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Nissan and TBWA 'innovate to excite' South Africa - taking home a Loerie's Grand Prix

How does a car manufacturer hack an internationally popular navigation app to provide a previously unconsidered South African market with unique tech aimed at keeping them safe on the road? Enter Nissan Shwii - a downloadable series of Zulu-language audio commands compatible for use on the Waze platform.
Nissan and TBWA 'innovate to excite' South Africa - taking home a Loerie's Grand Prix

Waze is used by more than 800,000 South African users, with 100,000 daily users, and offers real-time traffic reports and optimal route selections in 98 language options, including Arabic, Mandarin, ‘Boy Band’ and ‘Batman’. Zulu, although the most widely-spoken language in South Africa (20.6% of the population), is not offered as an option.

“We wanted to change that in a way that would place the Nissan brand in culture and unlock potent value for them,” says Carl Willoughby, creative lead on the project and TBWA\Hunt Lascaris ECD, an agency known for its disruptive work.

“Nissan is renowned for its intelligent mobility that helps drivers navigate obstacles on the road with confidence – so they can react accordingly and in time. Our hack does the same thing, but in Zulu, to help our local drivers avoid danger without the need to first translate."

Shwii started with TBWA\Hunt Lascaris hacking the ‘personal voice recorder’ feature on Waze to create a series of 41 key Zulu voice-assist navigation commands, and resulted in a shareable link accessed via the Waze app from which users can download Zulu commands in male or female voice options.

Tessa Cooke, general manager for Marketing Communications at Nissan South Africa, says, “Shwii is an extension of what our brand stands for. Not only does it drive innovation and the functional use of technology; it also has local relevance, leveraging the vibrancy of South Africa’s cultures in a disruptive way. This is testament to our brand ethos of ‘innovation that excites’, and we can’t wait for what the future holds, including the roll-out of other language options on Shwii."

Last week, Nissan Shwii and the associated campaign won TBWA\Hunt Lascaris its second Radio and Audio Grand Prix in two years, at the prestigious South African Loerie awards.

Willoughby says, “Shwii has been two years in the making, and we couldn’t be more excited about the work, or our Loeries win. We pride ourselves in bringing relatable, culturally-relevant and brave campaigns to life. It costs $75,000 to add a new voice to Waze; we made it happen for under $5,000, which wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment of our phenomenal team including Sanele Ngubane from Samish, Thule Ngcese and Louis Enslin from Produce Sound”.

Business Director at TBWA\Hunt Lascaris, Mike Di Terlizzi says, “While we work on a global piece of business, we are always conscious, along with Nissan SA, of our duty to create communication that resonates with our diverse local audience. Our Loeries win proves that being given the opportunity to be creative and innovative by a trusting client leads to market-leading work that is in-line with themes seen in this year’s radio and audio category at the Cannes awards."

The Nissan Shwii campaign was also awarded two Gold Craft Loeries for Direction and Sound Design, a Silver for the Use of Tech in Audio, and a Bronze in the Media Innovation category. Datsun, Nissan’s entry-level sister brand also won a campaign Silver in the Online Film category.

For more details on the Nissan Shwii campaign:

To download the Waze language commands:

For the case study:

About TBWA\Worldwide

TBWA is The Disruption® Company. We use creativity to help businesses challenge the status quo and capture an unfair share of the future. Named one of the World's Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company in 2021, 2020 and 2019, and Adweek's 2018 Global Agency of the Year, we are a creative company that uses trademarked Disruption® methodologies to help businesses address their challenges and achieve transformative growth. Our collective has 10,000+ creative minds in 41 countries, and also includes brands such as Auditoire, Digital Arts Network (DAN), eg+ worldwide, GMR, The Integer Group®, TBWA\Media Arts Lab, TBWA\WorldHealth and TRO. Global clients include adidas, Apple, Gatorade, Henkel, Hilton Hotels, McDonald's, Nissan and Singapore Airlines. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. TBWA is part of Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC).

About Omnicom Group Inc.

Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) ( is a leading global
marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom's branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 70 countries.

2 Nov 2021 12:30