By Emmanuel Addeh
Heads of Advertising Sectoral Groups (HASG), an umbrella body comprising advertising, media, marketing activation and out-of-home media agencies as well as broadcasting company groups, yesterday called for more consultations on the planned imposition of an N100,000 fine on adverts played on foreign media channels.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had stated that there would henceforth be a fine for advertisements broadcast on foreign-owned channels and production of content abroad by advertisers, insisting that brands that run adverts during foreign matches must compulsorily advertise during Nigerian premiership games.
He further stated that brands that produce their advertising materials abroad will pay a fine of N100, 000 each time such adverts are run, adding that advertising materials promoting Nigerian brands must be directed and authored by Nigerians inside the country.
But in a statement jointly signed by the President, Advertising Association of Nigeria (AAAN), Mr. Steve Babaeko, President, Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Mrs. Bunmi Adeniba and President, Media Independents Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), Femi Adelusi, the coalition noted none of its members was carried along before the decision was reached.
Other signatories included the President, Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), Mr. Emmanuel Ajufo, Chairman, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), Sa’am Ibrahim and the President, Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN), Mr. Tade Adekunle.
The group urged the minister to engage the industry players and practitioners more and explore collaboration on issues like the foregoing before making pronouncements that can significantly impact the industry.
The advertisers urged the minister to understand that they put their advertising investment where Nigerians are drawn to, noting that media decisions are driven by the consumers’ interest, passion, inspiration and aspirations.
According to them, CNN and other international news channels are watched by Nigerians locally and internationally explaining that the world is now a global village and Nigerians do not only live within their physical boundaries.
They argued that Nigerian-based news channels and contents developed locally are also consumed across many countries beyond its borders, with no special fines and levies imposed on companies who place adverts within them.
The coalition stated that while there are some merits in the bid to encourage and support local production of contents in a bid to support the local industries, the minister must know that these have to be allowed to develop organically.
“Also, many leading advertisers are multinational companies who rationally seek to explore economies of scale in the production of materials, negotiation costs, and broadcast of their contents which run across many countries.
“Even with this said, empirical information and trended data shows clearly that investment in local broadcast stations still outweighs that of foreign channels.
“There are many areas where the government can support the industry to grow and these include funding in the areas of technical infrastructure, content development grants, and investment in tools of measurement of advertising effectiveness and efficiency,” the group noted.
However, the body stressed that its members would continue to reach out and be available to support the ministry of information and culture as well as its regulator, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) is growing the marketing communications industry.
“Finally, we strongly appeal to the ministry as well as the National Assembly, to engage and involve the professional practitioners of the various sectors of the marketing communications industry in the conversations on policies at the point of ideation, formulation, and development of these policies.
“This is the best pathway to a progressive and implementable legislation of policies and initiatives that will improve the well-being of the industry and Nigerians,” the umbrella advertisers’ body explained.