BY FASIKA TADESSE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER
One year old firm claims a year-long negotiation to win the deal, which was denied to other advertising agencies
Akili Creative Agency, established by Tekeste Sibehat, son of Sibehat Nega, veteran TPLF member, gets a five year deal for a total of 600,000 Br for the use of 4,000sqm of land as well as the surfaces of the 43 silos of the Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE) located at Gotera area in Kirkos District.
This is not the first time that the EGTE is renting its space at Gotera. It has already rented some plots of the place to MOHA Soft Drinks Company, which uses it for warehouse. Another plot has been rented to a church.
Akili and the EGTE signed the deal a month ago, ending a year long negotiation, according to Tekeste; Akili was established in the Gregorian year which ended last week, during which time it has already worked on digital marketing for Ambo Mineral Water. The contract, signed for five years as of January 1, 2015, gives Akili use of the 4,000sqm compound, where the 43 silos are located, for 30 Br a square metre a year for five years. The deal allows Akili to use the silos for advertising and the land for organizing various open-air events.
“We designed a proposal of changing the image of the place to green area and approached the EGTE to rent us the place a year ago,’’ says Tekeste.
Many advertising companies had approached the EGTE to rent the silos as an advertising platform, said Etenesh Gebremichael, public relation & trade information supportive process manager at the EGTE. The EGTE preferred to work with Akili because, according to Etenesh, “Akili’s proposal includes fencing the company and to change the area in to green by cleaning the water that is cumulated inside the compound and that is damaging the silos in rust.’’
Akili has already cotacted major beverage manufacturers to sponsor the project by displaying their advertisements on the silos in order “to cover the costs of cleaning the area and changing it in to a public art project.”
Those contacted included East African Bottling, maker of Coca Cola; Diageo, which owns Meta Brewery; BGI Ethiopia, which makes St. George beer, and Heineken, owner of Bedele Brewery. Akili invited them to mount their advertisement on the siloes by explaining the landscape was visible from the air while travelling on aircraft.
“The price offered by the advertising company is a little bit too expensive when it is compared with the price of billboard,’’ said an official form one of the beverage companies, who declined to give detail of the price.
But Akili is in the process of negotiating with three companies for a year-long agreement to display their promotional materials on the silos and “to support the project by advertising,” Tekeste said.
“We agreed with the company not to mount liquors, tobacco and condom advertisements,” said Etenesh.
When deals are concluded with the potnetial advertisers, Akili will design the advertisements to be mounted on the silos, and the EGTE will have to approve them before they are used, said Tekste. As part of its deal with the EGTE, it is going to begin by landscaping the area and fencing the entire compound of the company with transparent material which will show the inside of the place. This phase is intended to make the place suitable for events to be held in open air, Tekeste says. Within the coming two months the place will be transformed from the current look to the new look, he added.
The 43 silos were installed in 1954 with the support of the United States government, but it was damaged and became out of use 23 years ago during a huge explosion as the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) pushed the forces of the dergue out and controlled the city.
In landscaping the compound the Agency is planning to cover the whole 4,000sqm with grass, which will cost 150 Br per square meter, according to Tekeste.