Juan Valdez of 100% Colombian Coffee
April 16 - 2021
Coffee Geography Magazine
Valdez is a fictional character who has appeared in advertisements for the
National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia since 1958. But what many don’t
know is that this character is a US creation designed by DDB (Doyle DaneBernbach ad agency)founder William Bernbach with the goal of distinguishing
100%-Colombian coffee from coffee blended with beans from other countries.
agency's first ads were for Ohrbach's department store exemplifying a new
"soft-sell" approach to advertising - with catchy slogans and witty
humour contrasting the repetitive and hard-sell style in vogue. The new agency
was initially successful in winning business for clients with small budgets.
Their campaigns for Volkswagen throughout the 1950s and 1960s were said to have
revolutionized advertising. Notable campaigns included the 1959 Think Small
series of Volkswagen advertisements, which was voted the No. 1 campaign of all
time in Advertising Age's 1999 The Century of Advertising.
Valdez typically appears with his mule Conchita, carrying sacks of harvested
coffee beans in the Colombian Coffee Ads. He has become an icon for Colombia as
well as coffee in general, and Juan Valdez's iconic appearance is frequently
mimicked or parodied in television and other media.
Valdez was initially portrayed by a Cuban actor, José F. Duval in both print
advertisements and on television until 1969. He then had been embodied by Carlos
Sánchez since 1969 and voiced by Norman Rose. In 2006, Sánchez announced his
retirement, and Carlos Castañeda, a grower from the town of Andes, Antioquia,
was selected by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia as the
new face of Juan Valdez.
has promoted Colombian coffee since 1969 with a leather bag, bushy mustache and
straw hat typical of rural Colombia. He inherited the role from Jose Duval, a
Cuban, who became the first Juan Valdez in 1959.
Juan Valdez trademark has become one of the most recognizable in the world, the
fictional figure one of the most famous Colombians of all time. Juan Valdez
even made it to Hollywood, sharing a scene with Jim Carrey in the film “Bruce
have been thankful to Valdez for presenting another side of their country,
which often is seen abroad as a haven for drug traffickers.
feel like a flag. I feel like I’ve represented the country,” Sanchez said once.
“There is a big sense of gratitude from Colombians abroad for this.”
is the national product of this South American nation and was crucial in the
country’s early economic development as the world’s third top exporter. It’s
rare to find a Colombian who does not start his or her day with a shot of
“tinto,” heavily sweetened black coffee. The bean also is used to make
alcoholic drinks, candy and soft drinks.