05 December 2008

Pop Culture 003 - Pancho Pantera

On the 29th of May of this year I posted an item to this blog entitled "Chocomíl de Fresas" which involved the use of a product named “Choco-Milk”. In 1928 the Proctor & Gamble Company (of Mexico) developed the first milk modifier to add supplemental vitamins and minerals to milk for Mexican children. The supplement came in the form of chocolate powder and the result was the product was called “Choco-Milk”. However, the Mexican people find it awkward to pronounce the letter “k” in the word “milk” and so they just don’t bother. “Choco-Milk” is pronounced “choko-MEEL” and is written everywhere except on the Choco-Milk package as “chocomíl”. An animated character named Pancho Pantera was created in the 1950's to promote nutritional needs and awareness and to advertise Choco Milk. Over the years Pancho Pantera has evolved from a simple country boy in a straw hat to a sporty modern youth. The word "pantera" means "panther" and you can see the emblem of a black panther on Pancho Pantera's chest. Sometime you may hear someone refer to Pancho Pantera and before now you would have wondered what that was all about but...now you know.






15 comments:

glorv1 said...

Yo quero CHOCO MIL (I left the k out) I think I may remember my step-mom saying something about this choco. Where do you get all your info? Wow, that is pretty interesting and does bring homey like memories. My step-mom always said, "Ay, que rico es." She was looking over at my dad when she said that, so I don't know. :) Have a great evening and thanks for your nice posts on my blog. Take care and have a great weekend.

YayaOrchid said...

Wow! You do cover all the bases of Mexican culture don't you? I clearly remember those choco milk commercials when I was little on visits to Mexico. Yes, I too would love to know how you get so much info on just about everything! I bow to the master of information!! Great job Bob!

YayaOrchid said...

Hey, you know what? I just realized you delivered on your promise of 'one hot chocolate coming right up'...LOL!

American Mommy in Mexico said...

I brought Ovaltine back from USA to Mexico a few weeks ago for the kids. Same concept but USA approach.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why P&G didn't name it Choco leche....I guess it's like General Motors "Nova" that they tagged to sell in Latin America.
I enjoy your blog, thank you for the insights.
Francisco

Bob Mrotek said...

Gloria & Yaya,
Regarding the information...I receive mysterious coded radio messages through the fillings in my teeth. Someday when we have our bloggers convention I will tell you all about it :)

Yaya,
The chocomíl post is just a down paymnet.

AM,
You must try Choco-Milk.

Pancho,
Thanks for the positive feedback :)

'Eddie Willers' said...

Hey Bob!
When do we get Pop Culture #4 Pop-Music? I would love to read of your thoughts on Luis Miguel, Belinda, Pau-Pau-Paulina Rubio ('La Chica Dorada'), Tatiana, Selena, Alejandro Fernandez etc etc...

Anonymous said...

Joke my dad told me as a kid. It is also pretty much the only joke I have from the top of my head.

Question: Cuantos carros choco Pancho Pantera?


Reply: Choco mil

Anonymous said...

Chocolate milk is widely pronounced "chocomil", whether it is from powder, straight from the carton or by addition of liquid syrup, at least here in Monterrey. Chocomil is principally cute child inspired thing and adults more commonly call it leche con chocolate. To say it is because Mexicans in general have difficulty with the "K" sound in milk is definitely an exaggeration, though. It is culturally more akin to calling a chiquillo (little kid) "chikio", and for you English speaking folks, singing "All I want for Christmas is my two Front Teeth." Though, it has reached mainstream as chocomil, the one interesting exception in my parts is the more traditional bar of chocolate that is melted into milk. This seems always to be called "leche con chocolate" in my experience (as a Mexican living in Mexico). So a secondary reason for calling it chocolate milk in english is to distinguish it from the traditional Mexican fare (which never included chocolate milk in a carton, either). This was certainly the rationale when the product was first introduced, which emphasized the convenience of not melting chocolate bars vs. instant powder. Got to keep in mind, before instant chocolate "chocolate milk" required the boiling of milk and melting of moderately sweetened chocolate bars bought at the tienda. Nestle capitalized on this and still sells its bars under the brand name "La Abuela", which is a cultural statement as much as a sweet marketing program.

As for Pancho Pantera, he is under fire these days for overpromising nutritional claims, just like Toño el Tigre.

ELI said...

wow crazy stuff i love chocomeel lol platano with chocomeel was my moms liquado!!!

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know... I'm mexican and I don't say "chocomil", I've never do it... I find that tacky

Andrés

Anonymous said...

What happened to Choco Milk a la Canela (Cinnammon)? We have been ooking for it. the las time we got it was as a Limited Edition for the 75 Aniversary. We would like to have it back!!!!!

Anonymous said...

my mom gave me "chocomil" when i was a scrawny little mexican. Now as an adult I wiegh 240 lbs. and am 6 foot 3 inches tall and can bench 350 lbs. Is it the "chocomil" or did i just want to be like "Pancho Pantera" or maybe it was both...Either way drink "chocomil" and you be the judge.....

Anonymous said...

I've had this $500.00 poncho pantera bill for years and always wondered what it was. Thanks to the internet and people like you I now know what it is. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Those Pancho Pantera bills were called "Pancholares" They used to be found in the containers. I don't know if they were supposed to be cashed in or anything.

By the way, I am also Mexican and I always called it "Choco-Meel" and I never thought of it as "tacky". I'm not certain why a previous poster mentioned that.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.