What The New Advertising Policy Means To Skit Makers

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Advertising Has Evolved Over The Years In Nigeria. From Traditional Means Like Word Of Mouth, Billboards And Signage, We Have Stretched Our Wings To The Digital World And Excelled. We Have Also Stretched Our Wings And Gotten Noticed By International Brands, Which Our Celebrities Represent. But, With The New Advertising Policy, Would It Affect The Industry In A Positive Or Negative Way? Read To Find Out!

It is no news that advertising takes a certain percentage of the country’s revenue. In fact, two out of 10 brands get most of their revenue from advertising. Over the years, advertising evolved rapidly in the country; From traditional means, we have focused majorly on digital advertising which covers all forms of methods such as digital billboards, social media ads, television ads, and lots more. During the course of this, influencer marketing came along.

If you have a large online fanbase, quality social media profile and following, you are an influencer. Most of the time, influencers are usually actors, musicians, and public figures.
Notable brands such as Coke, Flutterwave, Pepsi, Fanta and so on, use these influencers to advertise their products effectively, and this generates large ROI. Foreign influencers can be used to advertise local goods and vice versa, but things are about to change with the new advertising policy.

On the 17th of October 2022, Nigeria’s advertising regulatory body, the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, gave 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.

The opening paragraph of the statement says: “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 issue, ARCON gives a guideline which says:

Models and voice-over artists must be Nigerian.
Production of advertising, advertisement, and marketing communication materials must be done in Nigeria.
Ambience should reflect Nigeria as much as possible
Production crew may include foreigners. However, Nigerians and Nigerian organizations must partake in the production.
Post-production may be done in any location (within or outside Nigeria).
Since this announcement, there have been mixed feelings about this new policy. How is this going to help the economy? Will we gain visibility? How will it affect our revenue? These are roaming questions that deserve some answers. To top it all, on December 13th, 2022, a new policy was shared, targeting skit makers. Not only is the government restricting content, but they want to supervise it as well.

The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has said that Nigerian skit makers, bloggers, comedians and other content creators using digital platforms will, henceforth, be punished for not getting approval before publishing their online advertisements. According to the federal government through ARCON, the aforesaid digital media users including social media influencers have been publishing content violating the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice. They mentioned how they are violating the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria Act 2022, and some contents seem unethical.
These new advertising policies would have strong effects on skit makers. What does the government see as unethical? How long will it take the government to approve a content?

Skit makers have evolved and turned to national celebrities. With the likes of Sydney Talker, Mr Macaroni, Nasty Blaq, Kie Kie and the likes, social media has become more interesting. From performing skits, they have gone ahead to become brand partners, ambassadors for several popular brands both home and abroad.

Sometimes, they have to fly out of the country to perform their skits and advertisement videos. With the new policy, how would it be possible? Should skit makers and advertisers reject offers from international brands? What is the way forward?

The policy got a lot of backlash from online users and personalities. One user said that ARCON will be more impactful if it partnered with some of the skit-makers and encouraged the work that they do. Another user said “Instead of ARCON to invest in or partner with talented youths, create more skit makers, educate them, or create their own team that work for them, they are going after the ones that built a sector that was created with zero input from government…we never learn in this country”.
But some others see this as a positive act that will promote change which will force influencers to go through approvals and verification before posting contents on the internet.

One user said,” ‘Most of the advertisements exposed by this group are not only unethical with unverified claims and misinformation, but also in violation of the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice,’ the statement said. I think I support this. Let skit makers verify adverts before sharing”.

This policy may tamper with the freedom of creativity. Skit Makers would no longer be able to express themselves freely, as they are now under close observation. This means that they would have to re-strategize the contents before posting, to avoid being punished. Here are some useful tips that can help:
Adhere to the new policy: Adhering to the policy and staying out of trouble is the first step. Also, get in contact with an official in ARCON, and know the time duration for approval of a particular content, and the exact type of content they want from advertisers now. In the press release signed by ARCON’s Director-General, Dr Olalekan Fadolapo, he added that most of the advertisements exposed by “these people” are “unethical with unverified claims and misinformation.” He also further states that some contents violate the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice. Reading the code of conduct and new policy would point skit makers in the right direction.
Renegotiate foreign contracts: Advertisers and skit makers have to be cautious of the contracts they take with foreign brands. Because of the new advertising policy, advertisers should point out that adverts should be run within Nigeria, using Nigerian models and resources (In accordance with the new policy).
Keep doing your thing!: Do not let anything hold you back. Setbacks are normal, but how you deal with it matters the most.

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