Last week was the premiere of a highly anticipated drama series that had been hyped as a Zimbabwean Original Whats App Drama series Jabu’s Homecoming… The novelty concept had people glued to their green apps to see how it would play out…
Its been a few days since the series ended having run for three days from the 16th of May to the 18th of May. It also turned out that the drama series was really an innovative marketing campaign by a Life Assurance company, Zimnat…. (makes sense as I had wondered how the production would make money)
Firstly hats off to this adventurous corporate for being willing to push boundaries. I am sure they could have easily shot a video commercial but instead chose to be not only creative and innovative but inclusive while also making use of the talents in the creative field marrying social media, instant messaging and marketing.
Sure, it could have been better executed but how do you plan for something that has never been done before except to just do it and learn from the feedback. I still give them top points and because I am me, let me just drop a review of Jabu’s Homecoming A Zimbabwe Exclusive WhatsApp Drama
The idea of being in an immersive drama with the audience watching the story unfold as chats, like spectators in a family WhatsApp, is a genius idea.
They managed to get a hype and a buzz going around that made it trend and the designated WhatsApp groups were filling fast fast… 26 Whatsapp groups with 200+ people, that’s a 5000+ reach…
They took into consideration the data usage and used optimized images… A social media user made the comment that, “…at least they didn’t waste our data.”
For extra points, the characters communicated in a mixture of English, Shona and Ndebele drawing in a wide demographic.
First of all it was overhyped and people were expecting it to be so much more, while the story premise is interesting; Jabu dies in South Africa and his family in Zimbabwe creates a WhatsApp group to handle the body repatriation. As one who watches TV Soapies for research purposes of course, I expected… more… “drama”
I mean they had a dead man without an insurance policy, a swindling uncle, a hysteric mother, an enterprising widow scheming with her husband’s mistress, but the drama was more inferred than delivered. A Twitter comment by Miss Graca aptly summarized the drama by saying the only dramatic thing was the number of people exiting the group….
The pacing of the story was awkward and it didn’t help that it was punctuated with people exiting the group. Some had expected more of video than simply being flies on the wall in a WhatsApp Group where only the admin could comment. As some people had observed the chats weren’t quite cohesive and I know WhatsApp groups can be lit, I really wasn’t feeling this family chat group…
If it was my family Whatsapp group I would have exited, of course they would have added me right back. One can never really leave a family WhatsApp without facing serious repercussions and a family intervention on why you are trying to break relatives heart… well at least in my family that’s how it would play out.
I cant begin to imagine the admin involved in running conversations in 26 WhatsApp Groups which might also explain the challenges in the pacing of the story. Low key I even suspect it could have been one person posting from the six different numbers haha….
Great idea, from the Corporate’s perspective they got their moment in the sun, their brand is getting coverage as the package touches on issues real as day for Zimbabweans with family living outside the country… And everyone wants a dignified send-off
The possibilities of a proper WhatsApp Drama, I hope this wont be the end of such an initiative, there’s a market of people who would do with internet bundle sensitive entertainment.
Also now that what seems like the primary purpose of the WhatsApp groups has been served what next…
Should I exit the group too?