Monday, June 12, 2006

Topo Chico

The Mexican team, El Tri, won its first FIFA match yesterday in Nuremberg, with terrific play that outscored Iran 3-1. I had a talisman for its victory.

I was holding a bottle cap I found during my Sunday AM walk, from a bottle of Mexican mineral water. It has the classic Topo Chico logo, red with white “snow” on top, on a yellow background. Even as I picked it up, I could visual the classic Mexican bottle, that heavy greenish glass so much like an old-style Coca-Cola bottle.

Like a lot of brands that have spread north of the Rio Grande, Topo Chico soft drinks are a familiar and colorful sight in grocery stores here, and wherever there’s a large Hispanic population. In addition to agua mineral, the brand offers flavors you don’t see in US pops – pineapple, tamarind (one of my faves) and grapefruit.

The company’s story is a classic one too, and you can read all about it here – in Spanish or English. I’m particularly fond of the “Legend of Topo Chico,” which involves your basic Indian (in this case, Aztec) princess in search of curative waters, which she found springing forth from a hill shaped like a mole (topo in Spanish, according to the website)…a mole hill.

Quite how the originators of the brand got from the mole hill to the brand name (mole + boy, or “small, awkward person” according to Babel Fish) is beyond me. Maybe somebody will tip me to the secret.

More important, though, is juxtaposing the concept of the little guy with the appeal of Mexico’s big win on Sunday. It’s a great story. I hope that the Topo Chico bottlers will consider a tie-in with Mexican football next year. Buy a bottle for yourself next time you’re at the store. Viva Tricolores!

Photo courtesy of

1 comment:

Richard Laurence Baron said...

After taunting my Czech colleagues about the US-Czech match on Monday...and the US having lost badly...I have had a terribly cynical thought. Since FIFA football doesn't seem to be something Americans want to do, perhaps we should have asked El Tri to do our matches for us.

I'm having my slice of humble pie with Graham, Ales, Oliver - and the whole Rust2 gang in Prague.