Alliance Media, the largest airport and outdoor billboard advertisement
provider in Africa plans to dot the Addis skyline with huge new signs.
The blue metal outdoor advertisement billboards are 23.5 meters high, 1.2 meters in diameter, and 85 centimeters thick and each cost 1.1 million birr, not including the foundation work. The company plans to put up 100 of them in Addis Ababa and more in Adama (Nazareth) and Hawassa (Awassa). Unlike conventional billboards its messages can be displayed on the front and the back. Three Ethiopian firms will supply and build the structure of the billboards while 26 contractors will work on the foundation work, according to sources in the industry.
Local advertizing companies are not very happy with the newcomer. “The government should not let such an international advertizing company operate in Ethiopia. The area should be reserved to Ethiopian nationals only, at least till we develop our financial capacity and competence in management skill. It seems now that the government has opened its door for foreign companies. My colleagues and I in the billboard advertisement business are discussing the situation. It poses a very great challenge for us in terms of competition. This is a challenge not only to the company owners but also to the workers and their families,” argued an advertizing company owner who asked for anonymity.
The Ethiopian broadcasting agency is considering enacting a new law governing advertisement operation in the country. The draft document currently under discussion stipulates the right to do advertisement business either for Ethiopian national or in partnership with foreign companies.
Meanwhile, billboards are typically not uniform in Addis. There is not a standard size, shape or zoning for them. As a result sometimes they can be an eyesore in some communities. You are bound to find short and tall, beautiful and ugly, inclined or even fallen advertisement billboards, with strange meanings, spelling mistakes or mixed languages (Amharic and English). Although all these advertisement billboards are put in place in order to convey messages from potential producer or supplier to potential buyers, most of them lack the ability to catch the eyes of the by passer and in effect lose their intended purpose. It seems that all this is about to change once and for all since the issue is getting the attention of the government and an international advertisement operator.
Operating in 22 countries, with 15 years experience, Alliance Media has been awarded the European Union award for innovative media and the prestigious independent PMR award for “Best Outdoor Advertising Company” in multiple markets.
When completed, the blue metal structure currently under installation will have a uniform triangular advertisement billboard 18.5 meters high above the ground giving a facelift to the city.