Nigeria is reportedly set to become the first country to ban foreign models and voiceover talent in its TV commercials.
According to The Times Of London, the Advertising Regulatory Council Of Nigeria (ARCON) announced the ban via an official statement on Aug. 23. In the report, officials explained that the move was part of a plan to “develop local talent” and, as such, all non-Nigerian models and voiceover artists in the country will be unemployed starting Oct. 1.
“All advertisements, advertising, and marketing communications materials targeted or exposed on the Nigerian advertising space are to use only Nigerian models and voiceover artists,” ARCON wrote. “Advertisers, advertisement agencies, media houses, the advertising community, and the general public are hereby enjoined to take note.”
Ban on the use of Foreign Models and Voice-Over Artists on the Nigerian Advertising Medium/Media pic.twitter.com/5pICTqOUt1
— Fed Min of Info & Cu (@FMICNigeria) August 23, 2022
The ban will reportedly be a big cultural shift for Nigeria, as its TV commercials have been filled with foreign models–including western white ones–for quite some time.
“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,” president of ARCON, Steve Babaeko, told The Times Of London. “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 also pointed out that there’s been “some kind of renaissance in Nigeria” with a “new sense of pride emerging” among “young people.”
Some have even linked that sentiment to the rise of Afrobeat music in the western world.
ARCON Director General Olalekan Foladapo said that current ads featuring foreign models and voiceover artists will still run, but new applications for foreign talent will be rejected.
“Subsequent applications for revalidation for continued exposure of such materials will not be granted,” by ARCON, Foladapo noted.
The Nigerian advertising industry was reportedly estimated to be about $450 million in 2021.