Nigeria’s advertising regulator has announced a ban on using foreign models and voice-over artists in television commercials made in the country.
The move, which is the first of its kind, will take effect in October and follows the Federal Government’s pledge that promises to develop local talent, drive inclusive economic growth, and promote the advertising industry in Nigeria.
The Times of London reports that the ban will cover all non-Nigerians as well as a number of western, white actors who have appeared regularly in the country’s television adverts.
“All advertisements, advertising, and marketing communications materials targeted or exposed on the Nigerian advertising space are to use only Nigerian models and voice-over artists,” The Advertising Regulatory Council Of Nigeria (ARCON) states. “Advertisers, advertisement agencies, media houses, the advertising community, and the general public are hereby enjoined to take note.”
The measure is expected to boost work available for home-grown talent. Up until now, the Nigerian advertising sector used a large proportion of white British models and voice-over artists.
Even before the ban was announced, companies had to pay a 100,000-Naira tariff, which is around $240, for every foreign model used in an advert, making Nigeria one of the world’s most uncompromising environments for media representation.
“Ten to twenty years ago if you checked the commercials, I would say they were almost 50/50 in terms of foreign faces, and all the voiceovers were British accents,” Steve Babaeko, president of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, tells The Times of London.
Nigerian brands would use foreigners, while multinationals such as Coca-Cola and LG would simply distribute their global campaigns, full of white models, in Nigeria.
Indicating the shift in advertising strategy by international brands, Guinness shot their present African television commercial campaign in Lagos and used a Nigerian director and local models.
Announcing the ban earlier this week, ARCON’s Director General Olalekan Foladapo explained that the policy would not affect ongoing advertising campaigns, saying they would be permitted to run out their terms.
However, Foladapo added that “subsequent applications for revalidation for continued exposure of such materials will not be granted” by the Advertising Regulatory Council.
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