The Voiceless Campaign for The Zimbabwean

Just under a year ago we featured the wonderful ad campaign for The Zimbabwean by TBWA Hunt Lascaris Johannesburg, a campaign that highlighted the worth of the Zimbabwean dollar bill by using it to create actual billboards, posters and other outdoor advertising, as a meme representative of Zimbabwe’s plummeting socio-economic circumstances. This year, the same agency has been asked to create another campaign for the newspaper, and once again, they have done themselves, The Zimbabwean and the country’s people proud.

The Zimbabwean Voiceless campaign

The Zimbabwean Voiceless campaign

Named The Voiceless Campaign, it pays tribute to the tenet of the Zimbabwean: to give a voice to the voiceless. The posters feature the work of photojournalists working in Zimbabwe over the last two years, many of which were banned by Mugabe and the ZANU-PF regime after police raided an exhibition in Harare as it opened. The photojournalists donated their work to the campaign in an effort to prevent their work from being silenced. The images direct people to the Zimbabwean website, where the context of each image is explained by written accounts by the photojournalists and located on a satellite map.



Here’s a video explaining the campaign.



For those who missed it, here’s the article on last year’s campaign, courtesy of

This is a really smart advertising campaign by TBWA/Hunt Lascaris for a small Zimbabwean newspaper (The Zimbabwean). Quipped ‘The World’s first Trillion Dollar advertising campaign’, it draws on that oft-repeated gibe that it’s cheaper to use Zim dollars as toilet paper these days. I saw the ad recently on a billboard at JHB airport and it really is an ad printed on money that has been carefully woven together like tapestry.

A work of art in itself, it is poignant and so very pertinent. I imagine the ad would be illegal in Zimbabwe and so it really speaks volumes to the power of media in facilitating free speech in the face of suppressive regimes that sadly have much of the continent in a stranglehold.

The ad serves to help create awareness and support of the Zimbabwean newspaper which has been a voice in the wilderness for Zimbabwean exiles for the past 3½ years. As described by the newspaper, ‘One of the most eloquent symbols of Zimbabwe’s collapse is the Z$100 trillion dollar note, a symptom of its world record inflation. This note cannot buy anything, not even a loaf of bread and certainly not any advertising, but it can become the advertising – a powerful reminder about Zimbabwe’s plight and the need to hold someone accountable.’

The campaign was also run in downtown Johannesburg and includes posters, flyers, and billboards all using Zimbabwe currency.