BJAN Conference: Expert Advocates Dialogue On AISOP, Unconscionable Contracts

A veteran Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) lawyer and Managing Partner of Gee Law Firm, Mr. Nosakhare Uwadiae, has urged stakeholders displeased with the new Advertising Industry Standard of Practice (AISOP) document to embrace dialogue in the interest of bringing sanity to the industry.

He also warned IMC agencies to be careful with the document they sign with brands as most of those contracts fall within the regime of unconscionable contracts.

Nosakhare made this known at the Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN) 9th Annual General Meeting/Conference held at Presken Hotel, Opebi, Lagos recently where he spoke on the sub-theme, “Advertising, Impartiality and Regulation’’ based on the theme of the 2021 conference: “Media Management in Difficult Times”.

Commenting on the contract signed between agencies and brands, he emphasised that most contracts are unfair and at times adapted from other countries which are not in line with the laws of the land, adding that most of the contracts have unfair contract terms and unequal bargaining powers.

“From experience, it is observed that most contracts between clients and agencies are bereft of equity. More often, the contracts are more to the advantage of clients (one-sided) and the agencies’ bargaining power is weak because of desperation to get business from the client. Most of the contracts clients sign with agencies falls within the regime of unconscionable contracts,” he stated.

Speaking on AISOP, Uwadiae stated: “I would recommend that Advertising Stakeholders in Nigeria should take another look at the AISOP and come up with balanced recommendations. A short, medium and long-term assessment of the recommendations should be candidly reviewed to make recommendations that will be far-reaching in the interest of all parties. There should also be an agreement amongst stakeholders for review of the AISOP every five years to plug gaps and adjust to current realities. This should be part of the AISOP. More engagement should be encouraged and all stakeholders should shun grandstanding. We must work together for the collective interests of the industry.”

Noteworthy, according to APCON, AISOP is a business framework that seeks to improve mutual respect, eradicate unfair advantage, unethical competition, and inequitable engagement terms between stakeholders in the Advertising and Marketing Communication sector of the Nigerian economy which took effect from the 6th of October 2021.

The AISOP code captures engagement policy, how stakeholders engage agencies, payment terms, and commission, remuneration, disengagement protocol, returns on advertising investment and measurement, peaceful resolution, and other related protocols. However, the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) rejected the AISOP code, stating that it infringes on the rights of private entities to determine their contractual terms.

Stating the benefit of self-regulations like AISOP, the IMC legal expert said: “Marketers benefit from self-regulation because responsible advertising helps build consumer trust in brands, which in turn builds brand loyalty and increases sale.”

On another note, Nosakhare said AISOP should have taken cognisance of the fact that some agencies do not live up to the service-level agreement (SLAs) and do not act as strategic business partners to clients and even when clients pay, some agencies and media independents do not pay third parties

“If not properly handled, it could worsen the present situation of payments. There is need to have more engagements with ADVAN so that realistic timelines can be agreed upon based on SLAs and KPIs,” he pointed.

Earlier in his welcome address, immediate past Chairman of BJAN, Afolabi Idowu said the association picked the theme and subtheme to address salient topical issues in the industry and help members get a firm grasp of the issues so as to be able to provide the sound analysis and reportage that Nigerians and other stakeholders need for better understanding of the subject matter.

“We believe that the knowledge shared at this event today would deepen the knowledge base of individuals, groups and the entire Nigerian ecosystem.

“We thank the brands and organisations that embraced the strategic marketing opportunities that this event provides to consolidate and deepen the visibility and presence of their product and services in the marketplace,” Idowu enthused.

Recall that the association held its maiden edition of the conference in 2013 in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, with the theme: “Repositioning Centenary Brands to Align with Modern Realities” while the 2020 edition held in Lagos had “Consolidating Nigeria’s Agricultural Revolution: Challenges, Opportunities, and Lessons” as theme.

BJAN is repositioned to become a major thought leadership stakeholder group in advancing the objectives of the IMC industry in Nigeria and would be driving a lot of key topics affecting the industry to this effect.

At its AGM, it elected new executives that would pilot the affairs of the association for the next three years.

They include Clara Chinwe Okoro of Brandworld Media as Chairman with Lukman Ishau of Marketing Space as Vice-Chairman.

Others are Adejuwon Osunnuyi of the Daily Bells Newspaper as General Secretary, Adedayo Odulaja of New Telegraph as Assistant General Secretary, Melvin Udosen of Brand Essence as Treasurer, Olufemi Adeyemi Matthew of Brand Icon Image as Financial Secretary and Amechi Obiakpu of ESPI News as Chief Information Officer (CIO).


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