Nigeria Becomes First Country To Ban Foreign Models in Advertisments

Nigeria’s advertising regulator has announced a ban on using foreign models and voice-over artists in television commercials made in the country.

The move, which is the first of its kind, will take effect in October and follows the Federal Government’s pledge that promises to develop local talent, drive inclusive economic growth, and promote the advertising industry in Nigeria.

The Times of London reports that the ban will cover all non-Nigerians as well as a number of western, white actors who have appeared regularly on the country’s television adverts. All advertisements and marketing materials that are targeted at the Nigerian market must use Nigerian models. “Advertisers, advertisement agencies, media houses, the advertising community, and the general public are hereby enjoined to take note.”

Ban on the use of Foreign Models and Voice-Over Artists on the Nigerian Advertising Medium/Media

— Fed Min of Info & Cu (@FMICNigeria) August 23, 2022

The measure will increase work opportunities for talented home-grown people. The Nigerian advertising industry used large numbers of British-born models and voice-over talent.

Even before the ban was announced, companies had to pay a 100,000-Naira tariff, which is around $240, for every foreign model used in an advert, making Nigeria one of the world’s most uncompromising environments for media representation.

“Ten to twenty years ago if you checked the commercials, I would say they were almost 50/50 in terms of foreign faces, and all the voiceovers were British accents,” Steve Babaeko, president of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, tells The Times of London.

Nigerian brands would use foreigners, while multinationals such as Coca-Cola and LG would simply distribute their global campaigns, full of white models, in Nigeria.

Indicating the shift in advertising strategy by international brands, Guinness shot their present African television commercial campaign in Lagos and used a Nigerian director and local models.

ARCON’s General Director Olalekan Foladapo announced the ban this week. He said that it would not impact ongoing advertising campaigns and they would still be allowed to continue their terms.

However, Foladapo added that “subsequent applications for revalidation for continued exposure of such materials will not be granted” by the Advertising Regulatory Council.