Presented To

Department of Mass Communication


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- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - - 


11 Background of the study- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  1

12 Statement of the Problems- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  15

13 Objectives of the study- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  16

14 Significance of the study- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  16

15 Research questions- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  17

16 Research hypotheses- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  18

17 Conceptually and operational definitions- - -  - - -  - - -  19

18 Scope and limitations of the study- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  24

19 Assumptions of the study- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  26

References- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  27


21 Sources of related literature- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  28

22 The review- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  29

221 Enhancing social responsibility through advertising- - -  29

222 The power of persuasive communication in advertising- - -  40

223 Factors affecting buying behaviour- - -  - - -  - - -  43

23 Theoretical framework: social responsibility- - -  - - -  53

224 Measures to enhance ethical standards in advertising: 55

24 Summary of the literature review- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  64-66

References- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  67-69


31 Description of the research population- - -  - - -  - - -  71

32 Sample and sampling techniques- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  71

33 Instruments of data collection- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  72

34 Techniques of data analysis and presentation- - -  - - -  73

35 Limitations of the methodology- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  74

References- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  75


41 Data analysis and presentation- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  76

4 11 Why do some advertisers neglect the ethics of

advertising practice? - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  79

412 What effects have unethical advertising practice caused?:- - -  83

413 Has APCON stipulated any measures to

curb illegal advertising?- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  89

414 Does advertising lack professional application?- - -  91

415 Why are the media involved in promoting

unethical/illegal advertising?- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  92

42 Discussion and interpretation of results- - -  - - -  - - -  94-100


51 Summary- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  101

52 Conclusion- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  103

53 Recommendations, General recommendations, Recommendations for vitafoam company and Recommendations for future studies- - -  - - -  - - -  105-110

Bibliography- - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  - - -  111-114





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 BCE 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

d) Enhance public confidence in advertising

Unfortunately advertisers have chosen the unethical means of practicing this profession, neglected the good sense of advertising which revolves around social responsibility

In his words, Osunbiyi (1999:27) "advertising on the whole can be rumours, ie it can be deceptive and misleading It can manipulate the "vulnerable psyche"

No doubt, advertising can be ruinous when some illegal advertisers make claims that are untruce about a product of services

As the consumers of such product testifies that the claims surrounding the product are not time, he automatically stops patronage

A more chronic effects of unethical practice of advertising by FM ODUAH (2017:285) is "passing off',

Passing off is a situation where a producer of a given product imitates, in a very close identify, the name, colour graphic design, size and shape of a product of that with a mark of quality, in order to enjoy plenty safes under the umbrella of the original product

It is a also a form of fraud in which a company tries to sell its own product by deceiving buyers into thinking it is another product

It is also making some false representation likely to induce a person to believe that the goods or service are those of another Passing off-to misrepresent that one's business is that of, or connected with another, in a way likely to cause damage The implication of this ugly act is that is attracts loss of loyalty and patronage to the 'main' product Hence, it affects the economic viability of such company and their product

This is obtainable in almost all products in the market such ones are TURA medicated soap which has another imitation product called TULA Most people, especially the less lettered, who had been enlightened about tura soap quickly buy the 'TULA' with the mind frame that is the same thing as the original one

A product like Philip electric iron is not exempted in the passing off It has imitators like Philip and Dhilip in radio Other electronic gadgets like SONY products are plagued by such ones like sunny, sonic, sony-multi, sony prestige etc In BYG products we now have GYC, BIC, VIC, BYG, all sounding almost the same, with the same design not qualitative, thus attracting bad name to the product Talk of Bournvita food drink, Bomvita, Bovita, Bonveta etc have filled the market, making it difficult for customers to identify the real one

In fact, the list is in exhaustible Over the years, vitafoam has been noted as a long lasting, soft and qualify mattress It has been enjoying good name, hence its sustain ability in the market vitafoam is not left out in the "Passing off problem and its effects

In this work, the researcher has chosen VITAFOAM product of VITAFOAM NIGERIA PLC, Aba, for a case study


The foam company known as vitafoam Nigeria Plc today is an offshoot of Vita international limited, an internationally renowned products of all kinds of quality mattresses, cushions, pillows and upholstery sheetings

Vitafoam is less tossing and turning by evenly distributing the body weight and it create better blood circulation Vitafoam Nigeria Plc was incorporated in Nigeria as a private company on 4th August, 1962

In 1963, the company opened its first factory at Ikeja, Lagos State for the production of latex form mattresses The installation of its first urethane foam production plant in the Ikeja premises in 1966 paved way for the production of carpet underlay, fibre pillows, rigid urethane insulating materials and Vitabond Adhesive

Beside the Ikeja factory which is vitafoam Nigeria became the first foam manufacturing company in Nigeria to win the much converted international quality award NIS ISO 9002 certificate for the manufacture and sale of flexible and rigid poly urethane foam, fibre pillows and adhesive

Thus emphasizes their quality policy which states thus: Our policy at vitafoam Nigeria Plc is to continually provide goods and services and conform to international standard and surpass customers expectations at a price that represents value

Vitafoam battles with identical mattresses with such brand names as vitafoam, vitafoam, vitafoam, mitafoam, mitafoam, vitafosfoam, vitalinefoam etc

Worthy of note is that these imitators have contributed a lot to deceiving vitafoam customers to make wrong choices, thereby losing their loyalty to the company As a parts of the provisions of APCON Code of Advertising Practice under medical products and treatments (47:12) "no advertisement should claim that the product, medicine or treatment advertised will promote sexual virility or be effective in treating sexual weakness, or habits associated with sexual excess or indulgence, or any ailment, illness or disease associated with these habits" Even the pharmaceutical companies, these days make claims that a given drug can cure a member of diseases But all are based on false claims


In the bid to maximize profit in the prevalent get rich-quick syndrome of some fraudulent entrepreneurs, some indulge in ill-practice of advertising These unethical practice thus, endangers the well-being of the society and the Nigeria culture in particular Absolute social responsibility to the customers of advertised goods and service is not ensured due to the fact that buyers are often miss led by chronic imitators As a result of a lot of people haven fallen victim of the unethical practice of advertising known as passing off This has been a serious problem facing the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) The researcher in this, study, attempts to find in solution of these problems aforementioned and to particularly evaluate its effects to vitafoam, as a product and measures the company has put in place to correct the problem


This research work aims at, 1 To bringing to limelight why illegal practice of advertising is on the increase

2 To evaluate why some advertisers neglect the laid down ethics of advertising to pass through the "backdoor"

3 To pin-point the set of advertisers who practice advertising unethically

4 To look into the extent of effects unethical practice of advertising has caused 5 To finally review whether APCON has devised other strict measures to penalize illegal practitioners


It is the belief of the researcher that this study would serve as immense useful purpose to its potential and prospective users Students, scholars, consumers of goods and services policy makers, advertisers, advertising agencies and advertising researchers would stand to gain a lot from the facts contained in this work This study upholds the high standard of an ideal advertising practice and therefore benefits the advertisers and feaming consumers of advertised goods and services It serves as an eye opener to a good sense of advertising because the interest of the consumers is paramount After close study of this research work, the evil effects of unethical practice of advertising will be drastically reduced, if not bought to an end


To provide a framework for eliciting solution to the research problems, it is necessary that some research questions be formulated

A number of research questions are hereby given below for this reason

1 Why do some advertisers neglect the ethics of advertising practice?

2 What effects have unethical practice of advertising caused?

3 Has APCON stipulated any measures to curb illegal advertising?

4 Does advertising lack professional application?

5 Why are the media involved in promoting illegal advertising?

H3: APCON stipulated measures to curb illegal advertising

H4: Advertising lacks professional application

H0: Advertising does not lack professional application

H5: Media involves in promoting illegal advertising

Ho: Media do not involve in promoting illegal advertising


In the interest of the render, this writer wishes to outline and explain some key concepts used in this study They are necessary to guide the reader to note the exact meaning of the words, expressions or phrases as used in the passage for easy understanding

Possibly, a word might have more than one meaning and this study taken operationalized the concept as far as this project work is concerned

Conceptually definition

EXPLORING: Means to seek for something or after someone, to examine or investigate something systematically

UNETHICAL means not connected with beliefs and principles about what is right and wrong It is not morally correct acceptable It is means of promoting advertising

PRATICE it means that it is a way of doing something that is usual or expected way in a particular organization or situation

ADVERTISING it is a form of communication intend to persuade if viewers, readers or listeners to take some action It is an exciting, dynamic, and challenging enterprise Its often pervasive, fascinating and materialistic nature makes it an object of criticism and misunderstanding Advertising is also a profession in which a body of experts in involved in the conceptualization, planning, creating, packaging and placing of advertisements on the media

NIGERIA- Nigeria is a country in West Africa sub-region within the African continent which got their independent in 1960 The evolution of Nigeria state was the creative ingenuity of the British Colonial Masters, especially, lord Lugard, who in 1914 amalgamented the Northern and Southern protectorates in the Nigeria area and thus created one of the largest countries in Africa called Nigeria

Nigerian is a geographical/entity area that contains many nations and state

VITA FOAM is defined as a means of tossing and turning by evenly distributing the body weight It is a foam that we lay down on when sleeping for a comfortable relaxation after work, activity or when we are tired even feeling sleeping

Operational definition

EXPLORING : According to British Dictionary, exploring means to seek for something or look after someone Here, am going to seek for unethical practices of advertising in Vita Form Plc


This is obtainable when there is a deviation from what is supposed to be That is to say that one may have exhibited an unacceptable behaviour against ones organization or society where the person finds himself

Negative practice by vitafoam advertisers in Nigeria

To this end, unethical here means paying no regard to the laid down principles of advertising


When we say practice, if entails the practicality of what is said, as in theory and practice In football, for instance, there is a time when the players are told what to do with the football And they yet to perfect in those lectures by practicing what is taught them


Advertising, like other promotional techniques informs, persuades and reminds It can change consumer's, beliefs, attitudes, images, and behaviour But for advertising to be effective on a national level, enormous expenditures are required Advertising is a giant industry

Advertising is an avenue of creating awareness of vitafoam in Nigeria


It is a geographical entity or area that we practice advertising It is also a continent in African or a country in West Africa sub-region within the African continent were advertisers shows unethical practice


It is a company which practices advertising of foam in Nigeria A company under the Nigeria study of foam advert


It is important to point out that the scope of this study is to the vitafoam Nigeria Plc to determine the effects of unethical practice of advertising in Nigeria

The case study is a renowned company which produces quality mattresses, cushions, pillows and upholstery sheetings The researcher's choice of this area as her scope of study is for her generate data capable of representing the needs find answers to the research questions

Also it is to use a company that has the same business and environmental characteristics with the within the target population This is to a largest extent will lead to the validity and reliability of the instruments used for the study

Despite all these opportunities, a lot of obstacles were encounted by the researcher during the process of putting the project together

Among them are:

a) Time Constraints: A limited time frame was allotted to the research for gathering of data and sourcing to research materials

b) Finance: Money was required at all stages of this study but could not gotten easily

Effort was made by the research to ensure that the research was carried out under conditions that led to scientifically valid conclusion despite the financial problem


In this study, it is simply assumed that any study on the effects of unethical practice of advertising in Nigeria is a welcomed development The assumptions of such effects are therefore based on a case study of Vitafoam Nigeria Plc

Therefore the research study assumes that

i) Some advertisers neglect the ethics of advertising practice

ii) APCON has stipulated some measures to curb illegal advertising

iii) Advertising lack professional application

iv) The media are involved in promoting illegal advertising

v) Unethical practice in advertising cause some effects

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