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Brands close to their consumers at year end

Face to face

Lorena Flores Moscoso and Lucrecia Alfaro de Arredondo talk about brands close to their consumers at year end.

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Lorena Flores Moscoso - Writer

Lorena Flores Moscoso - Writer

Her work appears in the anthologies Tiempo de narrar (Piedra Santa, 2007), Narrativa guatemalteca (Alfaguara, 2012) and Ni hermosa ni maldita (Alfaguara, 2012). Her published fiction includes Retrato anónimo (Espanta Perros, 2002), La higuera (Nino; Galicia, 2003), Desnudo reposo (Letra Negra, 2004), Simplemente una invitada (Letra Negra, 2006); and the poem book Sal (Catafixia editorial, 2011).

She has a degree in Ecoturismo in UVG, a degree in Literature UVG, a Master in Superior Education UVG, a Master in Touristic Business Administration from Universidad Santiago de Compostela. She is currently studying a Master in Environmental Studies at UVG.

 

By Lorena Flores Moscoso 

“And here comes Christmas”…Even though I’ve heard that intro to some jingle many times, I’m trying to remember what the jingle is for. It’s definitely not the holidays but the product or service it offers is not part of my imagination and I can’t remember where it’s from. Now that the end of the year is coming we are saturated with images of everything we could want to be happy and please those we love. How to spend our last cent, even go into debt for love or a false necessity.

Buying isn’t bad and getting some gratification from buying isn’t either. Sometimes we buy new products and services and other times we choose to buy brands that have faithfully accompanied us from childhood and, thanks to habit or the satisfaction they give us, are special guests in our celebrations or even in our day to day life. While we go out shopping, visiting people, or are stuck in horrible traffic, we start thinking about stopping by McDonald’s, or Burger King, or Pollo Campero, or maybe Starbucks (expensive) or & Café, or anything else we’re craving. It all depends on what’s closest or less full.

Everyone has their personal history and favorite brands that in some cases are “generic.” In my house, it’s sweets: indispensable and since I can remember, around the holidays we always have Danish cookies, panetone, Christmas bread, turron, and marzipan. We also have egg nog and Guatemalan fruit punch (both of which I don’t like, but I still buy). Among the generic items, we have tamales. It doesn’t matter where they are from as long as they are tamales; they could be Carmelita’s, Canche’s, Rome’s, or Tamal’s. Making them at home is too much work, although some say that is their family tradition. I prefer to buy them.

Then there are the brand name items: Butterball turkey, that thank God replaced the actual turkey you would see running around the yard to then one day disappear; Presidente cooking wine, and Mahler or Potato Bud mashed potatoes to accompany the turkey. This would be my classic Christmas dinner. Accompanied by sodas. The first one that comes to mind is Coca Cola, light and regular, Lozano apple juice, and again, the punch, egg nog, and possible Swiss Miss hot chocolate with marshmallows.

There are other products that used to be part of the tradition that became so popular that they were no longer special. I remember anxiously waiting for my mom to buy imported chocolates from Exclusivas or Selecta; now I can buy Hershey’s from any street vendor. I also remember how I would get excited to go to Cemaco (“everything under one roof”) or to Jugueteria. Now that I have a child, I avoid going to “danger stores.” I do not want to go somewhere where he will want everything and I’ll find myself in a tricky situation.

There are other products that I didn’t like, like all the fireworks, that to me just represented money. I especially remember the Toro Negro rounds. The Gallo beer Christmas tree and all their decorations along the Reforma seemed out of place to me, associating themselves with a religious holiday, although I understand that around the holidays and for New Years, it’s a little more fitting. When I think of Gallo, I associate it with the ceviche you eat on Sundays or while you’re watching soccer. I’m glad that their decorations are more discreet now and that the tree maintained a family vibe.

As I write this, I realize I’m a conservative consumer and don’t remember any brand too lovingly, but moreso the satisfaction I received from them. The other day I saw a G&T bank ad that reminded us of our upcoming school supplies or registration fees. I thought that was interesting, but then I thought of all the children that would think it very boring to receive school supplies as a Christmas gift. Every time I pass that billboard, I think the same thing and I think, if not the brand, at least the ad has logged itself into my short memory and it clicks.

In summary, I believe we consume with or without ads, with or without money, known or unknown brands, local or imported. Consuming or not consuming should be the dilemma. 

Lucrecia Alfaro de Arredondo - Social communicator

Lucrecia Alfaro de Arredondo - Social communicator

Degree in journalism in Panamericana University, she has worked in many communication workshops in the University and with media professionals. She works as advisor in communication and public relations, working for Belcorp Business.

She had worked with Health Ministry and OPS in education Workshops, with Motorola Solutions mapping markets for radio communication, with Fundación Latinoamericana AVINA as an advisor in communication, in Gabinete de Desarrollo Rural Integral making a mapping for the implementation of the Política de Desarrollo Rural Integral, in Telediario, Siglo 21 and Radio Sonora as a reporter of Health and Life, Science and Technology, Culture, Economy and others.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

By Lucrecia Alfaro de Arredondo

Little by little, we have less days left in December, it starts to get colder, the sweaters come out, we start bringing the Christmas decorations out, end of year sales saturate the media, preparations, holiday parties, shopping lists, and shopping starts happening.

In traffic listening to the radio or at home watching TV, everyone will make those connections with brands that have been around since childhood, those ads that have the power of a time machine to take us back to certain memories.

It’s impossible for Guatemalans to not feel nostalgia when hearing, “A table well served, a distinguished table, is where there are B&B products…Have a merry Christmas…” Not any brand manages to transcend customers’ emotions and create that bond.

In more recent decades we see the Gallo tree and its popular tree lighting ceremony waited on by children and adults, a strategy that has been so successful, it is being replicated in other Guatemalan cities. It’s important to mention that not only consumers of their brand look forward to this event at the end of the year.

Another brand that has made their presence known is Campero, with their light show that has been branded as the Night of Wishes. I still remember when I was a child, along with my siblings, turned on some sparklers and made a wish. Now as an adult, I anxiously wait for that night to spend with my family and make a wish, turning it into a Christmas tradition.

Brands have tapped into that market where consumers are looking for reasons to bond for the season, for harmony, family, and friends. And you can see hundreds of children, accompanied by their parents, trying to make it into the Caña Real sugar recording.

I still miss the Paiz parade, where I first saw Barbie, and where boys got to say “by the power of Greyskull” next to the Lords of the Universe and the famous He-Man. It was a day where it didn’t matter how long you stood outside waiting to find a good spot so you could see your favorite characters walk by.

Every country has its own brands that recreate good moments in every family. Internationally, we have Coca Cola, whose history intertwines with Santa Claus, as we’ve seen in hundreds of ads. This mythical character, how we’ve seen him on screen, came about in 1931, as an ad for the company, drawn by Haddon Sundblom. The objective was to create a character in between symbolic and real that made children dream.

Coca Cola’s competitor, Pepsi, has not stayed far behind in transmitting messages of bonding with family or friends, as seen in that 2014 ad where the youngest child in a family, who hasn’t been home in years, makes it home for Christmas with his siblings…The best moments are at home.

That is how brands transcend our lives and make us relive our childhood as we walk through grocery store aisles. We look for Egg Nog products to complete the experience of toasting with our family to be able to say good bye to 2015 and welcome the new year.

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