Advertising in Nigeria seems to be holding on tight to old ways and expressions. An industry that prides itself as “Creative”, the Nigerian Marketing and Communication space has proven to be very undeserving. Rarely do commercials are here sell products in creative and brilliant ways, at least never enough to make it to the ‘Brilliant Ads” page.
But beyond a lack of creativity there also are many modern day tone deaf expressions in many Nigerian adverts. Take for example, any detergent or food (especially bouillon cube) ad, would portray the woman as the hero of the house, sweeping, cleaning, cooking and stuck in the kitchen, sometimes supported by her little daughter while the boys are left playing football outside, the men watching football or doing other “fatherly duties”. Commercials play a strong role in shaping consumers and most importantly influencing how they communicate with goods. Though Africa is still stubborn about letting go of traditional views especially around gender roles and sexuality, slight changes are coming in. South Africa for example has shown more flexibility around this subject, the self-acclaimed giant of the continent, Nigeria on the other hand seems not to be bending easy. This is getting in the way and clashing with how a growing number liberal consumers interact with products (especially based on commercials).
UK’s Advertising Standards Association (ASA) recently released new regulations intended to cut down or less ban commercials enforcing older, traditional gender stereotypes, showing women as kitchen champions, home keeps and men as strong and forceful.
The new regulations identified and highlighted six different kinds of gender stereotypes and further presented a comprehensive set of findings about how these stereotypes are portrayed in advertising and how they might affect consumers.
Some of the banned stereotypical scenarios in UK ads include:
Ads that still show a women cleaning and doing solely domestic chores and men doing more physical roles
Ads that suggest an activity is inappropriate for a girl because it is stereotypically associated with boys or vice versa.
An ad that features a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks.
This is progressive step for a rather conservative country like UK, one that Nigeria may not see anytime soon. Hopefully with the digital media pushing globalization, Africa will go on the embrace modern storytelling plots in advertising.