Thursday, June 29, 2006

Essay 755

From The New York Post…




Meet the new, improved “Juan Valdez.”

Colombia’s new coffee ambassador to the world — an icon of advertising for nearly a half-century — in no longer just an actor for hire but a real coffee grower working the lush slopes of Colombia's coffee country.

Carlos Castañeda, 39, a father of three, was picked after a two-year search by the industry’s trade group to tour the globe from Tokyo to Amsterdam promoting Colombian coffee. At stake is $1.4 billion in exports.

Sales slumped last year by $100 million from a glut of coffee beans but it wasn’t the fault of the previous Juan Valdez — professional actor Carlos Sanchez, 71, who hung up his poncho a month ago after 37 years on the job.

The new pitchman inherits the trademark white straw hat and faithful mule Conchita, who’ll remain in the same role.

“Half of his time will be spent working on his own coffee farm and for the rest he’ll be traveling the world for the other growers,” Juan Esteban Orduz, president of the Colombia Coffee Federation, told The Post.

The new Juan Valdez is a third-generation coffee grower from a rural village fittingly named Andes.

He became an overnight celebrity in South America in recent days after his identity was disclosed.

The federation had sent teams across the countryside for two years to interview hundreds of young men with bushy mustaches from among the country’s nearly 400,000 coffee growers.

A reality TV show was created about the hunt.

The Juan Valdez trademark — one of the most recognizable in the world — is to be inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in the fall.

The fictional figure even made it to Hollywood, sharing a scene with comic Jim Carrey in the film “Bruce Almighty.”

The first Juan Valdez was created by Madison Avenue in 1959, and was played for a decade by actor José Duval, a Cuban.


Click on the essay title above to visit The National Federation Of Coffee Growers Of Colombia website and meet the new Juan Valdez.


Anonymous said...

Maybe he plans on perking things up cutting it with another one of Columbia’s more popular exports.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article, but PLEASE make sure to ALWAYS spell Colombia (with "o") correctly instead of Columbia (with "u") when refering to my country. Thank you.

HighJive said...


it's the hazards of publishing sans proofreader.