Agency Apologises to ARCON Over “All Eyes on the Judiciary” Ad


In a new development, Intercontinental Marketing & Communication Consortium Limited, the agency responsible for deploying the controversial “All Eyes on The Judiciary” ad, without an approval certificate from the industry regulator, has tendered an official apology to the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON).

In a recent letter currently being circulated and signed by its Managing Director, Stephen Ogboko, dated August 17 and addressed to the Chairman of the Advertising Standard Panel (ASP), the agency acknowledged its breach of Article 24(a) of the Nigeria Advertising Practice code, which states that all advertising, marketing communications, and related materials must undergo ARCON’s vetting process and secure the approval certificate of the Standards Panel prior to public exposure.

“We sincerely apologise for this and state that our action was not intentional,” the agency wrote, adding that it went ahead with the deployment of the ad after it got verbal approval from a certain Mr. Markus Inji Lukman, who is said to be an ARCON liaison officer.

“We are deeply disappointed that this happened and are awfully sorry for any inconvenience it has caused. We would never knowingly do anything to violate the law or the regulations guiding advertising practice, jeopardise our practice licence, or bring disaffection to our dear country’s judiciary.

“We have already taken steps to ensure that this does not repeat itself. We will be requiring all future advertisements to be vetted from the ARCON Lagos office through our staff in Lagos. Once again, we apologise and hope that you will consider our explanation. We are committed to working with you to ensure that this does not happen again.” the company added.

Meanwhile some experts, such as Obiechefu Emmanuel, a marketing professional with expertise in media buying, have raised concerns about the agency’s actions.

“I have been buying media in this market for over a decade and I can tell you authoritatively that you do not deploy ad materials without an approval certificate from the ASP. How do you go ahead to deploy because someone somewhere in the ARCON office gave you verbal approval? Why the hurry in the first place? I don’t think even the Director-General can ask you to go ahead and deploy without an approval certificate.” Obiechefu said

Olusegun Sasegbon, another marketing professional, suspects there is something more: “As a professional and as an agency we all know that verbal approval by anybody in ARCON setting does not translate to an approval certificate. I think it is part of the law that an approval certificate must be obtained before the exposure of material.

“It is just like saying that you can go ahead and take a trip to the United States because someone in their embassy has given you assurances that your visa application has been granted and your passport will be sent to you after your trip. This could be a form of compromise between the agency and the ARCON staff. In this country, nothing is impossible.

Ibezim Okpala also presented an alternative perspective which suggests that the agency’s swift action may have been driven by the fact that they suspect the campaign might not receive ARCON’s approval. He highlighted the social media traction gained by the campaign; emphasising the apparent success of its intended impact.

“I am sure the agency is aware its ad material will not scale through the vetting process, hence it quickly deployed, achieved what it intended and waited for the consequence of their action. You only need to go on social media to see the millions of impressions images of the messages on boards and the buzz it generated to understand that the intent by those behind the message has been achieved. I believe the apology shared by the agency is just a mere formality,” he said.

Intercontinental Marketing & Communication Consortium Limited is not alone in the controversy surrounding the “All Eyes On The Judiciary” ad as Alphamega Communications Limited, had a part to play.

Word has it that ARCON is considering a case against the agency for making unauthorised edits to the approved material as the implications of this situation extend beyond mere unauthorised edits; transcending into questions of integrity, accountability, and adherence to established protocols.

The very foundation of the approval process for such critical and influential communications rests upon a delicate balance of trust, transparency, and adherence to established guidelines. Betty Eromosele, another expert in the industry wrote: “All Eyes Are Now on ARCON” to see how it will handle all the issues arising from the All Eyes on the Judiciary saga.”



























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