The Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) is the only national body that represents advertisers in Nigeria (Multinationals, large corporate establishments. and SMEs) which utilize the activities of marketing to promote their goods and service, since its establishment in 1992.
As a body which represents a critical sector of the marketing landscape, industry development has always been one of the most salient objectives of the association.
ADVAN has worked closely with ARCON, now ARCON through the years, collaborating in various capacities, to support policy implementation, towards the growth and advancement of the industry.
ADVAN was a very active member of the debt reconciliation committee set up by ARCON, in 2012, to investigate and seek out a lasting solution to the purported industry debts, and ADVAN continues to serve in various committees on ARCON.
Recent developments with severe economic consequences have however prompted us to address key issues that portend a grave danger for the ease of doing business as well as the practice of marketing in Nigeria. These include the recent ban on the use of foreign models, as well as a recent statement by the industry regulator, ARCON, that flies in the face of established judicial and legal processes.
- RECENT BAN ON FOREIGN MODELS
It is ADVAN‘s standpoint that the recent ban on foreign models, was not well thought out. It is a poorly researched and ineffective attempt at seeking a solution for sustainable growth in the advertising industry.
Nigeria, as a country in the global economy, has an expatriate policy which allows for non-Nigerians to be gainfully and legally employed by Nigerian organisations, in adherence to the stipulations of the law. Any such ban contravenes the aforementioned policy, and presents Nigeria – a country that has a significant percentage of its population seeking income opportunities outside Nigeria, as a strict, insular, and nonreciprocal society. It is a widely known fact that Nigerian model, creatives, and voice-over artists are also beneficiaries of the friendly cross-border work/trade interactions that currently exist. This ban puts a distinct demography of Nigerians of employable age – especially youths who make up the large number of those in this space, at a significant disadvantage with their global counterparts.
ADVAN therefore believes that such a ban is not only harmful to Nigeria and Nigerians, but is also discriminatory, exclusionary, and does little to advance Nigeria’s commitment for instance, to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement AfCFTA, which Nigeria and Nigerian businesses stand to benefit from. Neither does it protect (as it claims), the interests of Nigeria’s burgeoning youthful population- many of who are in this field.
While it is beneficial to create opportunities for local businesses and talents, it is counterproductive to do so in a manner that creates a harmful perception of the Nation, as an over-regimented and unwelcoming society.
Furthermore, the use of foreign models by advertisers, does not represent a significant percentage in the Nigeria advertising scene. This is evident in the monumental growth in the Nigerian music, creative, and movie industries, where it has been made apparent that Nigerian talents are very respected and sought after – home and abroad. Nigerian brands have also wholeheartedly embraced home grown talent in their brand building activities and have done so without any unnecessary government fiat, therefore, such a ban is totally unwarranted and self-serving in nature.
In seeking development for the Nigerian advertising landscape, our recommendation will be for government to embrace comprehensive stakeholder interactions and inclusivity in their policy creation and implementation. This will provide clarity for reasons behind the decline of advertising budgets, and the most beneficial solutions in attracting increased spend. Regulation and regulators must be collaborative and inclusive, rather than confrontational in nature to help develop a given industry.
- ON THE PRESS RELEASE OF ARCON ON HAYAT KIMYA LTD
ADVAN read with deep regret, the statement put out by ARCON, a government agency, seeking to meddle in an unwholesome manner, in a contractual dispute bordering on alleged fraud that is currently the subject of investigations by the appropriate law enforcement agency(ies). ADVAN states unequivocally that ARCON’s statement reeks of an underhand attempt to subvert the ongoing process in what has been alleged a criminal issue. This is against the rule of law as espoused by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
ADVAN therefore wants to use this medium to reiterate that Hayat Kimya Ltd, a member of ADVAN, is a responsible and law-abiding organization in Nigeria.
While ADVAN supports the need for contractual agreements to be upheld by all parties concerned, we also advise all parties including ARCON to allow the relevant bodies empowered by the Nigerian constitution on issues of dispute resolution and, or breach of contracts, to carry out their full investigation and make available their findings after the completion of investigations.
It is an overreach for ARCON as a regulatory institution, to demand an outcome in an ongoing business and contractual dispute, that has already been reported to relevant authorities when it is neither a law enforcement agency nor a court of law.
It is our hope that ARCON in its position will create structures towards ease of doing business in an already chaotic advertising environment, as well as be the catalyst for peaceful co-existence among stakeholders.
We would want to reiterate that the entire industry is better served in an atmosphere of collaboration, mutual respect, and trust. We therefore enjoin ARCON and other relevant stakeholder associations to see businesses – who represent the bulk of advertisers in Nigeria, as partners in progress.
Signed: Executive Council Advertisers Association of Nigeria