Intercontinental Marketing & Communication Consortium Limited has issued an apology to the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) over controversial billboards that read ‘All Eyes On the Judiciary.’
ARCON had previously ordered the removal of these billboards on August 15, stating they didn’t meet vetting guidelines and could disrupt public peace.
The regulatory body also disbanded the Advertising Standards Panel for approving these ads, which were “targeted at the presidential election petition tribunal.”
ARCON director-general Olalekan Fadolapo commented, “The advertisement failed to follow vetting guidelines and was capable of breaching public peace.”
In response, the marketing agency acknowledged the violation through its managing director, Stephen Ogboko.
“We sincerely apologise for this and state that our action was not intentional,” Ogboko was quoted as saying.
“The truth is that immediately after we received the brief for the said campaign, we sent the artwork to Mr Markus Inji Lukman, an ARCON liaison officer who has helped us vet campaign materials in the past.
“Mr Lukman assured us that the material would be approved, as he had seen a similar one.”
Ogboko added that the company would never do anything capable of threatening the nation’s judiciary.
In his reaction, Fadolapo stated that despite the apology, the company would face the tribunal.
“They’ll be appearing before the Advertising Offences Tribunal and need to explain their position because it is very unfortunate,” he said.
“Verbal or communication of approval through verbal means or text messages doesn’t constitute approval.
“They are professionals; they are sworn to the advertising oath to protect the integrity of the profession.
“So, coming out to say that somebody within the system orally or verbally gave them approval is not acceptable.
“The damage is done already and they will be appearing before the tribunal.”
Fadolapo added that the official who purportedly gave the verbal approval had been queried.