Nigerians react to ARCON ordering skit makers, influencers, bloggers, to seek approval for ads

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Nigerians react to ARCON ordering skit makers, influencers, bloggers, to seek approval for all adverts

The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), the federal body in charge of regulating advertisement in the country said that skit makers, social media influencers, and bloggers, will now seek approval before posting any advertisements, advertising and marketing communications on their social media pages or any other online social channel.

In a press statement sent out today, Olalekan Fadolapo, ARCON’s director-general said that the agency is making the decision as part of its plan to force “the group” to comply with its Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice. The statement also said that ARCON has been receiving complaints of unethical, unverified claims and misinformation from the group.

“The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has received complaints on the advertisements, advertising, and marketing communications activities of skit makers, comedians, influencers, content creators/producers, bloggers, vloggers, etc on digital/online media platforms,” the statement reads in part. “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.”

ARCON added that it will take necessary action against defaulters.

“By this public notice, brand owners, digital agencies, secondary digital media space owners (i.e. bloggers, vloggers, influencers, comedians, skit makers, etc] and other advertising stakeholders in the digital/online media space are advised to obtain pre-exposure approval of all advertisements, advertising and marketing communications in accordance with the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice and the ARCON Act No. 23 of 2022. ARCON will take all necessary actions including sanctions and prosecution of violators of the provisions of the Act to ensure compliance,” the statement says.

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Read Also: ARCON’s ban on foreign models and voice-over artists solves nothing

The statement has been met with backlash from Nigerians with some saying that ARCON should have engaged the influencer community before drafting the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice.

One user asked where skit-makers were when ARCON deliberate on the act.

“Where were skit-makers when the ARCON Act was being deliberated on? Well, it will now be used as a whip for your backs,” @ScarTissue tweeted.

One user said that ARCON will be more impactful if it partnered with some of the skit-makers and encourage the work that they do.

“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,” @GbosamanGbosa Tweeted.

But some others see this as a welcome change that will force influencers to go through an extra layer of verification before posting them on the internet.

“‘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,” @Cikings tweeted.

Another user said that it’s high time for this type of policy and users who break the law to face the consequences of their actions. “It has been left for too long. Anyone that breaks the extant laws should be punished appropriately. If you like read meaning to it,” @GbolahanObadime tweeted.

ARCON’s previous moves to regulate adverts online

ARCON has been making moves recently that will make sure it approves every single advert placed on the internet. In October it sued Facebook’s parent company, Meta, for 30 billion Naira over what it said is illegal and unvetted adverts placed on its platform.

The rise of the Nigerian WhatsApp influencers

This also comes after the agency banned advertisers from using what it described as “foreign models and voice-over artists” in their content. It said at the time that “all advertisements, advertising and marketing communications materials are to make use of only Nigerian model and voice-over artists.”


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