The Zimbabwean ad campaign wins 5 more awards

wilfLONDON - The night belonged to South Africa at the 2010 D&AD awards held at The Roundhouse last Thursday, with the TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris Johannesburg team picking up armfuls of pencils, the official D&AD award. (Pictured: Damon Stapleton, Executive Creative Director and Wilf Mbanga, Editor of The Zimbabwean) Pi

Yellow Pencils represent silver, and Black the elusive gold of the event. The D&AD president described it well when he said that the awards are more about inspiration than congratulations!

Setting the tone from the opening award of the evening, TBWA won a Yellow Pencil in the first category, Integrated, for its Trillion Dollar campaign for the exiled The Zimbabwean newspaper. It went on to win another two Yellow Pencils – for Outdoor and Graphic Design – as well as a highly elusive Black Pencil, for Graphic Design, awarded for groundbreaking work in design and advertising.

Five Black Pencils were awarded on the night, and the TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris team was there to pick up the first-ever Black Pencil for SA. Wearing a Bafana Bafana jersey as he walked on stage, TBWA ECD Damon Stapleton and the team were proudly South African as they held up a South African flag, together with their Black Pencil.

Black was the defining colour of the night, albeit with jolts of yellow creating a bold visual contrast. The evening was hosted by UK comedian Jimmy Carr, his sharp wit and dark humour enhancing the atmosphere of the venue, with tables draped in black cloth complete with black napkins.

Dinner was distinctly African: guinea fowl served on a creamy risotto with two spears of asparagus. The room was an abundance of male ad execs in standard issue suits peppered by an array of attractively dressed women.

Reflecting the name of the venue, The Roundhouse made for easy viewing, no matter where you were seated. With five large screens around the circumference, they displayed the category titles and some of the winning work too.

The Trillion buzz

The Trillion Dollar campaign, for The Zimbabwean newspaper, was the resounding winner of the night, the campaign which created a new medium, turning banknotes into advertising space, thus highlighting the incredulous inflation in Zimbabwe where the money was not worth the paper it was printed on.

As a robotic Big Brother style voice summarised the campaign with the statement, “How do you pay for advertising when the currency is worth less than the paper it is printed on.” The Trillion dollar campaign has helped to elevate awareness of the situation in Zimbabwe on a global scale.

After the ceremony there was a buzz around the TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris table as photographers and journalists chatted to the team and snapped the excitement and piles of pencils. Never mind a pencil case, TBWA needs a backpack to take their awards home as each of the five member team received their own pencils for mantel piece prosperity.

Wilf Mbanga, the editor of The Zimbabwean who was forced into exile from Zimbabwe and has been living in the UK since 2003, was also a key part of the celebrations.

Dressed in a tux with his rich brown skin offset by his white beard, his was a face of immense wisdom and one that has lived through true trials and treacherous events of being a journalist in his quest to continue being ‘the voice for the voiceless’ in Zimbabwe.

“It is all so surreal,” quipped TBWA art director Nadja Lossgott before Stapleton added how they could never have imagined that anyone beyond SA would have been so interested in this campaign.

Stapleton spoke highly of the team’s commitment and hard work, spending many weekends making it all happen. When asked how they acquired the masses of million, billion and trillion dollar notes, he just smiled, showing a team who went beyond their realms to make this impactful campaign a reality.

And a reality it is, one which has been catapulted into the world’s media and advertising spotlight to show how advertising can take on a whole new dimension through a new medium and a cause that needed the passion of a team to take it forward. –

Sue Northam is a South African freelance writer based in London. She is the editor of SA PROMO Magazine (, positively South African – anA5 monthly glossy magazine which is distributed for free and aimed mostly at South Africans abroad, as well as those with an interest in all things SA..bizcommunity. com

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