The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), has called on members of the Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN) to join hands with the regulatory body in her bid to sanitize the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) industry.

The Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of APCON, Dr. Lekan Fadolapo, who made the call said it has become necessary because of the role brand journalists play as critical stakeholders in the sector.

He said this while playing host to members of the newly elected executives of the Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN) in his Iganmu office on Tuesday.

The executives led by its newly elected Chairman, Clara Chinwe Okoro had gone to intimate Dr Fadolapo led APCON on its planned activities, as a major stakeholder and regulatory body of the marketing communication industry.

Since the introduction of the Advertising Industry Standard of Practice (AISOP) as the new rules of engagement in the advertising practice in the country, there have been concerns from some quarters over some clauses in the bill. But, the APCON boss said the rules are not different from what obtains from other climes especially as the aim is geared to strengthen the industry.

“Now that BJAN has a new executive team, we have discussed with our management on the need to collaborate with the association, we need to work together for a smooth working relationship so that we can have a better industry. Many things are happening and there is no way we are not going to be instrumental to the development of the industry,” the former AAAN boss said.

Dr. Fadolapo traced his relationship with BJAN on a personal level to his days at AAAN where he noted that he had been an instrument of stability for BJAN in terms of strategic support.

“On the part of APCON I know that my predecessor in APCON have had smooth working relationship with BJAN even at different points in time.

“Moreso, I am aware that CBN and SEC organize training for stock exchange and finance reporters at least to see how they will help improve the reportage by instituting  training and capacity building purpose for the journalists.

“And we at APCON may not have done much, but we have in our own little way kept the line of communication with BJAN open.

“As a journalist, the profession is built on integrity- you are a strategic perception manager in this industry. Very strategic to the growth of the industry and BJAN has a role to play in the evolving of a new industry- all hands must be on deck to make that happen,” he said.

Speaking on the AISOP rules the APCON boss said, what the regulatory body has done is in line with best business practice, “even if you go to international law, they will tell you that, where the local law conflicts with international law, the local law prevails. That is why you will not see anybody going to Saudi Arabia to advertise alcohol—that is their local law,” he averred.

“The advertising industry spend is about N100b what goes to the agency is about 20%,  the remaining 80% will go to the media either broadcast, print, out of home or new media. Meaning that, what we are fighting for is that 20%.

“How can our agencies grow if we don’t play by the rules? There are things that are conscientious- they should speak to our conscience.

“The same multinationals advertise on CNN pay in dollars and prepay. Yet they will come to Nigeria and tell you that they will give you 120 days i.e 4 months. And you will bill them and then be expected to wait for 4 months and you know that the survival of any media house is heavily dependent on advertising..

“Dr Fadolapo noted that APCON was not out to hunt any sectoral group just as it will not fold its hands and allow the deterioration to continue in the system.

“The simple highlight of AISOP is: Don’t tell media how much they can charge because you are advertisers- you cannot do that to CNN, BBC, Aljazeera etc why are you doing that to Nigerians; do not request for 90 days notice that you will pay after 120 days and when you call for pitch get ready to pay rejection fee because it cost money to prepare for it.

“For us, somebody need to bite the bullet- accept responsibility for a new industry to emerge and APCON has to take the lead and that is why we are on this conversation,” the APCON boss.

In her reaction, Clara Okoro said as journalists who play in the IMC space and “we want to see where we can play a role for APCON and to see how APCON can play a major role in our activities for the betterment of the industry and particularly the consumers who are the first beneficiaries of the materials that we put out.

On his part, Afolabi Idowu, the out-going Chairman of BJAN called on APCON to take particular interest in activities of BJAN especially as the new executives have lined up series of engaging activities to be carried out.

The visit to APCON is one of the series of visits lined out by the newly elected executives to intimate stakeholders in the IMC industry of its activities.

Lukman Ishau, Vice Chairman, Juwon Osunnuyi, General Secretary, Melvin Udosen, Treasurer, Adeyemi Olufemi, Financial Secretary and Amechi Obiakpu, Chief Information Officer (CIO) were among the delegates.

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