APCON to sanction unregistered agencies, JC Decaux Leads Pack

Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has threatened to clamp down on marketing communications agencies operating in Nigeria without license.

One of such agencies that is likely to be affected is JC Decaux, the world’s largest outdoor agency which set up shop in Nigeria last year without proper registration.

The outdoor giant has in recent times been at logger heads with other indigenous operators who maintained that the outdoor agency have enjoyed unfair advantage from the Lagos State Government, even though it’s not recognised by the Federal government.

APCON, which is yet to have a board after three years due to the delay by the Presidency, also warned that advertisers who patronize and engage unlicensed agencies for business are working against the law and will be prosecuted.

To avoid confusion on licensed or unlicensed firms, the council through its Acting Registrar/CEO, Ijedi Iyoha, promised to make the list public.

She also assured that the council will inform the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) and other relevant stakeholders on its resolve to prosecute unlicensed agencies after May 1, 2018.

“The question is for how long we will keep condoning those that are not willing to be licensed.” She said.

“We met as a committee and we agreed that come May 1, 2018, we will publish the list of

licensed agencies of those that  are yet to be licensed.

“We are saying that it is now illegal for advertisers to engage agencies that are not registered with APCON for any advertising business. We expect them to make use of those that are duly and legally registered with APCON.

The advertisers will be sanctioned if we find them wanting because it will illegal business”

Iyoha stepped in as Acting Registrar early this year following the retirement of former Registrar Bello Kannaroffi.

She encouraged all the agencies to come to APCON and check their corporate status for membership.

According to her, the aim of re-licensing is to sanitize the industry going forward.

Speaking in the same vein, Chairman of Corporate Licensing Committee, Lekan Fadolapo, who is also the Executive Director/CEO Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), said the committee has inspected about 200 agencies, which is about 80% of all the agencies in the creative, media specialist and out of home business since April last year towards sensitizing them on the need for re-licensing. So far, some have complied, he said.

He explained that the licensing is in two categories. There is “Window A” for agencies who are members of recognized sectoral group and “Window B” for those who are not members of any sectoral group.

Lekan, who regretted that the business of advertising has suffered unethical practices reiterated the need for sanity in the industry. He said further that there was no reason for some agencies failure to avail themselves the opportunities to be licensed saying that the council has shifted the goal post for the implementation of this reform up to three times.


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