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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