ANGOLA - Telecoms & IT
CEO, Big Media
Odair Peres moved Portugal to for university and, among other jobs, he was a bartender in a rock club, a waiter in a grill house, an entertainer for children teaching them the importance of natural resources, an assistant teacher of marketing and communication, and a copywriter for several years in agencies like Mccann-Erickson, Ogilvy&Mather, and TBWA in different countries of Europe and Africa. In 2007 he came back to the warmth of Angola, and since then has been engaged in some of the biggest but also the smallest projects in the country.
Big Media is the only company in Angola engaged in the advertising, the renting of billboards and also the manufacture of the structures. From the outset, we never liked doing the same things. One of our advantages is being able to bring client ideas to life, no matter how challenging they might appear, which is what motivates us. We provide whatever solution the client wants whether billboards and lightboxes. We have done it all—marriage proposals, weddings, and so on. The first time was for a guy who wanted to propose to his girlfriend. That’s what motivates us, as does art. We have outstanding painters and sculptors in Angola that unfortunately few are aware of. Therefore, we staged an open-air gallery; billboards for painters to display their finished work. People need to know they exist. Works like these are highly valued beyond Angola, but not in-country. Trying out different things is our specialty. Recently, we had an art event where for 24 hours, on International Art Day, all billboards were dedicated to artistic endeavors. And that’s what makes us unique; the capability to execute such projects, with clients looking to us first to create something distinct. They know from experience that we are going to go above and beyond to achieve it.
Many people in the company have been working here for an average of 10 years, and not many companies in Angola can say this. Some people have been with us for over 15 years; and in some cases, having started out in menial positions. We have helped promising individuals get a degree and do their internship with us. During the first week of the pandemic, when everyone was frantic, if it wasn’t for our colleagues, we might not be having this conversation. They showed true resilience. We went from billboards to producing gel dispensers and showers, and all the ideas came from our staff. We helped the government with its COVID centers. Earlier during the pandemic, we took people who were homeless off the streets. We partnered with the government to create areas where they could live, spoke to all our clients, and they were exceptional in their support.
We are the only company of our kind in all 18 provinces, and so it is easy to spread the advertising message across the wider country. Companies tend to reside in Luanda and Benguela, the big provinces where the market is. Being in this business for 18 years, with several mistakes made and lessons learned along the way, we’ve acquired much know-how. Down the years, we have shared the necessary information to educate clients on the best place to advertise. A decade ago, most marketing managers in Angolan companies were foreigners, with little knowledge about the country or provinces. What we did is take them to the province, and on arrival, they were surprised at how large the market was. And yes, we are aware of the challenges too. Less income and the challenge of transportation; however, we share vital information as it stands, and if the client is happy, they will come back.
Although the formal market is lucrative, Angola remains an informal country, and the informal markets generate more money. Subsequently, about five to six years ago, we started investing in diverse types of billboards. We became the first company to introduce non-static solutions into the market. Recently, we have seen other companies replicate the same thing six years later. In addition, we started providing a digital screen service to our clients. They submit the same image they had for static billboards and we create an animation for digital screens.