Anvers Chocolates and Bondi Chai Latte have been linked in business for more than a decade, but the relationship goes back much farther than that and with roots much deeper than simple commerce.
In fact, the company’s founders, Igor Van Gerwen and Martin Buggy go all the way back to 1986 when, as a then journo, Martin wrote about a young Belgian migrant chocolatier launching a new business in the small Tasmanian town of Railton.
Their paths crossed again many times over the next two decades as Igor continued his epic journey and Martin developed a variety of businesses that culminated with the launch of Bondi Chai Latte in 2005.
Both businesses have since grown to international prominence, won numerous awards along the way and share the same foundational principles of creating products of the highest possible quality with the best possible value that make people happy.
Bondi Chai is these days served in thousands of cafes around Australia (and in many other countries, including Belgium!) but among the first cafes to serve Bondi Chai was Igor’s now globally-famous House of Anvers, in Latrobe, Tasmania.
Martin says lots of café owners weren’t prepared to take the leap of faith that was needed to offer a drink that neither they nor their customers knew anything about.
“In those early days, we were always so grateful when we found someone who would give Bondi Chai a try – and Igor didn’t hesitate when we asked him. He even went one step further and created a new Bondi Chai fudge. We couldn’t believe how good it tasted.”
The campaign sees individual Bondi Chai fans – whether cafe owners, consumers or business partners – pictured on the front of every pack of Bondi Chai with a QR code on the back of the pack linked to a web page that features a little of their story.
“So far, we’ve had people from all over Australia pictured on the packs. And will be others from overseas will start to filter through as the campaign continues,” Martin says.
“We couldn’t be happier with the way this campaign has come together and the great response its generated.”
The innovative campaign has also attracted national industry acclaim, recently earning a prestigious 2023 Australian Business Award for Marketing Excellence.
“Besides the obvious benefits of creating some very appealing packaging and helping to strengthen and grow the Bondi Chai ‘community’, this campaign has been a great way of saying thank you to the people, like Igor, to whom we owe so much,” Martin says.