Mr. Steve Babaeko, the CEO and chief creative officer of X3M Ideas, is now president of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN). Babaeko was elected 21st president at the 47th annual general meeting of the association which was held virtually on July 2, 2020.
Other members of the AAAN executive board elected during the AGM include Jenkins Alumona, chief executive officer of Strategic Outcomes Limited, as vice president; Kayode Ebatamehi, managing director of Bluebird Communications, as treasurer; and Mrs. Tope Jemerigbe, CEO of DKK Nigeria, as publicity secretary.
Mrs. Tola Obi of Centrespreadgrey emerged assistant publicity secretary, while Messrs Ikechi Odigbo, Onuora Molokwu, Shola Adegborioye, Lanre Adisa and Mrs. Biodun Adefila emerged ex-officio members.
Before his emergence as AAAN president, Babaeko had served on the board of the association as the publicity secretary and the vice president respectively. He is also the immediate past chairman of the Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival (LAIF).
Commenting on his new appointment, Babaeko said, “I am excited to begin this journey as the AAAN president. It is time to revive our purpose by advancing our interests within and beyond Nigeria’s marketing communications landscape. Together, I believe that we can build the advertising industry of our dreams.”
He also believes that with the joint effort of every member of the association, the AAAN has the capacity to meet certain world-class standards and even surpass them.
Prior to the election, the president had promised, in his manifesto, to effectively position the association and empower women. According to him, through the collective effort of every member of the association, he would make the AAAN more visible, give the Lagos Ideas Festival (LAIF) Awards the international flair it deserves, and work to foster unity and healthy competition between agencies in the association.
In addition, he pledged to pay a lot of attention to women empowerment and ensure gender balance in the leadership of the AAAN.
Not forgetting the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), he is of the opinion that it is in the association’s best interest to influence APCON to better enforce the laws and policies that protect the advertising industry.
Babaeko, who has spent about three decades in advertising practice, started his career with MC&A Saatchi & Saatchi before moving to Prima Garnet and later 141 Worldwide (now Nitro 121) where he worked as creative director. He left in 2012 to set up X3M Ideas. He grew X3M Ideas from a creative agency to a multi award-winning marketing communications group with subsidiaries in entertainment, (X3M Music), content and production (Zero Degrees) media planning and buying (Media 100) and others.
He is undoubtedly one of the finest admen in Nigeria and a creative par excellence. In 2019 he broke the glass ceiling by being the first Nigerian adman to speak at the first African Panel on Cannes Lions Festival Main Stage, talking about the Authentic African Story. He was also a juror at the Cannes Awards that year where he was honored by Adweek as one of the Top 100 creative people in the world for 2019, again the only Nigerian on the exclusive list.
Babaeko has also appeared as a juror on many International award events including New York Advertising Festival, African Cristals Awards in Morocco and The Loeries in South Africa, as well as many local awards including LAIF.