Adverts (ads) are one of the important components of marketing. It is said on a typical day, someone can come across as many as 10 000 ads. This number has markedly spiked over the years due to digital marketing. People tend to spend more time online nowadays. So it is crystal clear that there are so many ads being put out there. This means if you are putting out ads they must be competent. If your ad cannot hook someone within the first 3 seconds chances are they will ignore it. The subject of ads is a broad and multi-layered one but today I am looking at some of the best Zimbabwean ads.

Perfection Soap

I referred to this one in a recent article I did – it is a classic! The main character in the ad was Bhonzo, the popular Zimbabwean comedian from yesteryears. Do you remember Timi naBhonzo? One of the great things about this ad was the humour in it. However, the other interesting thing was the inclusion of the 3 commonly used languages in Zimbabwe i.e. English, Shona, and Ndebele. When you listen closely you can note how he would interchange or mix them up. You can enjoy the ad here.

Chibuku

As a young kid, I remember seeing this ad a lot on television. The ad concept was about a young man on his way to grab a bottle of Chibuku beer. All dressed he stood by the roadside looking for transport. He ended up going at the back of an animal-drawn scotch cart. Upon arriving he finds that they have run out of beer. Desperate, he goes outside and kneels on the ground listening to hear if the truck with the next beer stock is arriving yet. Ultimately, it arrives and he joyously buys his Chibhuku beer and joins his buddies. It is the kind of ad where you find yourself laughing from start to finish. From the guy’s mannerisms to the basic storyline, it is just hilarious. You can go down memory lane by watching the ad here.

Sun Jam

This is yet another one of my favourites and I am sure for many others as well. The storyline is premised on a relative who has visited somewhere and is now returning to the countryside. He proceeds to buy Sun Jam and the person escorting him to the bus stop holds it for him. As he gets on the bus he forgets the Sun Jam on the ground. The person escorting him realizes it just after the bus has left and followed the bus on a bicycle. The relative discovers he has forgotten the Sun Jam once he sees a Sun Jam billboard along the way. He then decides to buy 4 cans of Sun Jam at the next stop. The guy following on a bicycle then catches up with him there all worn out and sweaty from cycling for many kilometres. Check out the ad here, you will be laughing all the way through.

Ngwerewere 

Most of you might remember that the Ngwerewere brand was notable back then. This ad was shot in various locations featuring the popular band, The Rusike Brothers. The song playing was composed exclusively for Ngwerewere by the band. What made this ad so fun and relatable was the simplicity of the lyrics that made it a sing-along ad. You can check it out here.

Olivine

This one features the late Zimbabwean iconic musician, Oliver Mtukudzi. One of the most creative ads to ever be done in Zimbabwe. The whole idea was that they used empty containers of Olivine cooking oil products to make musical instruments. So the instrumental part of the song was all done from those makeshift instruments. You can find the ad here.

Mazoe Orange Crush

This one is quite relatable especially to those who attended boarding school. The story is about a boy leaving home and going through his first day at boarding school. After going through shaky first hours at school he finally settles in and enjoys a glass of Mazoe Orange Crush. As he is drinking it he starts reminiscing about his days at home with his family. Later on, a newcomer also comes into the dormitory and they chat drinking Mazoe Orange together. Check it out here.

Cimas iGO

Many of you might not know this ad but for modern times out of Zimbabwe, this is an exceptional ad. When I first saw it I was so stunned by the concept and quality of the ad. You can check out the ad here, you will understand why I am including it here. By the way, iGO is an innovative benefits package that is aimed at taking care of the health and wellness of CIMAS members. The package is holistic as it covers a comprehensive range of wellness services. They cover areas namely, emotional, physical, intellectual, environmental, occupational, spiritual, financial, and social. To find out more you can go to the iGO website.

When you look at the list you can see a certain trend. It seems as if the best ads to ever come out of Zimbabwe were from the 1990s. Truth be told, that was the ear of undoubtedly some of the best Zimbabwean ads. So what has changed? Why are we not seeing such great ads anymore? I think one of the reasons is because in Zimbabwe there has been a shift towards influencer marketing. Most brands now prefer to advertise through the use of content creators such as comedians.

I guess this is because advertisers do not see the value in creating ads for national television. ZBC TV no longer enjoys the widespread viewership it used to back in the day. Back in the day social media was not yet a thing so everyone had that one option – ZBC. However, we still need to see more great ads since social media platforms are now the target pools. Brands need to invest more resources and time into coming up with great ads. The thought and creativity that was put into the ads I mentioned is something to emulate. The recurring theme or approach is storytelling – it is a timeless element of effective advertising.