The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) said it has set up a task force that would ensure that `unwholesome and unapproved’ advertisements were not placed in the media.

The APCON spokesperson, Mr Joe Onuorah, made this known in a statement in Lagos on Thursday.

He said that the move which had been carried out in Abuja, Minna, Jos, Kastina, Ilorin, Onitsha and Nnewi, would be extended to other cities in Nigeria.

The APCON spokesperson said outdoor advertisements that do not satisfy the regulation requiring advertisements to be submitted for vetting and approval by the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP) would be rejected.

“The exercise also involves enlightening advertisers, media owners and the public on the regulatory responsibilities of APCON as well as on the purpose and procedures for compliance with advertising regulations.

“Incidences of indiscriminate exposure of advertisements, some of which contain misleading and unwholesome messages, have caused APCON serious concern.

“These unprofessional conducts have been traced mainly to persons and organisations that are not licensed to practice advertising in Nigeria.

“A large percentage of the advertisements targeted in the exercise are first party advertisements usually produced and displayed by business owners without the use of advertising professionals’’, he said.

Onuorah said the enforcement measure was necessary to checkmate the rising incidences of fraudulent and offending advertisements.

“The advertisements typically employ graphic designs, images and messaging which attract, persuade or invite patronage for the businesses advertised.

Some of them make claims requiring substantiation.

“The exercises do not affect regular business signages which are typically identification or informational signs without persuasive illustrations and claims.

“The task force is one of the measures to stem misleading, deceitful, offensive and other forms of spurious messages and protect members of the public from such harmful acts.

“The exercise compliments the council’s routine monitoring and enforcement undertaken by its various zonal and liaison offices across the country’’, Onuorah said.

Onuorah, however, restated APCON’s commitment to ensuring positive use of advertisements and economic benefits.

“APCON is committed to ensuring responsible advertising and use of advertising communication to positively impact the economy and society rather than take undue advantage of consumers, disparage competitors or offend members of the public’’, he said.

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