Juan Valdez is like their Uncle Sam
Thanks to an ingenious marketing plan started in the '50s, most people's association with Colombian coffee is a mustache-wearing farmer alongside a donkey under a mountain backdrop. The iconography helped brand Colombian coffee to the entire world, and although it may seem a bit politically incorrect to American eyes these days, it's an image of pride and national identity on the level of Uncle Sam.
One of the things that makes Juan Valdez unique compared to American brand icons like Ronald McDonald and Betty Crocker is that he's portrayed by one specific actor. They're on their 3rd Juan in 57 years, each of which has been an actual farmer that tours internationally posing for thousands of photo opportunities a year and serving as an ambassador for Colombian coffee around the world.
In addition to the farmer, the more scientific side of the coffee industry is also presented by an actor who goes by the name of Professor Yarumo and hosts educational coffee broadcasts on TV and radio.
Juan Valdez Cafes are incredibly popular
From airports to malls to busy street corners, nearly everywhere you turn in Bogota there's a Juan Valdez-branded coffee shop. Some locations just offer the basics, while other shops have a variety of fancy preparations like pour-overs or syphons, as well as barista-guided tasting sessions. The cafe chain has also expanded to 13 countries, including shops in Miami and New York City, and isn't stopping anytime soon.