A new ad for Nando's--the South Africa-based fast food giant--has lighted up the blogosphere and many other social media websites. The ad,by Retroviral Digital Communication--is for Nando's Meal for 6 combo meal. The ad itself has stirred a fair bit of controversy because it features a President Mugabe lookalike reminiscing about the good times that he has had with several dearly departed dictators.
The ad, laced with the soundtrack of Mary Hopkin's "Those Were the Days," opens with a gloomy-looking Mr. Mugabe standing rather alone in an elegant dining room with a rather exquisite table set ostensibly for Mr. Mugabe's dead dictator companions, as evidenced by the empty chairs that surround the table.
Mr. Mugabe then has a flashback of playing "water guns" with Colonel Gaddafi of Libya, who, after being sprayed by the former, pulls out his trademark golden AK47--water gun--and wets Mr. Mugabe's bottom...and then the two merrily chase and spray on another in a garden.
In another flashback Mr. Mugabe lies supine in a desert, next to ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, with the two making sand-angels. In other flashbacks, Mr. Mugabe sings karaokee with China's Chairman Mao, rides an armored car with Uganda's Idi Amin Titanic-style, and pushes South Africa's P.W. Botha in a swing.
But not everyone sees the levity in the ad. The Mugabe loyalist group, the Chipangano group, naturally found the ad to be disparaging to Mr. Mugabe and called for a boycott of Nando's as well as other punitive action. This led Nando's South Africa to axe the ad.
2011 has been a bad year for the dictator business, so the reaction of Mr. Mugabe's may be understandable.But this ad is simply an auld lang syne of when things were fun in golden palaces with private jets and lavish lifestyles,and direct dials to your potentate buddies' private lines. Here's to you, Bob--enjoy the moment, for you don't know when you're next.
See it for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38YWB8iX7OY