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From January 1, 2023, all ads targeted at the Nigerian market must be produced in the country

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Key takeaways

  • Nigeria’s advertising regulatory body, the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), has announced that advertisers must use a cumulative 75% of local content in all ads and marketing directed at the Nigerian market.
  • This will take effect from January 1, 2023, and according to Olalekan Fadolapo, DG, ARCON would create over 500,000 jobs annually and prevent capital flight which he puts at ₦120 billion.
  • More multinational brands are beginning to use Nigerian talent and producers in ads targeted at the Nigerian market. These new rules make it mandatory to shoot ads in Nigeria, include Nigerians and Nigerian organisations in production, and allow for post-production outside the country, among other things.

Nigeria’s advertising regulatory body, the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, has given a new directive. From January 1, 2023, advertisers must use a cumulative 75% of local content in all ads and marketing directed at the Nigerian market. 

Olalekan Fadolapo, ARCON’s DG, announced this on Monday, October 17, 2023, in a statement.

The opening paragraph of the statement reads: “The Nigerian advertising industry loses over ₦120bn to production of advertising, advertisement, and marketing communication materials outside the country. This has continuously led to the loss of jobs in the industry, retarding the growth and development of the Nigerian advertising industry.”

To solve this, ARCON gives a guideline.

  1. Models and voice-over artists must be Nigerian.
  2. Production of advertising, advertisement, and marketing communication materials must be done in Nigeria.
  3. Ambience should reflect Nigeria as much as possible
  4. Production crew may include foreigners. However, Nigerians and Nigerian organisations must partake in the production. 
  5. Post-production may be done in any location (within or outside Nigeria)

What obtains currently

Beryl TV singer-4180080__480 From January 1, 2023, all ads targeted at the Nigerian market must be produced in the country Technology

Nigeria has one of the most stringent regulations regarding using foreign content or talent in adverts targeted at its market. Before banning the use of foreign models and voice-over artists in ads in August 2022, as of 2017, every ad using a non-Nigerian model had to pay ₦500,000 per advertising concept.

Fun fact: Nigeria is the first country to ban foreign models in its advertising.

In contrast, In India, for example, the Advertising Standards Council is more concerned with misleading adverts and is relatively silent on the models used in ads.

In the United Kingdom, foreign models need pre-booked work and a certain level of experience and expertise before getting a work permit for an advert to be shot in the UK.

Research shows that multinational brands are more likely to use foreign models in their ads.

Speaking to the Times of London, Steve Babaeko, president of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, says this is no different in the country.

According to Babaeko, 10 to 20 years ago, it was almost 50/50 in terms of foreign faces, and all voice-over artists were British. For example, Guinness’s TV Commercial about Sam, a signwriter, was shot in Nairobi, Kenya, by British ad agency network, Saatchi & Saatchi and directed by Spanish director, Nacho Gayan.

Fun fact: Guinness’s famous ‘Udeme’ ad was almost axed by the Nigerian agency in charge of advertising and marketing because it didn’t fit the brand’s motive of appealing to a younger demographic. The ad is among the most iconic ads distributed in the Nigerian market.

Multinational brands like Guinness, Coca-Cola, LG, Cadbury, and Procter & Gamble, have predominantly used non-Nigerian models and locations, although sometimes using Nigerian voice-over artists.

Recently, however, there has been a shift in marketing strategy. In the last four years or more, Guinness has begun to use more Nigerian talent, like its latest Black Shines Brightest campaign, which was directed by Nigerian director, Meji Alabi and had a mix of African faces.

In 2021, popular Nigerian actress, Rita Dominic, signed a brand ambassadorship deal with LG and has since appeared in a number of its ads.

ARCON is on a roll

Since the signing of its new Act, ARCON has been on a roll, introducing new directives, suing Meta, and promising more to come.

According to ARCON, its new Act — the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria Act 2022 — “empowered the council to ensure the preservation of Nigerian local content and use of indigenous skills as an important element in advertising, advertisement and marketing communication materials and for such services directed at the Nigerian market.”

Beryl TV ARCON-act-screenshot From January 1, 2023, all ads targeted at the Nigerian market must be produced in the country Technology
Screenshot of the ARCON Act. Source: AFP

In its Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2017 -2021 report, PricewaterhosueCoopers, predicts Nigeria will be the world’s fastest-growing E&M market in the next four years. It is also home to one of the largest advertising industries in Africa, with an ad spend of over $400 million in 2020.

According to Fadolapo, this new directive is expected to create 500,000 new jobs annually and discourage “the leakages and capital fight being experienced in the industry as a result of foreign production of advertising campaign.”

ARCON’s actions have been received with mixed feelings. Speaking with National Public Radio (NPR), Tolulope Kolade, Founder of voiceover talent firm, CodedVoiceovers expressed worries about reactions from foreign countries regarding the ban on foreign models.

“What will be the consequence, or would we see a ripple effect in terms of the international markets, the international bodies, advertising bodies, deciding to do the same?”

Speaking to Kolade, Segun Arinze, President of the Association of Voice-Over Artists of Nigeria, supports the ban.

“I’m in support of grooming local talents to take over. I’m in support of keeping it here, doing all the work here, rather than take it out, and you’re spending foreign exchange.”

“We have a lot of talented Nigerians who speak English very well. Who speak French and Spanish very well. You want to do these translations? Do it here.”

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