Finweek English Edition - - ADVERTISING & MARKETING -

It’s a year since The Jupiter Draw­ing Room joined the scram­ble for part­ners in Africa, and in that time its first for­eign agency has built fee and com­mis­sion in­come to R30m, mak­ing it the largest ad agency group in Zim­babwe.

Zim­babwe? “For­tune favours the brave,” re­sponds a jaunty Gra­ham War­sop, Jupiter group chair­man. “We are back­ing the man, Den­ford Magora, and the out­stand­ing peo­ple he has gath­ered around him. We have great con­fi­dence in what he’s try­ing to do. He’s com­mit­ted to good work and de­serves to be sup­ported.”

Jupiter has am­bi­tious plans for con­ti­nen­tal ex­pan­sion. “We un­der­stand the po­ten­tial of Africa, its cul­tures and mind­sets,” says Magora. “We could, to­gether with such a part­ner, es­tab­lish the most prom­i­nent, cre­ative and suc­cess­ful African agency net­work.”

In a com­plex share­hold­ing struc­ture, The Jupiter Draw­ing Room (Harare) is a sis­ter agency of Magora’s agency, Jeri­cho, in the Jupiter Zim­babwe group. As group CEO, Magora holds a ma­jor­ity stake in the agency and a mi­nor­ity stake in the li­cens­ing/hold­ing com­pany, The Jupiter Draw­ing Room (Zim­babwe) and Part­ners.

The prospects have been il­lus­trated dra­mat­i­cally by its growth and cre­ative success (among the big­gest win­ner at the re­cent Zim­babwe ad­ver­tis­ing awards). Clients in­clude Old Mu­tual Zim­babwe, Zim­plats, Toy­ota, Nando’s, Sch­weppes, CBZ Bank, Delta Bev­er­ages (SAB­Miller Zim­babwe), West­ern Union and South African Air­ways.

Magora says he found Jupiter an at­trac­tive part­ner be­cause of its cre­ative rep­u­ta­tion and lo­cal ex­pe­ri­ence. “Amer­i­cans and Euro­peans see Africa as one coun­try, and they come in with one so­lu­tion.

“We didn’t want to af­fil­i­ate our­selves with a face­less global con­glom­er­ate that looks at Africa as a third or fourth-tier mar­ket ap­pended to their Europe and Mid­dle East re­gion. We are fo­cused on

Tony Koen­der­man com­ments: It’s a high-risk strat­egy, but the stakes are com­men­su­rately high. Whether Jupiter ends up as a f lag-bearer of an eco­nomic re­vival, or an­other failed in­vest­ment in a strife-rid­den coun­try, de­pends on how well the Zim­babwe government man­ages the re­turn to nor­mal­ity in the next few years.

If only be­cause it’s mov­ing off such a low base, the growth po­ten­tial is prob­a­bly greater than in any other African coun­try. One thing Mu­gabe did right in his early years in power was to raise the stan­dard of ed­u­ca­tion, and to­day there are thou­sands of well-ed­u­cated Zim­bab­weans all over the con­ti­nent. Peo­ple with de­grees, work­ing as wait­ers and petrol pump jock­eys, are ea­ger to re­turn the moment they see signs of a re­turn to nor­mal­ity.

Many will find it im­pos­si­ble to for­give the Mu­gabe government for the in­jus­tices per­pe­trated on the Zim­bab­wean peo­ple but if for­eign in­vestors get what they need, po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity, many will over­look past of­fences.

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