2) Nigerian advertisers used both Western or traditional African cultural values, but neither of them dominated the other; (3) Developmental themes were found in Nigerian mass media advertisements, but they tended to concentrate on individual instead of group goals as traditional African value system dictates; (4) The nature and target(s) of advertisements in Nigerian mass media demonstrated that the Nigerian economy is distorted and underdeveloped; (5) The underdeveloped nature is clearly demonstrated because the majority of consumer products and services advertised in Nigeria were of foreign origin and mostly non-essential; (6) The products advertised often targeted the elites because the Nigerian masses could not afford them; (7) Financial advertisements were the most dominant products and services of Nigerian origin; (80 Broadcast advertisements seemed to be more “democratic” than print advertisements because they promoted more products and services that the average Nigerian could afford.
This study demonstrated that advertising holds both promises and problems for Nigerian economic and social development. Its promises deal with its ability to relay useful information on social issues and on the availability of goods and services to the masses. On the other hand, the problems deal with its ability to promote unfair competition, consumerism, lack of interest in social matters, and immoral attitudes, which could distort the economy or undermine traditional values and national economy. However, advertising should be encouraged, not discouraged. It could be monitored by practitioners and government officials in order to make the medium an effective vehicle for promoting goods and services as well as values that would assist the socioeconomic development of Nigeria. Advertising remains an important vehicle for the various tiers of Nigerian government to use for promoting their services and for explaining national issues in order to promote national integration and the social welfare of the masses.
The use of advertising to promote socioeconomic development could be achieved by adopting “developmental advertising.” The idea calls for the incorporation of relevant cultural values and developmental themes in product and service advertisements by the private and public sectors. The goal is to help public corporations and businesses in marketing their products and services, thus enabling Nigeria’s economic and social growth. It could assist Nigerians to adopt useful modernization habits.