23 Nov'17

Advertising using dictators? Mugabe through chicken?

Back in November 2011 South Africa Nando’s launched their ‘Last Dictator Standing’ advert which mocked Robert Mugabe.



The advert strapline is ‘no one should ever have to eat alone so get a Nando’s 6 pack meal for 6’. Mugabe is sat at a grand table alone as the other dictators  (Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, Uganda’s Idi Amin, China’s Mao Tse-Tung, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Col Gaddafi) are no longer in a position of power.


According to the BBC, the advert cost £236,000 and was part of their festive Christmas campaign. The advert was broadcasted across the African continent, and reached a global audience on YouTube.


South Africa Nando’s withdrew the advert after they received threats from the Mugabe loyalist group called Chipangano group.


A spokesperson from South Africa Nando’s said, ‘We feel strongly that this is the prudent step to take in a volatile climate and believe that no TV commercial is worth risking the safety of Nando’s staff and customers.’


Jimmy Kunaka, the Chipangano leader, stated, ‘We condemn such adverts because it reduces our president to be someone without values’.


This is a great example of when an advert acts as a commentary on the current political environment, and by doing so causes controversy. Although ‘The Last Dictator Standing’ advert was withdrawn, and South Africa Nando’s received threatening messages, do we think that Nando’s regretted the creation and broadcast of this advert? Probably not. Banned adverts usually attract attention and can even go viral online. ‘The Last Dictator Standing’ advert racked up International attention back in November 2011, and now SA People report that it goes viral again following Mugabe’s resignation. This begs the question of how we should define an advert. Surely ‘The Last Dictator Standing’ continues to be an advert when it is being displayed on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook and getting attention even after five years.