|An electoral official takes stock of new ballot boxes. Advertising spending by politicians is expected to rise [Photo: Mbugua Kibera/ Standard]|
By Jackson Okoth
A leading presidential candidate in Kenya’s March 2013 polls is reportedly to have snapped up all available billboards of a major outdoor advertising company.
This strategy of holding on to all spaces, located on prime locations in Nairobi and other major urban centres, is creating a frenzy as other contenders rush for the remaining outdoor advert spaces.
Demand for outdoor advertising spaces is not only confined to presidential candidates. A candidate vying for the seat of Governor for Nairobi is also reported to have booked heavily on all spaces offered by yet another big player in the outdoor advertising business.
The emerging trend that is expected to heat up towards December and early 2013 will dramatically lift the country’s ads spend, especially outdoor advertising revenue currently estimated at Sh4 billion annually.
With six seats up for grabs in the 2013 polls, advertising spend by politicians is expected to rise through the roof as each candidate struggles to maintain visibility in this crowded field.
Available figures indicate that in 2008, annual advertising spend was Sh20 billion rising to Sh 62.4 billion in 2011. According to data from Ipsos Synovate, in the first quarter of 2012, Sh 18.3 billion had been spent in advertising. In the same period last year (2011), the figure was Sh 12 billion. These figures are exclusive of online and outdoor advertising.
The Sh18 billion reflects the total value of the advertising booked without taking the discounts and value addition provided by the media houses.
It would therefore include the agency commissions, which are not quoted separately from the advert price. Media houses quote a standard price for their ads and pay the agencies from this price.
In 2012, ad spent could hit the Sh 100 billion mark being an election year under a new constitution that offers more elective positions. According to ad spend trends; politics has the highest ad spend.
This is expected to peak three months prior to the election. In the first quarter of 2012, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ran a civic education campaign that lasted six weeks and it was rated as part of the top five brands with the highest spend. Civic education is expected to be a key component of IEBC expenditure and especially so on media.
At the moment, the biggest beneficiary of the ad spend is radio. In the first quarter of 2012, Sh 8.1 billion was spent on radio advertising, four times higher than the amount spent on print media. Experts credit the high spends on radio to the over 160 radio stations in Kenya.