Over the last few decades, Kenyans have been treated to millions of TV adverts. However, some stood out of the clutter and resonated with millions to date.
These are the adverts that have stood the test of time, ads that if played to a blindfolded audience would still evoke feelings of nostalgia and one can immediately identify the product.
Some went viral just for pushing the envelope, while others hit the spot due to the genius in their simplicity.
Here’s a rundown of 13 of the most memorable adverts to have aired on Kenyan TV.
Mpango wa Kando
This one has to go down as one of the most effective HIV-themed campaigns to grace our screens.
You could hear a pin drop whenever this ad came on, and it usually aired dead in the middle of a news bulletin.
Wives stared at their husbands. Husbands stared blankly into the screen while once in while a kid would most probably break the silence with something like, ‘Mum. Mpango wa kando ni nani?’
Blue Band Energy to Grow
This one simply had one of the catchiest jingles to go with it. I can personally confess to singing it word for word every time it came on.
“Step by step, day by day, growing stronger along the way, Blue Band gives them the energy to grow, then an ad lib that went like (energy, gives so much energy),” if you watched it, I’m sure you just sang that out.
It was simple but still catchy, and I still believe that Blue Band gives the energy to grow.
Trust Condom Umbrella Ad
This one was the kind of advert that pushed the envelope to a whole new frontier.
You could literally weigh the tension in the room every time it came on.
The protagonist would walk up to a lady just after her umbrella casing was blown away during a storm, take out a pack of trust condoms, unwrap one and use it as a modified umbrella case.
The long gazes in between and the extra slow speed during the wrapping of the umbrella was the longest 4 or 5 seconds on TV at the time.
It usually came on just as families were settling down for supper, just to add to the tension.
Niko na Safaricom
This one was ingenious. It had everyone across the country believing that that they were the next musical prodigee.
You have to admit to having sung or at least hummed to this song as images of the beauty that is Kenya flashed across our screens.
“Nafurahia undugu na ukoo wetu. Nasherekea kazi na bidii yetu,” you know the rest.
The fusion of the exceptional vocals and stunning drone footage simply worked.
Kenya Airways Pride of Africa
This was one of the few adverts where no words were spoken.
KQ simply used pride-evoking images from the various iconic parts of the country and matched it with a jingle that made the whole ad come to life.
If that jingle is played anywhere right now, your thoughts immediately turn to KQ, proving just how powerful the african-themed tune was.
From lions to well dressed cabin crews, the ad just made you want to fly.
Chipsy Cooking Oil
This one used to come on smack in the middle of the famous wrestling TV show that had developed a sort of cult-like following.
It entailed a group of women from various parts of the country giving their view on why that particular brand of cooking oil was the best when it came to making chapati.
To cap it off, they all spoke in their native tongues, with the Kikuyu lady likening her chapatis to elephants’ ears standing out.
An Indian lady was also a fan favourite despite the fact that a majority of viewers had no clue what she was saying, it was all about how she said it.
Kiwi Ebu Jitokeze
This was another one of those ads whose song we sang along to unknowingly.
“Hebu jitokeze, jionyeshe, simama, mbele ya watu,” you just sang that bit didn’t you.
That’s why it worked. If you search “Hebu Jitokeze” on YouTube you’ll find that there’s actually a group that went as far as making a cover of the song.
Other notable mentions include the Faiba animated advert, Knorr beef soup ad sang by Moncherry, the Barclays dancing ATM robot and Vicks Kingo throat lozenges.
Watch some of Kenya’s most iconic ads below: