Kikkoman masters 20

Coffee vs Gangs

Kenco has brought the harsh reality of Central American gang culture to life with a series of ground-breaking adverts.

The ‘Coffee Vs. Gangs’ programme, first aired last August, is part of the Coffee Made Happy programme from Mondelēz International. It tells the grim story of what life in Honduras is like for some young men on the brink of joining or becoming embroiled in gang warfare.

Reflecting the real-life struggles that these men face on a daily basis, through a mixture of live action and animation via the medium of tattoos, the advert finishes with the young man choosing the right path – not the wrong one as predicted – and instead of heading for a life of crime and violence he joins on the Coffee vs Gangs project.

Set up by Kenco, the project gives young people in Honduras the opportunity to train as coffee farmers – the belief being that if you care for the people who care for the bean, you get quality coffee. Kenco aims to work with people from the inner city and coffee-making communities who, as
portrayed in the advert, may be at risk of falling into crime. They equip them with the skills they need to become successful coffee entrepreneurs and forge a secure, crime-free future.

Honduras is the top coffee producer in Central America and the seventh largest in the world. It produced 3.8 million 60kg bags of coffee this season and the country has 110,000 registered coffee producers, with 92 per cent considered small producers.

Between them they generate more than 1 million jobs during the picking season – creating employment for more than 12.5 per cent of the Honduran population.

The 11-month training programme, delivered alongside FUNDES and Sogimex, is part of Coffee Made Happy, a global $200 million Mondelēz International project that aims to help 1 million coffee smallholder farmers become successful entrepreneurs. The programme already works with 16,500 farmers in Honduras.

“Mondelēz International is a big player in coffee and collectively we and our consumers – who drink about 8.6 million cups of Kenco a day – have a responsibility towards the communities that our coffee comes from.

The Coffee Vs Gangs Pilot Project will offer an end-to-end programme from lodging, to food, to business skills, following individual stories along the way and creating true brand transparency and a step towards real sustainability,” says Emad Nadim, brand manager at Kenco.

“This has been, and will continue to be, an extremely exciting and potentially lifechanging project. The advert has a completely new look and feel to what people are used to from Kenco, but it embodies the seriousness of life in Honduras. I strongly believe this Kenco ad has pushed the boundaries of coffee advertising and brand transparency, above the norm of smiling people holding steaming cups of coffee.”

You can follow the stories of all involved in this ground-breaking project at

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