We are not out to strangulate creative advertising sector – ARCON

Director-General of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, has said  the council is not out to strangulate the creative sector, but rather to regulate it through Advertising Standard Panel (ASP) process of applying the code of advertising for the benefit of the Nigerian economy.

Dr. Fadolapo stated this in his welcome address at the Advertising Standard Panel (ASP) Stakeholders’ Forum held in Lagos penultimate Thursday.

He said the council cannot afford to fold her arms and watch the country plunge into crisis through unethical advertising practice.

 Dr Fadolapo said: “ARCON will continue to insist on responsible advertising in Nigeria. We also need to stop the capital flight and development of other economies by some Nigerian organizations’ attitude of going out of the country to produce advertisements meant for our market.

“All commercials to be exposed to Nigerians should be produced in Nigeria. We need to create jobs for the Nigerian youths, help grow and develop the support service sector of the industry and circulate funds within the Nigerian advertising ecosystem.”

Mrs. Omowunmi Owodunni, Chairman, Advertising Standard Panel (ASP), in her keynote lecture advised stakeholders to move away from the space of, “I don’t care,” and move to the space of “it’s the law.” By doing that we can easily improve our behavior into an ethical lifestyle that will help the advertising industry.

She said it’s only lack of ethics that makes stakeholders not comply with the law. She lamented the lack of empirical truth that abound in the industry and advised that for the advertising industry in Nigeria to meet global objectives like FTC in the United States of America, ASA in the United Kingdom, and ARB in South Africa, we must be decent and legal in our approach.

She admonished those in the habit of exposing digital adverts without approval to desist from the act as the Council will not spare any organization found wanting in that regard.

ARCON’s Director of Regulations, Martha Ugbomma Onyebuchi in her address on vetting processes and procedures pointed out that with the New ARCON Act of 2022, a lot of grey areas in the definition of what constitutes an advertisement has been expanded.

She made a poser by asking, “How many practitioners have the Nigerian Code of Advertising document?”

She lamented that a lot of Nigerian Ad materials are full of misinformation and can’t be substantiated. She’s of the opinion that practitioners should be fined for such unethical behavior.

She gave an example that alcoholic related materials are not meant to be exposed in the morning so as to guard against corrupting the minds of children because of its dire consequences for society.

She said the reasons why some stakeholders are at loggerheads with ARCON are because they don’t like to follow deep advertising laws as it relates to culture and human rights.

In his own contribution, Barrister Charles Odenigbo, Advertising Law Practitioner and a critical stakeholder in the sector, said the 2022 ARCON Law has now redefined so many things in the industry.

He stated that provision has been made for arbitration. He concluded by advising advertisers and the media to be more proactive as they tend to be the biggest violators.

The event was attended by former Registrar of APCON, Alhaji Bello Kankarofi, different sectoral groups – AAAN, EXMAN, MIPAN, OAAN, Media, Advertising Agencies and of course Advertisers – brands and business owners. It was a convergence of creative eggheads in the industry.