The Zimbabwean newspaper and TBWA Hunt Lascaris have won the Cannes Grand Prix for Outdoor for their Trillion Dollar Campaign. The campaign used worthless high denomination Zimbabwe currency as the materials in billboards, murals, posters and flyers protesting about the impact of Robert Mugabe’s government on the country’s economy.
The Zimbabwean began as the “Voice for the Voiceless” in 2005 after journalists were driven into exile for reporting on how the Mugabe regime had rigged elections, crushed the opposition, caused poverty, disease and the total collapse of the economy. A team of volunteers from around the world were led by London based editor Wilf Mbanga, founder and first Chief Executive of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, the publishers of The Daily News.
In June 2008 the Zimbabwe government imposed a 55% luxury import duty on all newspapers produced outside the country, making The Zimbabwean unaffordable to the average citizen. To get the paper into Zimbabwean hands, it needed to be subsidised by subscribers living outside the country.
TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris worked with The Zimbabwean team to raise international awareness of a newspaper that highlights the continuing turmoil in Zimbabwe. Instead of trying to explain all the problems faced by the newspaper the creative team went with a tangible symbol of the country’s collapse, the worthless currency. They designed an outdoor advertising campaign that threw away trillion dollar notes with a message. The creative team printed their message on high currency notes, turning them into flyers. They mailed bundles of cash to media personalities. They printed the newspaper’s contact details on notes and attached them to posters wherever the Zimbabwean was sold. Trillion dollar notes were used as the basis of wallpaper murals and billboards.
The Trillion Dollar Campaign was developed at TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, Johannesburg, by executive creative director Damon Stapleton, creative director Nicholas Hulle, art directors Shelley Smoler and Nadja Lossgott and copywriter Raphael Basckin.