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Nation becomes first to ban white models — Analysis

Nigeria says the need to “develop local talent” and support “inclusive economic growth” justifies the move

Nigerian ads will have to rely solely on local models and voiceover artists in future, the African nation’s government announced this week. On October 1, the policy changes will take effect. 

“All advertisements, advertising and marketing communications materials are to make use of only Nigerian models and voiceover artists,”The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, (ARCON), saidA statement was made Tuesday. The government agency stated that current advertising campaigns using foreign talent will continue, but they will not issue any new permits to similar campaigns. 

The move is consistent with the government’s policy of “developing local talent, including economic growth”According to the statement, they are also supporting the local advertising sector. According to The Times, Nigeria had previously relied heavily on voiceover professionals and foreign models for its advertisements. This included voiceovers using British accents and white models. 

For a long time, government officials have been combatting such tendencies. The British newspaper reports that IT had previously required foreign companies to pay 100,000 naira ($240) for every foreign model they used in an advertisement. 




“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,”The Times spoke with Steve Babaeko the chief of the Nigerian advertising organization. Multinational corporations such as LG or Coca-Cola rely on global advertising campaigns that feature white models in Nigeria. 

Babaeko claims that the new regulation will be effective immediately. “catching up”With the national spirit. “People will tell you, ‘There are about 200 million of us. Are you telling me you could not find indigenous models for this commercial?’”He said.

Olalekan Fadolapo (head ARCON) also supported the regulation, saying, “advertising should resonate with the people.”

“How do you think it will resonate if we keep using foreign artists?”He said that while other African nations had de facto prohibited foreign models appearing in advertisements, these bans were not made into regulations. 

Bolanle Oluganni, Nigerian television presenter, stated that the issue is not only about African nation competition, as many of the ads displayed in Africa were shot in Kenya or South Africa. She said that Nigerian agencies will now need to film their ads in Nigeria. “no one will fly 10-15 models to South Africa.” 

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