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Nando’s chickens out of dictator ad amidst Zim threats

Nando’s has decided to pull its massively popular “Last Dictator Standing” advert from television. The ad attracted global attention and has been pulled because of “perceived threats against Nando’s Zimbabwe’s management, staff, and customers”.

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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The ad, which featured a man bearing an uncanny resemblance to long-standing Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe reminiscing about days gone by with now deceased dictatorial leaders such as Idi Amin, Chairman Mao and Saddam Hussein, quickly became a viral sensation upon its release.

A Zimbabwean youth militia loyal to Mugabe, however, threatened to take action against Nando’s if the ad was not pulled immediately.

The militia, known as Chipnango, threatened among other actions, a boycott of the fast food chain’s Zimbabwean restaurants.

According to Zimbabwe’s state-run Herald newspaper, Innscor group Africa — the company that owns the country’s Nando’s franchise — wasn’t all that thrilled with advert either.

The group’s chief executive, Musekiwa Kumbula, expressed his commitment to working closely with all stakeholders concerned towards a “prosperous Zimbabwe”, before distancing his company from the advert:

“The Nando’s SA advertisement, which denigrates the person of President RG Mugabe, was generated in South Africa, by Nando’s South Africa for South African markets and clientele. Nando’s Zimbabwe strongly feels the advertisement was insensitive and in poor taste. No consultation takes place between the different franchisees when they are formulating and executing marketing strategies for their respective markets.”

Nando’s said that it “takes these threats very seriously and will regrettably no longer flight the TV commercial as part of our festive season campaign.

“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”.

Nando’s is adamant, however, that the decision to pull the ad does not indicate a shift away from the kind of tongue-in-cheek, topical advertising for which it has become renowned:

“Nando’s South Africa remains committed to an advertising philosophy built around social commentary that starts conversations between people”.

Anyone with an internet connection can, of course enjoy the ad on a number of YouTube channels.