Nigeria’s government has publicly announced its decision to become the first country to ban non-Nigerian models from their television commercials. The ruling includes non-native white actors who have appeared regularly on the country’s screens. The decision arrives as the government decides to focus on developing local talent in October of this year.
According to The Times of London, this ban would mean that all non-Nigerian models and voiceover artists in the country will be out of a job. For years, foreign models and British voices had taken over Nigerian television screens in commercials and ads.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the Advertising Regulatory Council Of Nigeria (ARCON) explained, “All advertisements, advertising, and marketing communications materials targeted or exposed on the Nigerian advertising space are to use only Nigerian models and voice-over artists. Advertisers, advertisement agencies, media houses, the advertising community, and the general public are hereby enjoined to take note.”
As far as advertising campaigns that are already in motion, ARCON’s Director General Olalekan Foladapo said that they will continue running those ads until the end of their terms. Foladapo also added that “subsequent applications for revalidation for continued exposure of such materials will not be granted” by the Advertising Regulatory Council.
“Ten to 20 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, told the publication.
He added, “People will tell you, ‘There are about 200 million of us. Are you telling me you could not find indigenous models for this commercial?’” According to reports, the advertising industry in Nigeria is estimated to be around $450 million cording to stats from 2021.