Ilona: World’s Biggest Billboard in Nigeria Will Boost Industry Growth – THISDAYLIVE

2022-09-04 19:59:23 By : Ms. kally Tan

The Chief Executive Officer of Lona Media, Mr. Idoko Ilona, speaks to Raheem Akingbolu on how the outdoor practitioners in Nigeria are faring in the global outdoor rating and how the soon-to-be activated biggest billboard in the world in Lagos, will boost brand management. Excerpts:   

What is your view about the growth in the Nigeria’s out-of-home sub sector of the advertising industry, compared to current global trend?

In the area of innovation and appreciation of the place of technology in today’s practice, I will say Nigerian practitioners are moving appreciatively well in the right direction. When it comes to regulation, I think Lagos and Abuja are showing the way to go; they are leading the way. Why do I say they are leading the way?  Let’s look at it this way. Before now, practitioners pay money to different people but it has now been harmonised. If you practice outdoor in Lagos, you deal with only Lagos Signage and Advertising Agency (LASAA). Also, if you are practicing in Abuja you will have to deal with    The Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS). Those are the only two bodies people deal with and other states too are currently following suit. The reason is simple, regulators know that if the industry is not properly regulated, it will affect the business. 

What impact do you think the outdoor industry will make in the build up to the 2023 election?  

As we can all see with the recent election, vote buying is gradually becoming a thing of the past in Nigeria. If this continues, it will be difficult to rig in a politician who fail to properly project himself or herself.  The truth is that the only way a party can sell its product is to convince people about what they do by selling their product very well. As it stands today, the best way to sell your product is through advertising. Of course, advertising might not be necessary for parties and politicians when the issue of vote buying was rampart because election would be cash and carry. Today, if people don’t know your product, you are in for it. In the past, you see less political ad handled by professionals. Ahead 2023, the entire outdoor landscape would be soaked as politicians will be competing for attention. 

How is the industry faring in the midst of economic quagmire in the country? 

The issue of harsh economy is more of a global issue, which was caused majorly by recession and later COVID-19. Since the outdoor advertising can’t operate in isolation, the effect of the various crisis was felt but it has only toughened the practitioners and given birth to more innovation and creativity.  

Can you speak about OneInfinity, a new offering from your stable?

OneInfinity billboard is the creation of Lona Media. It is set to be the largest advertising billboard in the world. It is 277.4ms by 38m. It will be activated in October 2022. As of today, the largest board in the world is in Dubai. It is about 6230sqms. Oneinfinity is about 10541.2sqms with a display area of 8322.2sqms. The structure is a 12-story building.

Why did you choose Lagos or the Third Mainland Bridge to mount this billboard?

It was supposed to be commissioned in Abuja, but plans changed. We ran into some hitches in Abuja, so, there was a redirect. It is believed that Lagos State is the fourth largest economy in Africa and the most populous city in Africa.

The Third Mainland Bridge has the largest vehicular traffic in Africa, with 245,000 cars traversing the road. It is the bridge between mainland and island Lagos, so, for us, it is the most strategic advertising location anywhere in Nigeria.

The board, for now, is a static board, because of its share size. We can host between five and seven brands on the board, so, it is an advantage. We intend to upgrade it to a Light Emitting Diode (LED) as time goes on. We have spent billions to achieve this and to put up an LED with the current exchange rate would cost us a lot of money and Lona as a company doesn’t have that kind of money for now. So, we have started with the static board, which we intend to upgrade to an LED in the next six months.

How long does it take from conception to commissioning?

The plan was mooted in 2015, got a company Nivafer Engineering and Construction, one of the leading steel fabricating companies in Nigeria and we signed a contract with Nivafer in 2016. From 2016, till the next two weeks, when the project will be 100 per cent completed.

A lot has gone in and it is a multi-billion-naira project divided into two phases. Phase one, for now, is the billboard, which we have accomplished. Phase two will follow after the completion of phase one, which is the entire landmass of about 9.6 hectares. We intend to beautify and bring in some additional recreational activities within the Third Mainland Bridge vicinity.

We are trying to give Nigerians — individuals, big companies, especially indigenous Nigerian companies — the opportunity to be on the largest advert board in the world. Any company that advertises on this board for now, anytime in the next five to 10 years, when the story of the biggest billboard in the world is being told, your brand will be there.

In October when we will be unveiling the board, the world will see what we are bringing is dynamic, entirely different and amazing.

What are the advantages for advertisers to be on the board?

To be on the board means to be on the biggest outdoor platform in the world. Though activation is for one month to six weeks, but thereafter, long after the six weeks activation period, for the next five to nine years, anybody that advertises on the board whenever the story of the biggest board in the world is told, his or her brand would be prominent. And we are going to do extensive marketing for OneInfinity, so any company that activates on the board would be linked up, whereby the company’s website can be linked to OneInfinity’s website. It is a forever partnership. Whenever the story of OneInfinity is told, any company that is part of the activation will also be featured

Can you tell us more about Lona Media?

Lona Media was incorporated in 2006. And we introduced the LED boards that are seen all over the country. We installed the first LED in Nigeria in 2006. We also built the first LED in Lagos at the Muritala Muhammad International Airport. We built the biggest board in Africa in 2015 and we are about to conquer the world.

Founded on January 22, 1995, THISDAY is published by THISDAY NEWSPAPERS LTD., 35 Creek Road Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria with offices in 36 states of Nigeria , the Federal Capital Territory and around the world. It is Nigeria’s most authoritative news media available on all platforms for the political, business, professional and diplomatic elite and broader middle classes while serving as the meeting point of new ideas, culture and technology for the aspirationals and millennials. The newspaper is a public trust dedicated to the pursuit of truth and reason covering a range of issues from breaking news to politics, business, the markets, the arts, sports and community to the crossroads of people and society.

You can email us at: or visit our contact us page.