Restructure businesses to withstand shocks — Ato Afful

BY: Desmond Kofi Tawiah
Mr. Ato Afful speaking at the event. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo.
Mr. Ato Afful speaking at the event. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo.

The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr. Ato Afful, has urged players in the advertising industry to restructure their businesses to withstand shocks such as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

He lamented over the many creative minds in the industry who were being laid off as a result of the financial constraints that had come along with the pandemic.

The MD was speaking at the 14th Gong Gong Awards by the Advertising Association of Ghana (AAG) in Accra last Friday, on the theme: “Advertising beyond COVID-19: Reintegrating agencies, brands and consumers”.

Mr. Afful said the practice of laying off workers during challenging times was inimical to the growth of the sector.

“Sometimes we are in a hurry to lay off some of our best people because of financial constraints. It is difficult to find some of these people back into the industry after they have left with unpalatable memories. Therefore, you find some of the best human resource in the industry moving out of the business where their ideas are actually needed,” he said.

He further observed that in some situations, creative people in the sector who were supposed to lead and direct client work ended up being redirected by their clients.

“When this happens, we are not re-imagining and re-inventing this industry. I would, therefore, entreat captains of industry to continue to invest in people and businesses,” he added.

The winners at the 14th Gong Gong Awards. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo.


The awards, the flagship industry event of the AAG, saw the GCGL receive two special awards in appreciation of its immense contribution of sponsoring the International Advertising Association’s (IAA’s) Third Africa Leadership Conference and producing authentic and credible news over the past 70 years.

Other special recognition awards went to the Ghanaian Times, Citi FM and Stanbic Bank.

Insel Communications was the big winner on the night with five Gold and seven Silver awards. It was followed by Innova DDB Ghana with four Gold and seven Silver awards.

Interactive Digital, DDP Outdoor Limited, Innova DDB Ghana and Insel Communications were also recipients of Platinum awards.

Nine advertising agencies were also recognised for their ingenuity in producing best adverts in 2019 in the Print, Radio, Television, Digital, Social and Outdoor Media categories.

Individuals, including the host of the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Bernard Avle, and the Founder of PrimeTime Limited, organisers of the National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ), Dr. Kwaku Mensa-Bonsu, were given special awards for their contribution to the advertising industry.


The President of the AAG, Mr. Torgbor Mensah, said advertising thrived on creativity, hence the need for advertising agencies to be creative in the delivery of their craft.

“We make money out of creativity. Advertising is about creating marketable images to sell to our clients. We need to be witty and clever in creating works that will sell the products of our people.

“We need to use our heads in creating good advertising products. Creativity is all about ideas. If you have good sense and good ideas that your client likes, you make your money,” he added.

Some of the dignitaries present at the event were the Chairman and World President of the IAA , Mr. Joel Nettey, and the Director, Sales and Marketing, GCGL, Mr. Franklin Sowa.