OWNER The Heineken Group (Netherlands)
Main: “Start the conversation” (from Lingala, “Fongola Masolo”)
Secondary: “Our Time” (from Lingala “Tango na biso”)
Secondary: “Our Beer” (from Lingala “Biere na biso”)
This advert is placed on the side of Avenue Raymond Paillet, one of the main roads in Pointe Noire, Congo’s second largest city and economic hub. The artery serves as a gateway to the city for the traffic originating from northern suburbs and most importantly from Brazzaville, Congo’s capital.
The beer Primus is the most popular beer in the Republic of Congo (also called Congo Brazzaville) as well as in the neighbouring DRC (“Congo Kinshasa”). Originally produced in Belgium, the former colonial power in DRC (former Belgian Congo), owned by the giant brewer Heineken, it entered the country in 1923 and has been the market leader ever since. The Heineken Group is one of the very few companies that have survived and prospered in the country across eras from the Belgian Congo to Zaïre to DRC.
This explains that the labelling of the beer bears the blue, yellow, red colours of the flag of both the Belgian Congo and today’s DRC.
Heineken dominates Congo Brazzaville’s beer market via Brasco, a joint venture, which represents fourteen brands (among which Primus, Heineken, Coca Cola, Guinness, Sprite, etc.). Forecasting a growth rate of 8.3% in 2014-17, Heineken regards Congo as the second best performing beer market in Africa.
Primus aims at remaining the beer for the masses, for every moment in the day. It did an impressive job at micro-mapping the landscape and deploying an extraordinary distribution network throughout the country: in the heart of working class neighbourhoods, along railroads, at the foot of office buildings, in almost every artery, even in the most remote places, in un-named streets and quarters, bars are wrapped up from facades, ashtrays to chairs and tables in Primus’s colours. Each of the tens of thousands of bars – legal and clandestine, permanent or just-for-the-day – offers Primus.
So the message in this billboard is essentially that Primus owned, owns and will own space and time in Congo. I’s the people’s champion. It’s a timeless leadership. The saturation of the blue, yellow and red colours throughout the picture reflects this discourse: from the chairs, tables, the characters’ clothes and skin to the backdrop, the setting, the lights, the lettering, everything is Primus.