Nando’s has axed its Last Dictator Standing advert in which Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe president, is seen playing with other dictators such as Colonel Gaddafi. The South African food chain removed the advert from circulation in which it makes fun at Zimbabwe’s President as the ‘last dictator standing’.
The worldwide food chain was forced to take action after its staff received serious threats in Zimbabwe from a local youth group which is loyal to Mugabe and his regime. Actors are used in the advert, and it shows Mugabe sat at a table dining alone with the table set up for the Libyan Muammar Gaddafi.
Gaddafi was recently killed by rebel forces in his country and including him in such a light-hearted advert could be a touchy subject and disrespectful to the family, despite his crimes. The table had also been set up for Uganda’s Idi Amin and many other late dictators.
While the firm is known for its cheeky adverts and despite the humorous intention, it should have been expected that many of the literal supporters of these men would have taken a negative view to the advert, and as such it would have been almost certain that there would have been some kind of negative reaction.
The advert was broadcast across the African continent which obviously included Zimbabwe, where Mugabe rules with an iron fist. It appeared on many satellite channels and only a short time ago went international, it has also been a hit on YouTube getting many thousands of views.
The commercial is simple in its message, which is Mugabe reminiscing about the golden years and happy times with other autocratic rulers. The advert has Mary Hopkin’s Those Were the Days playing in the background to instil some feeling and emotion into the advert.
The video has cost almost £236,000 to create and it was supposed to be part of the Christmas festive season campaign which was running on South African TV.
The Zimbabwe President is seen having a water fight with a water-pistol with Gaddafi, making sand angels with Iraq’s tyrant Saddam Hussein, riding on a tank with Idi Amin in a scene which is inspired by the famous Titanic scene with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
“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,” said Nando’s in an official statement.