This is a weird one, and it kind of reminds me of something that may have turned up during the Golden Age of Advertising as it’s so bizarre and non PC. The banned Nando’s advert begins with a sad looking Robert Mugabe sitting at a dinner table all on his own, then goes on to feature several flashbacks of Robert Mugabe hanging out with a bunch of other dictators like Colonel Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein and doing dumb stuff like playing on swings or making sand angels or that thing that Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio do in Titanic but on a tank instead of a boat, all the while whilst Mary Hopkin’s ‘Those Were The Days My Friend’ plays along in the background. After all these flashbacks, the ad finishes in the present with Robert Mugabe sitting at the big empty table still with a tear in his eye, as all his other dictator friends are now dead and gone. Cue the voiceover: ‘Nobody should ever have to eat alone. So make sure you order a Nando’s sixpack meal.’
I’m not really sure what to think about this banned Nando’s advert. I mean on the one hand it’s pretty creative and offbeat and funny and humanizes dictators as people that like to have fun as well as kill a bunch of people and commit atrocities in the name of freedom or whatever, but on the other hand is kind of gross and weird and kind of makes light of all the gross things that these dictators have perpetrated. What makes it even better is that it wasn’t banned because people found its content offensive but because Nando’s staff in Zimbabwe were threatened by hardcore Mugabe supporters. I’m not really sure what that says about the advert/Mugabe as well – that Mugabe and his supporters were annoyed that he was portrayed as someone with feelings and not a badass motherfucker!?
Also, not sure if this was intentional BUT the Mary Hopkins song was also played during a massacre that occurred in 1975 in Equatorial Guinea by some dictator: “During MacÃas Nguema’s regime, the country had neither a development plan nor an accounting system for government funds. After killing the governor of the Central Bank, he carried everything that remained in the national treasury to his house in a rural village.During Christmas of 1975 he ordered about 150 of his opponents killed. Soldiers executed them by shooting at the football stadium in Malabo, while amplifiers were playing Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were the Days.” I’m unsure if this makes the advert even cooler or even grosser.
Watch it below and let me know what you think about it, it would be interesting to determine if it’s the coolest and funniest advert ever or the grossest/most bad taste advert ever. Actually, for bad taste it probably couldn’t beat the banned scampi fries advert.