How a sentenced to death criminal advertised cocoa

The first Europeans to visit America at the turn of the XV-XVI centuries. noted the special respect of the local population for coca beans. If, for example, the fruit fell to the ground, it was immediately lifted and carefully put in place. A bitter drink called chocolatl was made from cocoa. Europeans were not delighted with the taste of chocolatl, but noted its invigorating properties. After such a drink, a person could do without food for a day, remaining full of strength and energy.

It was the nutritional properties of cocoa that caused it to be included in the rations of soldiers of the Spanish army as early as the 16th century. At the behest of the Spanish king, the recipe for the drink was kept in strict secrecy, and the death penalty was imposed for disclosure. According to the documents, about 80 people who could not keep their mouths shut were beheaded.

But, as you know, everything secret, as you know, someday becomes clear, therefore, in the 18th century, cocoa turns from a drink available only to a narrow circle of the aristocracy and the army, into a popular dessert, which everyone who had the means to purchase could try.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Dutchman Konrad Van Gutten, who in 1828 invented a press that turns roasted cocoa beans into powder, became the real "chocolate magnate" in Europe. However, the invention itself was not enough for a successful business: it was also required to accustom the population of European countries to the regular use of cocoa. At that time, tea and coffee were much more popular in the countries of the Old World.

Van Gutten decided that all means were good for promoting his product. The entrepreneur personally lectured on the benefits of cocoa for the human body. He assured that doctors have established the fact that the drink is simply irreplaceable for everyone who wants to have good health: it improves eyesight, strengthens teeth and even promotes rapid hair growth.

Well, for children, according to Van Gutten, there is simply no better drink. Caring parents who care about the health of their children are simply obliged to give up tea, juices and other "harmful" drinks for their children in favor of cocoa. Van Gutten did not skimp on advertising, many newspapers and magazines of that time were decorated with images of children, full of strength and health, thanks to the regular use of cocoa.

But this was not enough for Van Gutten, there were also a lot of advertisements for other products, therefore, in order to stand out from her "gray mass", an extraordinary move was needed. Such that the whole world would start talking about cocoa in one day. And such a publicity stunt was found. True, he delighted some with his eccentricity, others shocked.

In 1865, in one of the prisons in Amsterdam, a prisoner sentenced to death languished in anticipation of his inevitable fate. Van Gutten's agents approached him and offered an unusual deal that would make their company extremely popular, and the family of the executed would receive a substantial sum of money.

Before the execution, the criminal, unexpectedly for a large crowd of spectators, shouted his last words in his life: "Drink Van Gutten's cocoa!" The heirs of the criminal, indeed, soon received the agreed amount, and the whole of Holland was discussing such an unusual method of advertising, some admired the businessman's resourcefulness, others called him a monster. But one fact was undeniable: sales of Van Gutten's cocoa increased dramatically.