The man in the cigar is Heinrich Villiger. Such a great expertise and so much love for the product "Cuban cigar" is very impressive. For the 30th anniversary of 5TH Avenue, Zigarren.Zone has produced a short film in 2019. 5TH Avenue is the official importer of Cuban cigars for Germany, Austria and Poland. Previously, there were many importers of Cuban cigars in the countries. The then distributor "Cubatabaco" dramatically reorganized the distribution. That was in 1989.
The short film ~ Crisp 12 minutes History
The short film "The Man in the Cigar" spans the years: 1970s, 1989s, 2001 and 2019. Three actors tell impressive and exciting stories about why 5TH Avenue sold luxury products by mail order before 1989, why the company decided to focus on Cuban cigars in 1989, how a new course was set in 2001 and how the company is doing in 2019. The three actors are Heinrich Villiger, Barbara Leyva de la Torre and Christoph A. Puszkar.
The first joint venture between a state-owned tobacco company from Cuba and an importer
Before the Castro Revolution, Cuban cigar brands all had their own distribution organizations. After the revolution, all cigar producers were nationalized. They were incorporated into the state-owned Cubatabaco. Cubatabaco now had the logistical problem that the brands all had different import taxes per country. Francisco Padron, the president of Cubatabaco at the time, wanted to change that. He wanted a simplification. He invited all importers from Europe to Zurich. That was around 1987.
The deal looked like this: There would be only one importer per country and Cubatabaco wanted to have a 50% stake in the company. The importers were all independent companies and rejected this idea. Heinrich Villiger was running 5TH Avenue Products at the time. This was a trading company. It sold products in the luxury segment by mail order. It was a direct marketing company. They also had cigars on sale. The goal of 5TH Avenue was to help the cigar get a better image. Because at the time, the luxury product was no longer in such demand in Germany.
Heinrich Villiger recognized the potential in Mr. Padron's idea. Since Villiger had been doing good business with Cuba for decades, he seized the opportunity. Almost the entire previous range of 5TH Avenue was liquidated. From one day to the next, so to speak, "only" Cuban cigars could be bought at 5TH Avenue; however, it was not the end consumer who could buy, but the cigar dealers.
5TH Avenue was the first joint venture company to enter into this partnership with Cuban state-owned Cubatabaco. After Heinrich Villiger took this courageous step and proved how well it worked, other importing countries gradually followed suit.
The man in the cigar - the short film and her actors
In the short film tells Heinrich Villiger impressively how all this came about. The following also have their say Barbara Leyva de la Torre and Christoph A. Puszkar.
Barbara Leyva de la Torre. Since then, the Cubans have sent their employees to work for the importers from time to time. They stayed for several years. Barbara Leyva de la Torre worked in the finance department of Cubataco at the time (later at the new distributor Habanos S.A.). She had been with 5TH Avenue briefly before and has now worked here for four years since the fall of 2018. Now she is "Commercial Manager" at 5TH Avenue and is responsible for purchasing. She has also been with Intertabak AG, the Swiss importer for Cuban cigars.
Christoph A. Puszkar. He joined 5TH Avenue Products in 2001. He already loved Cuban cigars back then. And so it was almost a hobby for him to be able to do the marketing for Cuban cigars. Today, he is the marketing manager at 5TH Avenue.
The concept of the short film
In the intro you are taken back to the 1960s. One sits, so to speak, in front of an old TV set. It is produced in black and white and the film contains image distortions; Heinrich Villiger explains in a few short sentences how the Habanos connoisseur "ticks". The sound also sounds "old".
The transition to the 1970s Years shows technology focal points; the flowing technology photos are a bit jerky on purpose. This scene was produced with a 35mm filter. The image is a bit grainy, just as the films were produced back then.
The transition to the 1989 years again shows technology focal points. The image of this scene is now clearly "sharper" and the colors are a bit "darker and a bit more saturated".
The transition to the year 2001 also shows technology focal points. The image of this scene is somewhat "softer" in colors.
The transition to 2019 shows technology highlights one last time. The image of this scene has not been edited, but shows pure Full HD exactly as it was recorded.