With all the polarization that has evidently dogged Zimbabwean society for the longest time, if you thought that is the depth of despair, wait until you see what’s going on behind Zim product packaging.
An unknown (and for good reason) number of locally produced products are increasingly carrying the “Proudly Zimbabwean” logo and pay-off line.
Initially, looking at just one product it all looks good and likable; but wait until you are confronted by the disorder.
Considering that many of the manufacturers are keen to export some of these products, what must be perplexing to the local and export consumer alike is the sheer variety of “Proudly Zimbabwean” logos and mascots printed at the back of these products.
We identified no less than a dozen “Proudly Zimbabwean” logos printed on a variety of products from mealie-meal, drink concentrate, potato crisps, cereals to spreads.
For some reason, the use of the mantra looks more of fashion than anything more serious.
Of course, “Proudly Zimbabwean” is not an original idea but something that began taking off locally at the turn of the century after the apparent success of the South African equivalent and Mandela inspired, “Proudly South African”.
The mandate of the South African campaign is stated, in part, as follows;
The mandate of the Proudly South African Campaign is to create and sustain quality jobs by stimulating Local Production and the consumption of locally produced products and services…
Several other countries went ahead to clone the South African campaign. South Africa itself got the idea from Australia.
In the Zimbabwean case, Buy Zimbabwe Campaign appears to be the official “Proudly South African” equivalent in terms of coordination and the aims and objectives of such a campaign.
However, Buy Zimbabwe has its own logo (see below) used by its partners clearly written “Buy Zimbabwe”. We also notice that many of the products carrying “Proudly Zimbabwean” logos do not have the”Buy Zimbabwe” logo suggesting the have nothing to do with the Buy Zimbabwe campaign.
This essentially points to the “Proudly Zimbabwean” “campaign” being at the whim of any desirous manufacturer which explains the uncoordinated deployment of its logos, colors and positioning on packaging.
It basically looks like a terribly rule-less and standard-less jungle with little prospects of achieving anything in the vicinity of the South African campaign at its peak.
The fact that there are no rules nor standards explains the rampart use of whichever logo any designer can come up with.
The confusion ends not here. We notice that even members of Buy Zimbabwe Campaign itself are among those using the fragmented “Proudly Zimbabwean” logos.
What is certain is that it is extremely difficult for the Proudly Zimbabwean “campaign” to be taken seriously on both the local and the export market in this state. It also confuses the official Buy Zimbabwe initiative itself.
Zimbabwe brand ambassadors such as the Tourism Ministry, perhaps the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) and Buy Zimbabwe itself will need to step in and help properly align things.
Below are some of the logos we collected from a variety of products on local supermarket shelves…