Why Lai Mohammed Must Allow the Ad Industry to Develop Organically, As HASG Opposes Fines
The production and content development capabilities of the marketing communications industry should be allowed to freely develop organically and improve as technology and funding improve, these are the areas of support required for the local players and production industry to emerge and lead the world rather than a minister’s fiat or unfriendly government legislations.
The above is the submission of the Heads of Advertising Sectoral Groups (HASG) as the body vehemently opposed a recent pronouncement by the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed declaring that brands running on commercials on international channels such as CNN will henceforth pay substantial fines to the government.
The minister’s unpopular submission widely reported on many leading newspaper channels on Monday 29th March 2021 regarding the payment of fines for advertisements placed on foreign-owned media Channels and production of content abroad by advertisers, drew the ire of the business pressure group.
In the honorable Minister’s comment during discussions on the NTA’s “Good Morning Nigeria show”, he had declared that “Nigerian brands that run adverts during foreign matches must compulsorily advertise during Nigerian Premier Football League games”.
“The minister also stated that brands that produce their advertising materials abroad will pay a fine of N100, 000 each time such adverts are run, adding that advertising materials promoting Nigerian brands must be directed and authored by Nigerians inside the country”.
Picking holes in the minister’s pronouncements, the HASG noted, “The Minister should understand that advertisers put their advertising investment where the eyeballs of Nigerians are. The media decisions are driven by the consumers’ interest, passion, inspiration, and aspirations. CNN and other international news channels are watched by Nigerians locally and internationally, the world is now a global village and Nigerians do not only live within our physical boundaries. Nigeria-based news channels and contents developed locally are also consumed across many countries beyond our borders, with no special fines and levies imposed on companies who place adverts within them”.
According to the group, while there are some merits in the bid to encourage and support local production of contents in a bid to support the local industries, the Minister must understand that this has to be allowed to develop organically.
Also, many leading Advertisers are multinational companies who rationally seek to explore economies of scale in the production of materials, negotiation costs, and broadcast of their contents which run across many countries the group further explained.
Rationalising the group’s position as against the minister’s fiat, HASG noted that empirical information and available data show clearly that investment by advertisers on local broadcast stations still outweighs that of foreign channels while declaring that there are many areas where the government can support the industry to grow as against the fines being touted by the government.
For the industry to grow organically, such areas of support should include “funding in the areas of technical infrastructure, content development grants, and investment in tools of measurement of advertising effectiveness & efficiency among others”.
Insisting that with the right support for the marketing communication industry, content development, local media investment and media infrastructural development will grow and improve organically, the HASG cites the examples of the Nigerian music and entertainment industry, as well as the movie industry which it claimed: “did not emerge and become global by forced legislative fiats but via organic growth and creativity of the practitioners”.
As a way forward, The HASG as a body, made up of Advertisers: Advertising Agencies, Media Agencies, Marketing Activation Agencies, Out-of-home Media Agencies and Broadcasting Company groups, urged the Minister to engage the industry players and practitioners more and explore collaboration on issues like this before making these pronouncements that can significantly impact the industry.
“We will continue to reach out and be available to support the Ministry of Information and Culture as well as its regulator, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) in moving the marketing communications industry in Nigeria forward.
“The ministry and the communication industry in Nigeria can benefit more from working together and in addressing the key issues concerning the development of marketing, advertising and sponsorships in Nigeria when the capability and expertise of the professional players are leveraged” the statement further concluded.