The Nigerian federal government has introduced a new rule that forbids the use of foreign models and voice actors in Nigerian advertising media.
According to the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) Director General, Olalekan Fadolapo, the ban will start on October 1, 2022. Only Nigerian models and voice actors are to be used in all ads and marketing communication materials.
This new move will support the Federal Government's policy of nurturing homegrown talent and fostering inclusive economic growth in the West African nation’s advertising sector.
However, Fadolapo clarified that ongoing commercials and campaigns using foreign actors and models are allowed to continue until the expiry of their contracts. He did, however, point out that the Advertising Standards Panel of ARCON would not approve any further requests for revalidation for the continued exposure of such products.
According to Fadolao, the original ARCON Act was enacted in 1988, and the new law was created to account for advancements made in the advertising sector since then. ARCON has been attempting to regulate the online environment for the past few years, and it has been successful this time. However, more still needs to be done.
Insights into ARCON
ARCON is the organization that controls all aspects of advertising in Nigeria. This includes deciding who is eligible to practice advertising, holding professional examinations, and setting guidelines for how advertisements should be created.
The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) Bill, which was enacted in July 2022, essentially altered the name of the advertising regulator from the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently signed a bill giving ARCON the authority to make sure that local Nigerian content is preserved and that indigenous skills are used as a crucial component of local advertising, marketing, and communication services.
According to AROCON regulations, organizations that provide corporate or individual awards are required to write to the authorities to explain the criteria and method used to determine the awards.
In addition, any organization found using an unauthorized agency for commercial purposes will face legal action. The Advertising Offenses Tribunal will be established to judge offenses produced by the new law. According to Fadolapo, the Tribunal is on par with the High Court, and any appeals against its decision must be made to the Appeal Court.
Fadolapo stated that the Council has opened 17 additional ARCON offices, bringing the total number of offices nationwide to 32, in order to be able to carry out the duties of the new law.
The Ban Divides Opinion
The ban has divided opinion among marketing communications specialists, creatives, artists, models, and talent managers in the country. A lot of Nigerians expressed outrage over it on social media, labeling it yet another totalitarian government policy. However, some have welcomed the ban as brilliant.
Those in favor of the ban have argued that the plan is a significant victory for Nigerian artists because there are many exceptional talents that have been unjustly ignored and that, when they have been employed, they have received inadequate pay.
However, Nigerians against the ban have argued that there are better ways to promote local talent and that the ban is too severe. They argue that Nigeria is part of the global village and bans like that are damaging to the country in the long run. The plan may probably scare off international investors who still favor working with people of their own race for advertisements.