Nigeria has become the first country to announce a complete ban on foreign models from its television commercials. The decision was made by the Nigerian government with the aim of “developing local talent” and will be officially implemented from October this year.
According to the Times, the ban means that all non-Nigerian models and voice-over artists will soon be out of work in the country and it will be a huge cultural shift. In the past, it was common for foreign faces and British-accented voices to be featured widely on Nigerian television.
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“10 to 20 years ago, if you looked at the adverts, I’d say they were almost 50/50 in terms of foreign faces and all the voiceovers were British accents,” said Steve Babaeko, president of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria. The Times after the announcement.
Although the ban was just announced, restrictions existed in Nigeria, as companies previously had to pay a fee of 100,000 naira (about $240) for employing a foreign model in their advertisements.
One of the first companies to embrace the change was advertising agency AMV BBDO, which used local models and a director to shoot the “Black Shines Brightest” campaign for the Guinness beer brand.
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“I think the law is just catching up with national sentiment. Maybe eight years ago you were noticing something of a renaissance in Nigeria.
“People will tell you, ‘We are about 200 million. Are you telling me you couldn’t find any native models for this commercial? “, Babaeko explained.
The Nigerian advertising industry was valued at around $450 million in 2021 and although not as large as a number of other African countries, the move is believed to boost its popularity.