Nigeria becomes first country ever to ban white models in adverts

In an attempt to develop local talent, Nigeria’s advertising regulator has decided to completely ban foreign models and voiceover artists.

The measure will take effect from October. It is expected to boost the prospects of locals in the advertising industry which has a large chunk of white models and British accents.

Steve Babaeko, President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, told The Times,

“Britons accounted for about half of models and voiceover artists in Nigerian commercials a couple of decades ago.”

Babaeko talked about the renaissance in Nigeria regarding identity and said,

“as long as maybe eight years ago, you would notice some kind of renaissance in Nigeria.”. He added, ” People will tell you, ‘There are about 200 million of us. Are you telling me you could not find indigenous models for this commercial?”

This ban also reflected the underlying national sentiment as projects that were shot abroad or had foreign models faced a backlash

In order to control the foreign influx, restrictions were already placed in Nigeria with firms having to pay a fee of 100,000-Naira (about $240) for employing any foreign model in their advertisements.

Ad agency AMV BBDO was one of the first firms to welcome this shift and used local models and director to shoot the “Black Shines Brightest” campaign for beer brand Guinness.

TV presenter Bolanle Olukanni explained that the advertising industry is now more indigenous and now adverts rarely feature white models these days. But she pointed out that many were shot in other countries such as Kenya and South Africa.

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In 2021, the Nigerian advertising industry was reportedly valued at roughly $450 million.

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