Not worth the paper its written on

Worthless Zimdollar put to use
closeup_billboardHARARE - The Zimbabwean Trillion Dollar Campaign consisted of various creative elements, including a billboard, all made up entirely of Zimdollar bank notes, most of which did not last beyond three months, as they were swept away by hyper-inflation caused by mismanagement of the countrys economy by Mu

The use of the collapse of the worthless Zimdollar notes was an analogy for the collapse of the country. The idea developed into the campaign using actual notes as the medium of the campaign, since the money had no value in terms of purchasing power. This represented the collapsed state of Zimbabwean currency, which had failed to cope with world record inflation that had spiralled beyond quantification and had broken all records.

President Robert Mugabe has, during a greater part of his past three decades in power, placed much priority on the suppression of diverse opinion and brutalising opposition political party leaders and civil rights groups that dared oppose his failed rule, which has reduced one of Africas erstwhile promising economies into the current world political and economic sham.

Riding especially on two draconian statutes the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), both created as public criticism against him grew just after the turn of the millennium, Mugabes media hangman closed down five newspapers.

With the public now subjected to relentless Zanu (PF) propaganda in both the print and broadcast media, there became a need for alternative sources of information that would rise above the cocoon of fear in which Mugabe had enclosed the countrys remaining privately-owned papers and it was therefore, paramount that a new source of information

That need was satisfied with the launch of The Zimbabwean in 2005, but Mugabe slapped the paper with the duty, which was eventually removed when Tendai Biti, who became Finance Minister at the formation of a national unity government.

Papers battles

When the country went to the polls in 2008 The Zimbabwean was blamed by the government of Robert Mugabe for its losses. Its delivery truck was hijacked and burnt by Mugabe thugs, then the paper was punished with a 70% ‘luxury’ import tax. Battling to be taken seriously by advertisers in South Africa, the paper struggled to survive. With Zimbabwe’s currency value spiralling downwards at the fastest rate of any country in history, TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris Johannesburg conceived the brilliant ad campaign.

With billboards and posters made up of thousands of worthless hundred trillion dollar (Z$100 000 000 000 000) Zimbabwean bank notes, the campaign made world headlines. Featured on more than 800 international websites and blogs, it is on permanent exhibit at the British museum in London, included in textbooks and has catapulted its creators, TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris Johannesburg, to the top of the creative circle listings.

South African based marketing manager of The Zimbabwean, Liz Linsell said, “The success of the Trillion Dollar campaign has given us a profile beyond our wildest dreams and South African advertisers are now realising the enormous potential of the Zimbabwean readership. For an estimated three million Zimbabweans in South Africa The Zimbabwean brings them the news from home and is their newspaper of choice.”

The paper is published three days a week and distributed nationally in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. The full content of every issue is published on the website at and is a prime source of news for Zimbabwean exiles worldwide. The site receives 120,000 unique visitors every month and is highly rated by Google analytics.

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