The Effects Of Unethical Practices In Advertising: (a Case Study Of Vitafoam In Nigeria)

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Our country, Nigeria is more of a capitalist state and everyone in his kind of business wants to maximize profit. By the way of negligence of the ethical standards, some advertisers, regardless of the decency, truthfulness and social values which advertising upholds stick to unethical advertising practice, thus, causing loss of lives, discomfort, and dissatisfaction to the consumers of some goods and services. In the words of Ifedayo Daramola (1999)

“a number of advertisements carried by Nigerian newspapers, radio and television are illegal and libelous; while some contain malice”

This work has been structured in five chapters to make an ideal project. Chapter one embodies background of the study, which deals on advertising in its entirely. The chapter two of this work, made an indepth review of related literatures. These literatures bother on enhancing social responsibility through advertising, the power of persuasive communication in advertising, factors affecting buying behaviour, the theoretical framework and measures to enhance ethical standards in advertising practice. The third chapter covers the methodology with which the study is carried on. In this regard, the sample survey technique was chosen. The technique evaluated the description of research population, sample and sampling techniques, instrument of data collection, techniques of data collection and limitations of the methodology. In chapter four, the presentation and interpretation of data collected is done. This is based on description of data according to its relevance to a given research question. Also, discussion and interpretation of results are carefully made.






Title page:        =      =      =      =      =      =      =      =      =      i

Approval page:=      =      =      =      =      =      =      =      ii

Dedication:      =      =      =      =      =      =      =      =      =      iii

Acknowledgements:=      =      =      =      =      =      =      iv-v

Table of contents:    =      =      =      =      =      =      =     

Abstract:  =      =      =      =      =      =      =      =      =     


1.1.    Background of the study:=      =      =      =      =      1

1.2.  Statement of the Problems:      =      =      =      =      =      15

1.3.  Objectives of the study:    =      =      =      =      =     16

1.4.  Significance of the study:=      =      =      =      =      16

1.5.  Research questions:=      =      =      =      =      =      17

1.6.  Research hypotheses:      =      =      =      =      =      =      18

1.7.  Conceptually and operational definitions:       =      =      =      19

1.8.  Scope and limitations of the study:=      =      =      =      24

1.9.  Assumptions of the study:       =      =      =      =      =      26

       References:       =      =      =      =      =      =      =      =      27


2.1.  Sources of related literature:    =      =      =      =      =      28

2.2.  The review:      =      =      =      =      =      =      =      29   

2.2.1. Enhancing social responsibility through advertising:    =      29

2.2.2. The power of persuasive communication in advertising:  =     40

2.2.3. Factors affecting buying behaviour:       =      =      =      43

2.3.  Theoretical framework: social responsibility:   =      =      53

2.2.4. Measures to enhance ethical standards in advertising:         55

2.4.  Summary of the literature review:    =      =      =      =      64-66

        References:      =      =      =      =      =      =      =      67-69


3.1.  Description of the research population:   =      =      =      71

3.2.  Sample and sampling techniques:   =      =      =      =      71

3.3.  Instruments of data collection:        =      =      =      =      72

3.4.  Techniques of data analysis and presentation:        =      =      73

3.5.  Limitations of the methodology:       =      =      =      =      74

        References:      =      =      =      =      =      =      =      75


4.1.  Data analysis and presentation:      =      =      =      =      76

4.1.1. Why do some advertisers neglect the ethics of

advertising practice? :=      =      =      =      =      =      79

4.1.2.          What effects have unethical advertising practice caused?:=       83

4.1.3. Has APCON stipulated any measures to

curb illegal advertising?:  =      =      =      =      =      89

4.1.4. Does advertising lack professional application?:    =      91

4.1.5. Why are the media involved in promoting

unethical/illegal advertising?:=      =      =      =      =      92

4.2.  Discussion and interpretation of results:=      =      =    94-100


5.1.  Summary:        =      =      =      =      =      =      =      =      101

5.2.  Conclusion:     =      =      =      =      =      =      =      =      103

5.3.  Recommendations, General recommendations, Recommendations for vitafoam company and Recommendations for future studies:  =      =      =    105-110

         Bibliography:  =      =      =      =      =      =      =    111-114

        Appendix:        =      =      =      =      =      =      =      =







Advertising as a concept, can be defined as a form of communication through the media about product, services, ideas, personalities or organizations, paid for by an identified sponsor writer Alide in Okunna (2002: 99).

Bovee and Arens (1985) gave a more widely accepted definition of advertising as the non-personal communication of information, usually paid for any usually persuasive in nature about products (goods and services) or ideas by an identified sponsor through various media. It is an exciting, dynamic, and challenging enterprise. Its often a persuasive communication in that it tries to persuade the reader, the listener or the viewer to take to the sponsor’s own point of view and also to take some appropriate action. It is not personal or face to face communication, rather it is directed to a group of people.

Advertising is also controlled, identifiable information and persuasion by means of mass communication media. Defined by Wright and Zeight (1982:10).

Gillran Dyer says that in its simplest sense, the word “advertising” means drawing attention to something or notifying or informing somebody of something.

According to the understanding of Advertising practitioners council of Nigeria (APCON) “advertising is a form of communication through the media about products, services or ideas, paid for by an identified sponsor”.

The terms advertising was coined from the Latin word “advertere” which mean literally means to draw attention. This is when you are getting the evidence mind in a product, notifying or informing somebody/people of something. There is no doubt that advertising has brought prosperity to different countries of the world through different means. It has helped in speeding up the introduction of new inventions and has most importantly widened markets for mass-produced goods and services. Consumers of industrial goods and service and all over the world today enjoy the choice of a wide variety of such goods and services.


Advertising has also been of immense benefit humanity and has contributed in no small measure rapid industrialization and expansion processes all over the world. Infact, advertising has contributed in making the world a better place to live in. Tracing the history of advertising however, it is evident that its practice is as old as man. Weppner (1979) in Okunna (2002: 85) reveals that advertising seems is be part of human nature evidenced since ancient times.


Groom in his own view stated that “advertising” was first century AD and has been employed ever since in one form or another”. It has no specific date, any way, but Groom further maintains it as an instrument of marketing in the past 4000 B.C.E. Highlighting its existence in a Nigeria advertising has been part of commercial activities even before the arrival of whitemen remarks Abayomi in Okunna (2002: 86) Quoting Ogbodo (1990), Abayomi in Okunna pointed out the common practices in our locality like town criers do, hawking and display of available waves were the earliest method of advertising in Nigeria. This is still obtainable in the free-market these days as sellers cry above their voices to draw the attention of buyers to their waves.


The introduction of modern advertising in Nigeria was made possible in 1859 by a newspaper called “Iwe Irohin”. It was owned by an English Reverend gentleman known as Henry Townsend. It was an eight page newspaper with four pages English version and four pages “Yoruba” version. This newspaper attracted a lot of readership, this creating space for advertisement on births, weddings and obituaries, vacances for houseboys and maids, church activities, ship schedules and other social events.

Abayomi in Okunna (2002: 86) records that other newspaper such as the logos observer, the Eagle, the Lagos critic and others joined the music. The business of advertising enjoyed a great boast in the 1920s as notable companies such as Releigh Bicycle, PZ, lever Brothers, Cadbury, Ovaltine and others sprang up to patronize the services of West African Publicity (WAP) who provided advertising services like radio and television there was a considerable advancement in Radio/TV advertisement for over four decades. This began with the establishment of Western Nigeria Broadcasting Services (WNBS) and Western Nigeria Television (WNTN) by the defunct Western Religion, Okunna.


At this point, it is pertinent to note that the practice of advertising in Nigeria has been legalized. The legalized was masterminded by APCON which was established by Decree 55 of 1988 amended by Decree 93 of 1992.


The APCON, as produced by the code of advertising practice is charged with the responsibility of among other things.

a).    Determining who are advertisers

b).    Conducting examinations in the profession and,

c).    Regulating and controlling advertising in all this aspects and ramifications.     


The strict adherence to the provisions of this, code has really made advertising an interest oriented, fascinating and fantastic professions.


The code of Advertising practice catalogued the essence of good advertising as outlined below. The codes provides that all advertisement in Nigeria should;

a).    Be legal, decent, honest, truthful and respectful of Nigeria’s culture.  

b).    Be prepared with a high sense of social responsibility and should not show disregard for the interest of consumers and the wider Nigeria society.

c).    Conform to the principles of fair competition generally accepted in business and fair comment expected in human communication.


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