Since 1985 France has been spotlighting certain countries and giving them year-long exposure. This year was Brazil Year in France.
As the event comes to an end it is clear that it was successful from various angles. Some 15 million people attended a total of 436 official cultural events in 161 different French cities throughout the year of 2005. There were films, art expositions and lots of music.
Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil, says that from a cost/benefit point of view the year was an elegant victory for Brazil.
A total of US$ 26 million (61 million reais) was spent (US$ 18 million in Ministry funds). Gil says the result will be more investments by the private sector in cultural events.
Sales of Brazilian products at the Brazil Year in France exposition, which opened in April, had already totalled US$ 191.4 million by early July, according to the president of the Agency for Export and Investments Promotion (Apex), Juan Quirós.
Apex has set up a partnership with around one thousand Brazilian firms, and has spent US$ 2.4 million to promote Brazilian goods, such as clothing and food, by sponsoring special events jointly with French outlets, such as department stores and supermarkets.
In one of the biggest event, Apex, the Brazilian embassy in Paris and the Galeries Lafayette, one of Europe’s largest upmarket retailer chains, promoted what was called the Aquarela do Brasil (Brazil’s Watercolor) exposition with Brazilian beverages, food, footwear, accessories, cosmetics, jewelry and other items.
The exposition lasted 25 days and was a success with the Lafayette reporting that there was a 12% increase in consumer circulation and a 10% rise in revenue.
"That," says Quirós, "showed the French that an event with Brazil makes money and attracts people." As part of the Brazil Year in France, kiosks have been set up around Paris serving Brazilian barbecue, fruit juices, typical regional foods (such as acarajé) and drinks (such as caipirinha).