as a weekly practice I listen to npr and do a little sketch on one of the stories. take a look, you can click on the illustration to make it bigger!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Taste Test: Obama Soda A Hit With French Teens
The election of Barack Obama has inspired one French entrepreneur to create a new soft drink. The maker of Obama Soda says he hopes his beverage, and its namesake, will inspire young people living in some of France's grimmest housing projects by giving them a little taste of the American dream.
La Courneuve is a working-class suburb only 5 miles from the center of Paris, but it seems a different world from the glittering City of Light. In the drab housing projects — or cites, as they are called here — rows of gray cinder block apartments dominate the landscape. It is here that 31-year-old Jean-Jacques Attisso has decided to base his advertising business. Attisso grew up in a nearby housing project; like most young people here, his parents were immigrants from Africa. The energetic entrepreneur says one of the biggest problems in La Courneuve is the apathy and hopelessness among young people.
"There is like a gap between this area and Paris," says Attisso. "And for me, it's really important to be here and to try to give a positive message."
Attisso gives back to the community by mentoring young people in his spare time. He says President-elect Obama has inspired young people like nobody else. That, and the fact that one of his clients is a can manufacturer, gave him the idea to create Obama Soda. The drink comes in a red and blue can featuring Obama's photo and the slogan "Yes We Can." It's the perfect tool to get young people to listen to his message, says Attisso — even if the success story is from another country.
"They know that Barack Obama is American, and here in France, the situation is a bit different," says Attisso. "But still, if someone is able to do that in the biggest country in the world, why not? It could happen in other countries."
-excerpt from NPR