Mass Communication

An Assessment on the Regulations of Advertisement on Outdoor Media

An Assessment on the Regulations of Advertisement on Outdoor Media


The study is an assessment on the regulations of advertisement on outdoor media. The aim of the study is to determine the extent to which APCON as an advertising agency has been able to regulate advertising practices in Nigeria. The study adopts purposive sampling technique to gather primary data from a percentage of advertising population resident in Abuja using the questionnaire method as a tool for collecting data. The analysis is presented in percentage table and results are discussed accordingly. Findings revealed among other things that APCON as an advertising regulatory body despite their achievements has not been able to solve the challenges facing outdoor advertising in Nigeria due to many factors affecting their operations and advertising practices in the country. The study suggests ways to remedy the problems facing outdoor advertising in Nigeria and how APCON can overcome some if not all the challenges militating against its effectiveness.



1.1 Background to the Study

Advertising is the means of informing as well as influencing the general public to buy a product or services through visual or oral messages. A product or service is advertised to create awareness in the minds of potential buyers through various advertising mediums such as Newspaper, Magazines, Television, Radio, Posters, Hoardings, Billboard and in recent time internet and web advertising. It is a promotional activity for marketing a commodity. In the present day world of mass production and distribution, advertising serves as a powerful tool in the marketing process. Advertising is used for communicating business information to the present and prospective customers. It usually provides information about the advertising firm, its product qualities, place of availability etc.

Indeed, advertising is an integral part of our daily life and this makes it a tool for controlling the human mind. It is a pervasive method of marketing in society which encourages people to purchase goods and services. Advertising contributes to bringing about all round development of the economy by increasing demand and by encouraging economic activities which in turn improves income. It motivates people to consume more material and thereby improving their standard of living for the better. Effective advertising generates demand for goods and services and calls for more production which requires more physical and human resources, thus creating employment opportunities.

In the modern age of large scale production, producers cannot think of pushing the sale of the product without advertising. Advertising has acquired great importance in the modern world where tough competition in the market and fast changes in technology has altered our lifestyle. The term ‘advertising’ is derived from the Latin word ‘advertere’ which means ‘to turn’ the attention. According to Okoro (195), advertising refers to the printed, written, spoken or pictorial representation of a person, product, service or movement openly sponsored by the advertiser and at his expense, for the purpose of influencing sales, use, votes or endorsement. Every piece of advertising attempts to turn the attention of the readers or the listeners or the viewers towards a product. The most widely accepted definition of advertising is the one which is given by the American Marketing Association, according to them advertising is “any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of goods, services and ideas by an identified sponsors” (Kazmi and Batra, 208). But the definition has some limitations because it does not talk about the persuasive aspect of advertising, without which it is very difficult to achieve advertising objectives. A survey of recent advertising and marketing textbooks makes it obvious that there is no universally accepted definition of advertising; however certain recurring elements such as paid, non-personal, identified sponsors, mass media, act of persuasion makes advertising to be controlled means of mass communication, may take any form-visual, oral or written to promote a product through persuasive communication to achieve a pre-determined objectives, changing and reinforcing the desired attitude of the consumers at the point of purchase.

Advertising started with the early man when he made some inscription on his cave walls. From there, advertising spread to Babylon in 300BC on clay tablet which were announcements for dealers in ointments, scribes and shoemakers; it was later practiced in Egypt, Rome and Greece. Advertising is a versatile business practice, it operates in every sector of the economy be it political, socio-economical, scientific, or technological.

Due to the intricacies involved with the practice of advertising in Nigeria as it is elsewhere, a need arose to set up a body to regulate the practice. This need for legally and lawfully established body to control the practice of advertising resulted in the establishment of the Advertising Practitioners Councils of Nigeria (APCON). The advertising agency, APCON plays a unique role in the promotion of advertising in Nigeria. Advertising gave birth to APCON, that is, to say, advertising is the foundation of APCON because advertising in Nigeria was facing a lot of challenges and the need for a regulatory body to manage advertising practice in the country led to the birth of APCON.

The advertising practice in Nigeria has a lot of ethical challenges as advertising firms and individuals do not conform to the regulatory rules and practices guiding advertising in the country. The need to checkmate some of the excesses of advertisers led to the creation of APCON which is the major regulatory body for advertising practitioners in Nigeria. However, over the years, the role of APCON in regulating advertising practices has been criticized as ineffective by some individuals and groups. The aim of this research is to assess the role and impact of APCON in regulating advertising practices in Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

All over the world where advertising exists as a form of business, man is capable of abusing such line of business particularly if not properly checked. In Nigeria, indiscriminate advertising litters the streets as fliers, handbills, posters, billboards, and other advertising tools have been used unchecked. This has led to the creation of nuisance, dirty environment, pollution, fraud and other unhealthy situations for the society. A regulatory body was setup to manage such advertising activities. However, the activities of this body despite their achievements have not completely been able to solve the problem caused by uncensored advertising in the country.

While some may consider APCON as a failed institution, others may see them as a force to be reckoned with. Thus, one wonders if the establishment of APCON has been able to eradicate the issues that go with advertising or not, and if it has, to what extent. Thus, this research sets out to assess the role and impact of APCON in regulating advertising practices in Nigeria. This is the problem to be solved in this study.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

This research aims to achieve the following objectives:

i. Access the role(s) which APCON plays in advertising practices in Nigeria.

ii. Examine the impact of APCON in the advertising industry that is, their success or failure.

iii. Determine the extent to which APCON regulates advertising practices in the country.

iv. Determine advertisers’ views on the role and impact of APCON in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

The study will be guided by the following research questions in achieving the set objectives stated above:

i. What is the role(s) of APCON in advertising practices in Nigeria?

ii. What is APCON’s impact(s) in Nigeria’s advertising?

iii. To what extent has APCON regulated advertising practices in the country?

iv. What are advertisers’ views on the role and impact of APCON in Nigeria?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study is significant for the following reasons:

It will give insights to readers on the activities of APCON and their role in regulating advertising practices in Nigeria. Members of APCON will find the findings of this study useful and informative in terms of the perception of Nigerians on the regulatory roles they play in the country’s advertising practices. This research will thus serve as opinion polls for APCON as a body.

Also, students and researchers who may want to carry out future research on similar topics will find this study as useful source materials for their work. Lastly, this research is useful for its contribution to knowledge as it will increase the literatures in advertising and regulatory bodies in Nigeria.

1.6 Scope of the Study

There are more than one advertising regulatory bodies in Nigeria such as: Advertisers, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) etc.; however, this research is limited to the activities of APCON as a regulatory body. Also, the population to be sampled in this study is only limited to advertising practitioners resident within Abuja.

The study will access the roles and impacts of APCCON as a regulatory body and sample public opinions about their successes or failures in regulating advertising practices in Nigeria; the study will not go beyond this objective or those mentioned above in this study.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

The inability of the researcher to sample opinions from all the advertising practitioners in Nigeria limits the findings of this research. As a matter of fact, only a small population resident in Abuja was sampled.

Time constraints also pose a limitation for this study as the researcher is not able to cover more grounds that would have been insightful for this research. Also, finding advertising practitioners and convincing them to collect, fill and submit the questionnaires was a difficult task that poses a limitation to this study, not to mention the financial constraints in moving from one place to another within Abuja to sample opinions.


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