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HomeHeadline StoryNigeria bans white models in advertisements

Nigeria bans white models in advertisements

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Nigeria has banned foreign models and voiceover artists in advertisements – the first country to do so – in a bid to develop local talent.

The measure, taking effect from October, will effectively mean adverts in the African nation will no longer feature white models and British accents.

With the industry having already evolved, the ban could see more commercials shot locally.

There was a time when not just multinational companies selling their products in Nigeria, but even local brands featured white models.

Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria president Steve Babaeko said Britons accounted for about half of models and voiceover artists in Nigerian commercials a couple of decades ago.

He said the situation has changed with national sentiment catching up in the country of 218 million people.

Babaeko told The Times that there was “some kind of renaissance in Nigeria” with a “new sense of pride emerging” among young people.

Projects shot abroad or with foreign models were met with backlash, he said, adding that the ban also reflected the underlying national sentiment.

“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 told the British newspaper.

TV presenter Bolanle Olukanni said the industry has already become indigenous with Nigerian adverts rarely featuring white models these days, although many were shot in other countries such as Kenya and South Africa.

“If you’re advertising specific brands in the market, you cannot use someone who can pass as a Nigerian,” Olukanni told The Times.

“It really is about Africa”.

The ban would also result in agencies shooting commercials within Nigeria because “no one will fly 10-15 models to South Africa”, she said.

The director-general of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, Olalekan Fadolapo, said there had been a de facto ban on foreign models in Africa.

He said adverts with foreign models could not resonate with local people.

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