Intercontinental Marketing & Comm. Consortium Limited, the agency responsible for allegedly deploying the ad “All Eyes On The Judiciary” without an approval certificate from the industry regulator has tendered an official apology to the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON).
In a now widely circulated letter signed by its Managing Director, Stephen Ogboko, dated 17th August 2023 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.
“This article stipulates 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 apologize for this and state that our action was not intentional,” the agency wrote.
Explaining further, the agency explained: “The truth is that immediately 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.”
According to the agency, Mr. Lukman allegedly provided reassurances that the material would be approved. Subsequently, the agency sought his advice on posting the billboard on Saturday, August 12.
Following his recommendation, they facilitated an expedited an accelerated vetting process. Necessary documentation was submitted in accordance with Mr. Lukman’s guidance, along with a promise of receiving the certificate of approval by Friday, August 11.
“On Friday the 11th, we called Mr. Lukman to inquire about the approval certificate, he informed us that the campaign had been approved and the certificate was on the way. He told us to go ahead and post the campaign as the approval certificate will get to us on Monday morning. As a result of his assurances, we exposed the campaign on Saturday, August 12.
“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, jeopardize our practice license, 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 apologize and hope that you will consider our explanation. We are committed to working with you to ensure that this does not happen again.”