Now that ARCON has been signed into law

By Ralph Tathagata

Advertisement strongly influences consumers’ buying behaviour and the spread of it is one of the reasons that lead to an increase in brands’ equity and profitability. However, sometimes, advertisers and agency practitioners resort to questionable methods to increase their profits even if the method is not disciplined.

Therefore, the need for the government to regulate advertisements to prevent the spread of counterfeit products, protect consumers from fake and harmful offers and to establish laws to regulate advertising and not to lie about it cannot be overstated.

Advertising in Nigeria is regulated by a combination of federal laws, including state laws, subsidiary legislation and guidelines. Meanwhile, theAdvertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) remains the apex regulatory body and authority of advertising in the country. Although advertising products and services are acceptable and open to all, just like other countries, having the right to engage in advertising practice does not guarantee unlimited freedom to advertise products and services.

In recent times, Nigeria’s advertising landscape has been experiencing perhaps the most dynamic revolution and technological disruptions, as most businesses that are not necessarily advertising practitioners have found a goldmine in the sub-sector. In fact, advertising has become so important that businesses actively create adverts almost on a daily basis hence the need for a proper overhaul of the APCON Act to help accommodate those who also advertise online, given that online marketers are not currently regulated by the Act.

Not long ago, Dr. Lekan Fadolapo, Registrar of APCON hinted that the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) bill was before the National Assembly. He specifically mentioned that the name change was imperative to the realization of his vision to reposition the advertising industry in Nigeria for growth.

Over the weekend, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the ARCON bill into law, which seeks to allow the advertising regulatory agency to operate as the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) in line with its mandate of regulating the advertising industry in Nigeria.

The assented bill, which repeals the Advertising Practitioners’ Act, recognises ARCON as the apex authority for the Nigerian advertising industry. By this signing, it is the statutory responsibility of ARCON to make provision for the regulation and control of advertising in all its ramifications and create the Advertising Offences Tribunal among other powers.

The approved ARCON bill, therefore, becomes a final imperative call for advertisers and agency practitioners to be aware of the potential legal ramifications of their advertising practice and initiatives, especially with respect to regulated products, in order to obviate legal exposure and liability. Such need becomes even more compelling where the audience of the advertising is, courtesy of technology and online platforms, which are running riot at the moment.


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