Expert calls for dialogue to save Nigeria’s advertising industry


Raheem Akingbolu

A veteran Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) lawyer and Managing Partner of Gee Law Firm, Mr. Nosakhare Uwadiae, has urged stakeholders unhappy with the new Advertising Industry Standard of Practice (AISOP) document to engage in dialogue in the interest of bringing reason to the industry.

He also warned IMC agencies to be careful with the document they sign with brands as most of these contracts fall under the unreasonable contracts regime.

Nosakhare, who spoke on “Advertising, Fairness and Regulation”, at the 9th Annual General Meeting/Conference of the Association of Brand Journalists of Nigeria (BJAN) held in Lagos, criticized the nature of most of the contracts made with Nigerian agencies by multinationals and highlighted their elements of unequal bargaining power. The main theme of the conference is; “Media Management in Difficult Times”.

He said: “Experience shows that most contracts between clients and agencies lack fairness. More often than not, the contracts are more to the benefit of the clients (one-sided) and the bargaining power of the agencies is weak out of desperation to get business from the client. Most of the contracts that clients sign with agencies fall under the inadmissible contract regime,” he said.

Speaking on AISOP, Uwadiae said, “I would recommend that advertising players in Nigeria review AISOP and come up with balanced recommendations. A short, medium and long term assessment of the recommendations should be candidly considered to make recommendations that will have far-reaching implications for the benefit of all parties. There should also be agreement among stakeholders for a review of AISOP every five years to fill gaps and adapt to current realities.

This should be part of AISOP. More engagement should be encouraged and all stakeholders should avoid grandstanding. We must work together for the collective interests of the industry.

It should be noted that, according to APCON, AISOP is a business framework that aims to enhance mutual respect, eradicate unfair advantages, unethical competition and unfair terms of engagement among stakeholders in the industry. Advertising and Marketing Communications of the Nigerian Economy which came into force on October 6th. 2021.

The AISOP code captures the engagement policy, how stakeholders engage agencies, payment terms and commission, compensation, opt-out protocol, ad returns and measurement, peaceful resolution and d other related protocols. However, the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) has rejected the AISOP code, saying it undermines the rights of private entities to determine their contractual terms.

Referring to the benefits of self-regulation like AISOP, IMC’s legal expert said, “Marketers benefit from self-regulation because responsible advertising helps build consumer trust in brands, which in turn builds brand loyalty and increases sales.”

On another note, Nosakhare said that AISOP should have taken into account that some agencies do not meet the service level agreement (SLA) and do not act as strategic business partners for customers and even when customers pay, some agencies and media freelancers don’t pay third parties
“If not properly managed, it could worsen the current payment situation. There is a need to have more engagements with ADVAN so that realistic timelines can be agreed based on SLAs and KPIs,” he said.

Earlier in his welcome address, outgoing BJAN President AfolabiIdowu said the association chose the theme and sub-theme to address salient topical issues in the industry and help members gain a clear understanding the issues so that we can provide the robust analysis and reporting that Nigerians and other stakeholders need to better understand the subject.


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