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The advertising market in Cameroon is still developing in order to attain global standards. A large proportion of advertising share is accounted for by the few multinational companies operating in the country, such as Ocean Ogilvy and Mather. However, there are also numerous locally-based advertising agencies in the main cities. The industry is not regulated and largely follows subjective standards, as well as suffering from problems with advertiser debt.
The largest advertisers in the country are the Ministry of Finance, Orange Cameroun, South African mobile telephone provider MTN, local telecommunications company PMUC and the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
The growing public relations industry, developing in both the private and public sector, is represented by the Cameroon Public Relations Association, whilst marketers in the country are represented by the Cameroon Marketing Association.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (2012-13) placed Cameroon in 104th out of 144 countries in terms of the extent of marketing, with a score of 3.6 out of 7. Coming below the mean of 4.1, this indicates that companies in the country are less likely than average to extensively utilise sophisticated marketing tools and techniques. In relation to buyer sophistication the country ranked 99th with a score of 3.1, below the mean of 3.5. This suggests that buyers are more likely to make a purchasing decision based on the lowest price rather than on a sophisticated analysis of performance attributes.
The press and most other media outlets in Cameroon are principally funded through advertisements, although state media is also funded by revenues from broadcast licensing fees. More than 400 private newspapers were registered in the country in 2011. However, the advertising market for local and regional papers not based in the main cities of Yaounde and Douala is not large. Newspaper and magazine advertising can be placed with the government-owned Cameroon Tribune, or with any of the other major newspapers, including Mutations, The Herald, Le Massager and La Nouvelle Expression.
Advertising can also be placed on CRTV, the government radio and television network, and other private radio and TV stations, in both English and French. There are numerous community radio stations which provide small advertising markets. The country has seen particular growth in the television advertising market, partly thanks to the rising number of advertising agencies which specialise in providing advertisements for TV stations. Mobile advertising is also a rapidly developing sector.
The billboard and sign advertising business has expanded thanks to the ending of the monopoly held by the government-owned publicity agent, Cameroon Public-Expansion.