Brazil: A TV Feud of Two Beers

     Brazil: A TV Feud of Two 
Beers

    Zeca Pagodinho, one
    of Brazil’s most popular singers, is in the
    middle of a noisy controversy between two Brazilian beer
    manufacturers. Last year he made a hugely successful TV spot
    for Nova Schin urging viewers to "Experiment". Now he is on
    television singing the praises of Brahma, the competition.
    by: Tom
    Phillips

    A Rio samba singer—featured in a massive advertising drive for one Brazilian
    lager last year—stirred up a brew between rival beer manufacturers this
    week, defecting to another brand on national television.

    A week after Belgian brewers
    Interbrew paid US$ 11.5 billion for Brazil’s Ambev—creating the world’s
    biggest beer maker—a war of words has broken out between directors of
    Brahma, now controlled by the Europeans, and Schincariol, another Brazilian
    brewery.

    The Brazilian musician,
    Zeca Pagodinho, made a hugely successful advert for Nova Schin last year urging
    viewers to: "Experiment". The company’s share of the market rose
    from 10 to 15 per cent in the wake of the ad.

    Yet on Friday he appeared
    on prime-time television singing the praises of Brahma—a beer he is widely
    known to prefer.

    "I tried other flavours,
    I know," he sings in the commercial. "But I can’t leave my love,
    I came back." ("Fui provar outro sabor, eu sei. Mas não largo
    meu amor, voltei.")

    Schincariol reacted furiously.
    According to the São Paulo firm, Pagodinho’s contract with them does
    not run out until September. They have referred the case to the Board of Advertising
    Self-Regulation (CONAR—Conselho de Auto-Regulamentação
    Publicitária).

    In response the company
    also placed a full-page advert in several Sunday newspapers entitled: "Suggestions
    of the Brazilian Nova Schin for the Belgian Brahma."

    Amongst their suggestions
    was that their rivals try "building new factories in Brazil, creating
    jobs for Brazilians, growth in Brazilian cities, and which crucially, produce
    Brazilian beer."

    Schincariol’s advertising
    chief, Eduardo Fischer, said: "We are going to respond in the way we
    know best: with an even more innovative commercial."

    Pagodinho, who has sold
    an estimated 3.5 million records in the last six years (not to mention the
    number of pirate CDs) and is one of the country’s most popular singers, shrugged
    off the controversy.

    "I’m too old to be
    hiding the beer I drink," he said yesterday. "I couldn’t pretend
    anymore. Everybody knows that I drink Brahma." He
    denied any contradiction in making the two commercials. "I
    said ‘Try it’. I didn’t tell anybody to drink it all the time. Beer is like
    cigarettes. Everyone is addicted to a particular brand."

    Monday, March 15, one
    Rio tabloid revealed that Pagodinho kept a secret stash of Brahma beer at
    his farm in Xerém, whilst simultaneously promoting Nova Schin.

    "This guy could switch
    women or even religion, but his football club and beer are sacred," joked
    one drinking partner.

    Brazil’s President, Luiz
    Inácio da Silva, has yet to publicly express his opinion. But, Lula
    is known to be a fan of Pagodinho’s music. Last Christmas he received a DVD
    of the sambista’s new MTV Unplugged show, from his daughter.


    Tom Phillips is a British journalist living in Rio de Janeiro.
    He writes for a variety of publications on politics and current
    affairs, as well as various aspects of the cultura brasileira.
    Tom can be reached on tominrio@yahoo.co.uk

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