Tawanda Mashava

All things, without fear, and informational

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

The Brilliance Behind the City of Harare Ad.

The City of Harare recently released an advert that court and caught the attention of many. The ad, which has made a lot of noise on Social Media platforms especially Facebook and Twitter, depicted a woman riding on the back of a man, accompanied by the text "Do not be a free rider. Pay your Municipal Bills." See image below.

The 'controversial' Harare City ad.
The reason why the advert seems to court controversy is, like my colleague Charlton Tsodzo puts it in a Facebook comment "... you don't talk about riding and put people in the same context..." and I would add, people of different sex. The depiction got many people talking about this advert, venting their frustrations and shame at the alleged lack of creativity and SHARING the 'shameless' advert. This gets me to my point, that of the brilliance of this one ad.

The City of Harare (@cosunshinecity) wants to remind people to pay their bills, and what better way to do it than create an advert that goes viral, with a lot of Social Media influencers sharing it on their timelines and walls? You see, the issue here is how many people did the advert reach, and how many actually interacted with posts in which it featured, albeit with negative comments.
The City of Harare's (@cohsunshinecity) Twiiter page.

City of Harare is not selling an unwanted product/service, or one which people have an option of leaving or choosing a competitor’s product, they simply want to remind people to pay their bills, an obligation by the way, and creating an advert that reaches as many people as possible is a brilliant way of achieving this goal. What each individual who sees the ad thinks about their creativity or lack thereof, is up to the individual, but as long as you get their message, and yes, if you owe them anything, you were reminded that you need to pay up amid all the noise about the morality and social acceptableness of the advert. Period.

City of Harare managed to get Influential Zimbos or Twimbos to do a significant part of their work for them by sharing the ad, which naturally should drastically cut down their cost of dispersion: it is now unnecessary to buy advertising or space on the media for this same ad, it has been widely circulated.
The Advert has been widely shared and commented on, making it a successful viral campaign.

No publicity is bad publicity (not always and not for everyone) and the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. Everyone is talking about you guys at the Sunshine City, Kudos to you.

So well done to City of Harare, but not all companies can afford this type of controversial marketing, so do not just copy and paste, you need a digital marketing strategy that fits your brand, not the Harare City type. If you want a fitting digital strategy, you can get in touch and we can plan yours, which should not necessarily be controversial, but can still go viral.



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