Tag Archives: Proud

How ‘Parasite’ caused a surge in Spanish potato chip maker’s sales

Feeling proud and grateful, Cesar Bonilla, 87, is still baffled by a surge in demand for his canned potato chips after a tin briefly appeared in the award-sweeping Korean film “Parasite,” making his small company in northwestern Spain hire more staff.

“I’d say to him (film director Bong Joon-ho) a thousand thanks for being on target. I have tears in my eyes when I think about it,” he told Reuters after watching a clip from the dark comedy where the encroaching Kim family feasts on food and drink at the house of their rich employers in their absence.

“It was a mystery how this movie showed this can of Bonilla a La Vista, made with so much affection and hope, and then the movie got so distinguished. My hope has been fulfilled,” he said.

“Parasite” became the first non-English-language film to win an Oscar in the Best Picture category on Feb. 9, also snapping up the Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film awards. Last year, it became the first South Korean film to win the Palme d’Or in Cannes.

“Now that we are selling a lot with all this impact, we hired people because we have no choice,” said Bonilla.

His family-run company’s online sales in Spain surged 150% and distributors have been increasing orders at home and abroad. It has hired four more staff, adding to around 100 employees.

Cesar Bonilla points to a can of Bonilla a La Vista potato chips in a clip from director Bong Joon-ho's Oscar-winning film
Cesar Bonilla points to a can of Bonilla a La Vista potato chips in a clip from director Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning film “Parasite” inside his factory in Spain.Reuters

It makes 540 tons of crisps annually, exporting 60 tons to 20 countries. South Korea, where the crisps had been popular with high-end consumers long before the movie’s release, accounts for the bulk of the exports, or around 40 tons.

Cesar’s father, Salvador, started the company in 1932 selling from a market stand. A former navy sailor, he modeled the company’s name on his standard reply to a duty officer: “Bonilla here! (Bonilla a la Vista)”

Cesar started delivering the product, fried and canned by his mother and wife, on a motorbike in 1950 and later decided to open a proper factory, sticking to tins as his main trademark packaging because it preserved flavor so well.

He said he had left a tin of crisps in his boat one summer and when he returned sometime later and opened the can, the crisps were in good condition.

“I opened it, they were perfect. And I thought, I need to do this and pack cans,” he said.

Clients and friends alerted the company after seeing their distinctive large can on screen.

“We never thought we could get this far with a can of crisps … It moves me a lot, as it should move anyone knowing that you are making something that gets so much acceptance. Makes me proud,” Bonilla said.

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