After giving a bit of detail on the types of Storytelling that businesses can employ in their marketing we can now go on to discuss some examples of Storytelling in Zimbabwe that were really effective. Just to show that Storytelling is not a social media thing I will draw on some examples from the past whole mixing in some from the present day to show that it can take many shapes and forms. You may not be aware of all the examples we will look at but they are definitely worth learning from.
You have to go back to the turn of the century to understand this example. Today, mobile phones are widespread but that wasn’t the case in 1998 when Telecel launched. Zimbabwe was only 2 years into mobile telephony. The situation can best be explained by the Shona name for mobile phones, runhare mbozha which in case you don’t understand translates to a rich person’s phone. Telecel broke the barrier at a time when mobile phones were considered expensive by introducing a low-cost model which they dubbed Mango and a marketing campaign that showed ordinary people including students, builders, teachers and more with mobile phones. This may not seem like much now but it was groundbreaking at the time.
Now in an example from recent times and the digital age, fruit and vegetable delivery startup Fresh in A Box has given us some really good examples of Storytelling. Let’s just focus on one aspect though. Fresh in a Box use their social media pages to let people know about the produce that they will find in the boxes delivered on the day. Of late more produce comes from their own Fresh Farm but you will once in a while see the mention of a farmer responsible for a product in the box. This is of course the values Storytelling method. Where a business gives you a look at the type of business they are and what matters to them. Seeing the people behind the produce gets a lot of people over the line and turns them into customers.
Yanaya Lifestyle is another great example of Storytelling in Zimbabwe. The business has really grown from strength to strength and has done a lot of effective Storytelling in the process. While the concept of vegetarian food, which they started with, is not at all weird to Zimbabwe it does not exactly scream aspirational. In fact, vegetarian diets are sooner associated with poverty in Zimbabwe as eating meat is considered a symbol of success. Inch by inch Yanaya has made great efforts to open the minds and hearts of people to the concept and we have to say they have found reasonable success. You can have a look through their social media pages as well as looking at the coverage they have received to understand just how well it is being done.
I do love these blasts from the past and this is perhaps my favourite one. The Everbody sadza advert and campaign by Blue Ribbon foods Ngwerewere has so many layers we need to unpack. While sadza is a perfectly acceptable meal and the favourite of Zimbabweans in the 80s and 90s Zimbabwe was characterised by a level of Eurocentrism that is unfathomable today. While perfectly ate sadza it was not considered a premium product. The 1991 Everybody sadza campaign featuring legendary outfit the Rusike brothers really changed the game in this regard. Bringing together Zimbabwe’s favourite staple and the pop, funk and jazzy sounds associated with popular music of the era.
Ripe and ready
Another memorable blast from the past is the Ripe and ready advert. Watching it now makes me cringe a bit but at the time the campaign had a simple target. This was the time the Spice girls had been introduced to and taken over the world and the Ripe and Ready advert is clearly in homage to the Spice Girls mega-hit Wanna be. In no uncertain terms, the advert tells you who the product is for.