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 a statement released on Monday by 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.
“ARCON has received complaints on the advertisement, advertising, and marketing communications activities of skit-makers, comedians, influencers, content creators/producers, bloggers, vloggers etc on digital media platforms.
“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.”
According to the statement, by this notice, brand owners, digital agencies, secondary digital media space owners – bloggers, skit-makers, comedians, influencers, content creators/producers, bloggers vloggers and other advertising stakeholders in the digital/ online 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.
Fadolapo said: “ARCON will take necessary actions, including sanctions and prosecution, against violators of provisions of the Act to ensure compliance.”
Earlier in the year, ARCON had rolled out plans to regulate online advertising in the country to sanitise the industry and curb inflammatory advertising messages.
The DG had said the council would clamp down on individuals and organisations that engage in advertising without being first licensed by ARCON.
He added that the council was ready to ensure compliance of online advertisement with the provisions of the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice, sales promotions, and other rights/restrictions on the practice.
He had urged brands, marketing communications professionals and other stakeholders to ensure the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP) vetted their online adverts before they were run.
Further, Fadolapo revealed that the council had been inundated with petitions over unethical advertisements exposed on online media platforms targeting the Nigerian market by both the primary and secondary digital media platform owners.
A recent online advert by a bank triggered national outburst that many described as offensive. The advert compared the resurrection of Jesus Christ with a local Lagos bread. The advertisement reads: “Like Agege Bread, He Rose!” Since then, the call for sanitising the online space has become more intense than ever.
Without ARCON’s vetting, he noted, lot of advert materials pops up on blogs and social media, which are not meant for children or against the belief of some of the people in the country among others.