An Inca family and the fizzy sugar beverage

Floating somewhere between blasphemy and kitsch, there’s recently appeared on Peru’s airwaves a gloriously goofy TV ad campaign for Sabor de Oro that strikes gold.

Mind you, this is not an endorsement for the florescent yellow Oro cola, which for years has waged an uphill battle for market share in Peru’s Inca Kola-dominated landscape. It’s just that these commercials are a riot.

The aim of this Oro ad campaign is clearly to claim a piece of Peruvians’ “Inca” consumer identity.

The campaign was the brainchild of Ad agency Circus and Lima-based production company Tunche Films. Their postmodern marketing plays footsie with iconic Inca symbols and Quechua language, superimposed on modern family life in “Golden Moments”:

  • The little boy who builds a Machu Picchu sandcastle during the family vacation
  • The Inca dad who farcically has the great idea turning a fierce Andean puma into the children’s docile pet
  • The Chaski delivery boy at the door in 30 minutes or less with a “12-Angle Pizza,” an order of garlic bread and, “Oh, I almost forgot, the 3.3 mega-liter bottle of Sabor de Oro soda.”

Sabor de Oro has been made since the 1980s by the Añaños family, from Ayacucho in Peru southern Andes. It is quite unbelievably sweeter than Inca Kola, which since the 1930s has trumpeted itself as “El Sabor del Peru” (the taste of Peru).

You might have a hard time finding Oro. It’s not sold everywhere. (In fact, I couldn’t find it in a single store around the Plaza de Armas this afternoon.) In contrast, most holidaymakers who come to Peru will have no trouble encountering Inca Kola. It is ubiquitous.

That’s why it has earned a “rite of passage” status for most tourists.

Lightly carbonated, and brimming with sugar and caffeine, Inca Kola has a unique taste. It owes its flavor to the herb Yerba Luisa (AKA: lemon grass), and is described as “light and fruity” by those who love it, and “liquid Bazooka bubble gum” by those who don’t.

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Authored by: Rick Vecchio

Rick Vecchio, Fertur’s director of development and marketing, was educated at the New School for Social Research and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He worked for Pacifica Radio WBAI and as a daily reporter for newspapers in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. Then in 1996, he decided it was time to realize a life-long dream of traveling to Peru. He never went back. While serving as Peru country manager for the South American Explorers from 1997-1999, he fell in love with Fertur's founder, Siduith Ferrer, and they married. Over the next six years, he worked as a correspondent for The Associated Press. Meanwhile, Siduith built the business, which he joined in January 2007. Now he designs custom educational and adventure tour packages for corporate and institutional clients, oversees Fertur’s Internet platform and occasionally leads special trips, always with an eye open for a good story to write about.

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