Nigeria bans foreigners from advertisements

The Sunday Times reports that Nigeria has just banned all non-Nigerians from the country’s advertisements. 

This makes it the first country to institute such a ban.


The decision was recently announced by the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCN).

“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,” the announcement reads.

Previously, there had been a 100,000-Naira tariff, which equates to about $240, on the use of foreign models in Nigerian advertisements. Now, it’s an outright ban.

The motivation behind the ban is to develop local talent. But, it is also expected that the ban will result in Nigerian advertisements actually being produced in Nigeria and that the ban will, ultimately, be good for the Nigerian economy, such as by providing jobs for young people in the advertising sector.

The measure will take effect in October.

A “renaissance” of “pride”

Many are interpreting this as a ban from Nigerian advertisements of white models with British accents. Such models have featured heavily in Nigerian advertisements in the past, even in advertisements of local brands. At one point, it is estimated, by the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, that about half of the models and voiceover artists in Nigerian commercials were British.

But, that was decades ago. It has become increasingly rare to see foreigners in Nigerian advertisements, which leads to the question is, “what’s changed?”

According to Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria president Steve Babaeko, what has changed is the Nigerian people themselves. He said that there is “some kind of renaissance” occurring among Nigerians, one that has come with a “new sense of pride,” and, it is out of this new sense of pride in their country that the push to develop local talent – as well as the ban on foreigners – has come.

“People will tell you, ‘There are about 200 million of us. Are you telling me you could not find indigenous models for this commercial?,” Babaeko said.

Here in America, we could certainly use our own “renaissance” of pride in our country.

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