AAAJ executive returned
THE EXECUTIVE committee of the Advertising Agencies Association of Jamaica (AAAJ) was returned en bloc to manage the affairs of the association for another administrative year. The committee was reinstalled at the association's 48th annual general meeting (AGM) held last week at the Spanish Court Hotel.
The members of the executive committee include Arnold 'JJ' Foote (president), Wayne Stewart (vice-president), Travis MacMillan (secretary), Janet Creary (treasurer), Oral McCook, Monica McFarlane and Michael Grant. Craig Bernard is the only new member named to the team.
JJ Foote, in his report to the AGM, noted that, in a year of difficult business conditions caused by the effects of the global recession, the AAAJ's biggest opportunity and initiative for 2009 was to "encourage companies to advertise as the key to growth in trying times". He reported that the project was conceived in conjunction with the Media Association Jamaica Ltd and achieved the desired effect of increasing advertising activity.
Highlights of the year in review included media awards to The Gleaner Company as Media of the Year for 2008, and to The Jamaica Observer for Best Business Coverage. Lloyd B. Smith was also named Media Personality of the Year for 2008 especially for his leadership at the Western Mirror - the longest-surviving community newspaper in the island which celebrates 30 in 2010. Other coveted media awards in different categories were also presented to Irie FM, Television Jamaica and Reggae Entertainment Television.
Foote also announced that, as a result of recommendations from AAAJ member agencies, a new chairperson was named to the Advertising Standards Authority. This regulatory body is expected to deal with ongoing issues concerning commercials that treat with material that are sexual in nature, or do not adhere to the standards that govern the industry.
In addition to the usual annual media awards, the association is set to launch its 'Creative Awards' in 2010. In addition, Foote is hoping to establish a 'Creative Circle' which would act as an advisory body for the advertising industry.
Other initiatives for the new administration will include the formation of an internal media watchdog committee with responsibility for identifying breaches on behalf of the media. The committee would also be charged with preparing a handbook for distribution which would cover such issues as industry regulations, pricing and a timetable for completing different jobs. The AAAJ president noted that such a handbook would eliminate guesswork and act as a guide for agencies and clients regarding fees.
Foote is also lobbying for the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission to restart charging nominal fees based on prize offerings for promotions. He notes that while he anticipates government support for this initiative, the primary aim would be to facilitate reducing the turnaround time for approvals from the current three weeks to less than one week. He believes that this change will result in greater competition in the market.