Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has called on advertisers, advertising agencies, and other practitioners in the advertising profession to always vet their creatives in-house as a form of self·regulation before sending them to the regulatory body for vetting.

This was disclosed at the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP) Stakeholders’ Forum held recently at Sheba Event Centre, Ikeja Lagos.

During a panel session, Emmanuel Agu, a marketing expert, said the practice of in-house self-regulation will reduce the trend of sanctions or paying fines for unethical advert exposure by brands.

In his words, “When we regulate ourselves first, we take ourselves from the milky water of ARCON regulation which begins with all of us having the Advertising Industry Standard of Practice (AISOP) guidelines and reading it to understand every aspect of the law.”

Also speaking during the panel session, Yinka Adebayo, Group Executive Director at Omnicom Media Group, urged brands to always ensure that their materials are vetted before exposure to avoid disciplinary measures from ARCON and the negative impact it will have on their reputation.

“For me as a person, I have since taken the position not to run contrary to the law because this is a business I love and practice and it behooves me as a fellow to practice it right understanding what the law says. That is why any advert material we associate ourselves with as buying agency, one of the questions we ask is if the material has been vetted and approved to be exposed,” he said.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, Director General, ARCON said the purpose of the event is to chart a way forward for the industry, dissect issues, and educate practitioners on what ethical and responsible advertising is about. He added that its current reforms are not met to strangulate the industry but to strengthen it.

Mrs. Omowunmi Owodunni, Chairman, ASP, on her part, while delivering her presentation titled “Ethical advertising practice: Things to avoid in marketing communications” tasked practitioners to embark on ethical advertising practice by ensuring that their creatives conform to the global rule for advertising which includes: Legal, decent, truthful, honest and socially responsible.

She also reminded practitioners of the guiding principles of advertising in Nigeria, according to her, “All Advertisements, Advertising, and Marketing Communications in Nigeria or directed at the Nigerian market shall be legal, decent, honest, truthful, respectful and mindful of Nigeria’s culture, constitutional tenets, and relevant lawful enactments.

“They shall be prepared with high sense of social responsibility and shall be devoid of misinformation or disinformation.”

She added that “All Advertisements, Advertising and Marketing Communications shall conform to the principles of fair competition generally accepted in business, and of fair comments. They shall aim to enhance public confidence in Advertising and shall be mindful of the interest of the consumer and the public”

Similarly, Martha Onyebuchi, Director of Regulations, ARCON said its regulation is not aimed to stifle creativity but to strengthen the marketing communications industry by ensuring that creatives are ethical.

“We do not regulate to strangulate, but rather to strengthen the marketing communications industry. We do not regulate to stifle creativity, but rather to bring out and show creativity in its true unalloyed form in alignment with the Nigerian code of advertising,” she stated.

The event was well attended by stakeholders in the industry including sectoral heads. Some of the dignitaries are Osamede Uwubanmwen, President of the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN); Tolulope Medebem, President, Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN); Femi Adelusi, President, Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN); Idorenyen Enang, President, National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN); Jibe Ologeh, President, Electronic Media Content Owners Association of Nigeria (EMCOAN); Alhaji Bello Kankarofi, Registrar, former Advertising Practitioner Council of Nigeria (now ARCON) and among others.

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