With a career that started in broadcasting at the then Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), now known as Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and now advertising, he is reputed to be the one man that has had the most positive effect on the marketing communications industry in Nigeria in the last fifty years.
The arrowhead of Insight Communications (now Insight Publicis), Nigeria's foremost advertising agency, which he founded in 1980, Mr. Shobanjo's advertising career started at the then American-owned Grant Advertising, which he joined as an Account Executive Trainee in November 1971. He rose rapidly to become its Deputy Managing Director in 1976, a position he occupied until December 1979 when he left to start Insight Communications. He was the Chief Executive Officer of the company till December 2004.
Mr. Shobanjo’s pioneering role in the development of the marketing communications industry is unchallenged, with a chain of firsts and foremosts. In 1990, he established The Quadrant Company (now Quadrant MSL), Nigeria’s first Public Relations Consultancy, which subsequently led to the establishment of the Public Relations Association of Nigeria (PRAN). In the same year, he became the first CEO of an advertising agency to set up a second-line agency, with the birth of MC&A.
In 1997, he established the first media independent company in Nigeria – All Seasons MediaCom (now All Seasons Zenith), which was the anchor for the establishment of Media Independents Association of Nigeria (MIPAN). He was to later in 2005 set up a second Media Independent - Media Perspectives (now Media Perspectives Starcom).
Other specialist organizations in Troyka Group, which he founded in 1989 as the holding and directing company, include Optimum Exposures (1984), an Out-Of-Home company; Promoworld (2005) – a concession based Out-Of-Home company, specializing in convergence area location and demography targeted advertising; Hotsauce, a digital marketing outfit, which was established in 2011; a real estate company, Black Onyx (2012) and Halogen Security – an asset protection and resource management company (1992), which today employs about 16,000 people nationwide.
On 18th December 2015, Shobanjo’s ultimate dream of turning Troyka into a global player was fulfilled, when an equity partnership agreement with Publicis Groupe was signed by its Chairman/CEO, Monsieur Maurice Levy and himself, on behalf of their two organizations. By this agreement, Publicis Groupe, the world’s 3rd largest marketing communications group, are now 25% equity partners in Insight Redefini, the communications arm of Troyka Holdings, in accordance with APCON Laws.
The Troyka Group, of which he is Chairman, continues to be Nigeria’s leading light in marketing communications, offering unparalleled skills and manpower development; partnering with institutions of higher learning, for example, the School of Media and Communications (SMC) of the Pan-Atlantic University, where advanced courses in marketing communications are jointly run.
In 2014, Mr. Shobanjo donated the Biodun Shobanjo Multi-media Centre of Excellence to the University of Lagos, for the advancement of knowledge in the communication field. His efforts in knowledge expansion and manpower development have led to a situation where Troyka Communications companies are regarded as the University of Advertising. What with leaders of most of the highly successful companies in the marketing communications industry being alumni of Troyka.
A past President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Mr. Shobanjo holds the Certificate of the British Institute of Public Relations, London as well as the Certificate of the British Institute of Marketing. He is a chartered member of the British Institute of Public Relations (CMIPR); chartered member of the British Institute of Marketing (CM Inst. M); Member, International Advertising Association; Fellow, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria; and Fellow, Commonwealth Journalists Association, (CJA).
A widely traveled man, Mr. Biodun Shobanjo has attended various courses in advertising, marketing and management in many Western European countries, the United States of America and South Africa.
Over the years, Mr. Shobanjo has won numerous awards for professional excellence and integrity, and has been selected at various times by Newswatch, Vanguard, Concord, The Nigerian Tribune, The Sun e.t.c. as one of Nigeria’s Top Business Managers/Mentors.
In August 1999, he was selected as Advertising Man of the Century by Weekend Concord. In November 2003, Success Digest nominated him as Entrepreneur of the Decade, while The Daily Times of Nigeria & Corporate Effects Communications chose him as one of the 100 Heroes of Modern Nigeria.
In June 2004, Mr. Shobanjo was featured in Encomium International amongst the top 100 Nigerians that ever lived. In August of the same year, Vanguard Newspaper selected him as One of the Beacons of National Development, while Daily Independent chose him as one of Nigeria’s Top 25 Leaders of Professional Integrity.
He was awarded Brand Marketing Professional of the Year in 2004 by Brandfaces, and in Feb. 2005, Newswatch featured him in their 2005 edition of ‘Fifty Notable Leaders in Corporate Nigeria’. In October 2005, he was selected by Vanguard Media as one of the Architects of Economic Fortunes in Nigeria, while The Financial Standard named him among the 50 Drivers of Change in Corporate Nigeria the same year.
In February 2006, The News honoured him as one of the 30 Most Inspiring Nigerians. In 2007, he was selected to be the CEO of The Apprentice Africa, a TV business reality show that ran from Jan – June 2008. In March 2008, The NEWS honoured him with A True Nigerian Icon award for the innovative ideas he brought to advertising in Nigeria, while Financial Standard honoured him as one of the Heroes of the Economy in August of the same year.
In March 2009, The Guardian listed him amongst Nigeria’s Outstanding Role Models, while The News chose him as one of 50 Yoruba men and Women of Integrity. In May 2009, Newswatch nominated him as one of the 50 Notable Leaders in Corporate Nigeria in 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. In Sept 2009, The NEWS selected him as one of 30 Nigeria world-class Entrepreneurs, while in March, City People Media Group honoured him with the award of CEO of the Year.
In October 2010, The Guardian selected him amongst Nigeria’s 20 Outstanding Entrepreneurs of the Decade (2000-2010), and in December 2010, the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) awarded him the Most Valuable Personality (Titan Class) for Life Achievement in Advertising Development. In February, 2011, Marketing Edge Magazine honoured him as its Brand Personality of Year 2010. In Nov. 2011, he was elected Fellow of the Institute of Security, Nigeria (FISN).
In December 2012, he received the Brand Power award for Distinction and Long time Achievement and was recognized and honoured by Business World as a Great Nigerian Entrepreneur. In July 2013, he was honoured as one of Chivas’ Top 100 Men in Nigeria and in October of the same year, he was awarded Advertising Man of all Time by The Sun Publishing Limited. He was awarded Most Influential Personality in Advertising in Africa at the 2014 African Development Magazine (ADM) Award of Excellence in Development held on 14th November, 2014 in Accra, Ghana.
In April 2015, Europe Business Assembly (EBA), based in Oxford, UK, honoured him with The Manager of the Year Award, in recognition of his significant input to the success of Troyka Group, which was also awarded Best Regional Enterprise by EBA.
In July 2016, he was awarded the year 2015 Zik Prize in Leadership by the Advisory Board of the Public Policy Research & Analysis Centre (PPRAC) for his contributions to the development and growth of the marketing communications industry and, indeed, the Nigerian economy.
In February, 2018, he received The 2017 Silverbird “Extraordinary Business Achievement Award” in recognition of his immense contributions to the Nigerian Society. The following month, on March 15th, 2018, Daar Communications also honoured him with the Daar Lifetime Achievement Award for his remarkable contributions to the development of the advertising industry in Africa. In May 2019, he received from Brand Communicator, the 1st Brandcom Awards Hall of Famer also for his outstanding contributions to the development of the advertising industry.
Recently, on 26th October 2019, the University of Lagos Alumni Association honoured him with their Golden Jubilee Special Recognition Award, in recognition of his contributions to Advertising and Media Development in Nigeria.
A silent philanthropist and public-spirited Nigerian, Mr. Shobanjo in February 2010, was inaugurated as the First Ambassador-General of mass medical mission (mmm) of National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP).
Married to Joyce with 5 children and 8 grandchildren, Mr. Shobanjo’s hobbies include music, tennis, swimming and meeting people