COLOMBIA COFFEE GROWERS TO LAUNCH NEW PR EFFORT

Weber Shandwick to Handle Account Featuring Juan Valdez

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia is bringing back its Juan Valdez character as part of a new public relations and advertising program.

The character of Juan Valdez, the legendary marketing icon played by real-life Colombian Carlos Sanchez, along with his mule has been on hiatus for more than a year. The character was originally created by DDB Worldwide in the 1960s.

PR account awarded
The revival of Juan Valdez

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$9 Million Account Will Promote the Return of Juan Valdez
comes as part of a new account awarded by the federation June 6 to a team lead by Interpublic Group of Cos.' PR agency Weber Shandwick. Also onboard are Powell Tate, a public affairs shop in Washington D.C.; Rogers & Cowan, an entertainment agency based in Los Angeles; and branding firm FutureBrand. Separately, Weber Shandwick unit KRC Research is carrying out attitudinal research.

FutureBrand is being hired to put a value on the Juan Valdez brand, while Weber Shandwick is organizing a series of summer events featuring the character. Powell Tate will work on various imports issues facing the federation in Washington D.C. Separately, Weber Shandwick unit KRC Research is carrying out attitudinal research for the brand.

Red carpet treatment
A new advertising campaign isn't likely to debut until early next year but a print ad, created by Weber Shandwick's Sawyer Miller Advertising, has run in People magazine's recent "most beautiful people" issue featuring Juan Valdez in sunglasses and his mule walking a red carpet.

While the federation's initial request for proposal indicated this would be an advertising account, it appears the federation opted instead for a PR and promotions-heavy campaign. The account is worth around $9 million, though the final contract is still being negotiated.

Despite earlier press reports of plans for a Juan Valdez chain of coffee shops in the U.S., the federation had no firm plans on that front.

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