Nigeria has become the first country ever to announce a complete ban on foreign models when it comes to its television advertisements. The decision was taken by the Nigerian government in an attempt to “develop local talent” and will officially be implemented from October this year.
According to The Times, the ban means that all non-Nigerian models and voiceover artists will be out of work in the country soon and this will be a huge cultural shift. In the past, it was common for foreign faces and British-accented voices to feature heavily on Nigerian television.
“Ten to 20 years ago, if you checked the commercials, I would say they were almost 50/50 in terms of foreign faces and all the voiceovers were British accents,” Steve Babaeko, president of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, told The Times after the announcement.
Although the ban was just announced, restrictions existed in Nigeria as companies earlier had to pay a fee of 100,000-Naira (about $240) for employing any foreign model in their advertisements.
One of the first companies to embrace this shift was the ad agency AMV BBDO who used local models and director to shoot the “Black Shines Brightest” campaign for beer brand Guinness.
“I think the law is just catching up with national sentiment. As long as maybe eight years ago, you would notice some kind of renaissance in Nigeria.”
“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 explained.
The Nigerian advertising industry was valued at roughly $450 million in 2021 and although it is not as big as a number of other African nations, it is believed that this move can boost its popularity.