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HASG faults minister’s comment on adverts in foreign media

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Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Heads of Advertising Sectoral Groups (HASG) has faulted the recent statement by Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that a fine awaits any firm that places advertisement on foreign media channels.

The statement was reported widely in leading newspapers on March 29, 2021.

In the minister’s comment during discussions on NTA Good Morning Nigeria show, he said: “Nigerian brands that run adverts during foreign matches must compulsorily advertise during Nigerian Premier Football League games.”

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Mohammed also stated that brands that produce their advertising materials abroad would 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.

In its response contained in a statement, HASG, a body made up of advertisers (advertising agencies, media agencies, marketing activation agencies, out-of-home media agencies and broadcasting companies), urged the minister to engage the industry players and practitioners more and explore collaboration on issues like this before making pronouncements that could significantly impact the sector.

The statement, signed by President of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Mr. Steve Babaeko, and President, Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Mrs. Bunmi Adeniba, said: “It is important for the minister to 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 HASG, “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 these have 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. Even with this said, empirical information and trended data shows clearly that investment on local broadcast stations still outweighs that of foreign channels.”

The groups listed areas where government can support the industry to grow as funding technical infrastructure, content development grants, and investment in tools to measure advertising effectiveness and efficiency, among others.

“With the right support for the marketing communication industry, content development, local media investment and media infrastructural development will grow and improve organically,” HASG said.

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