Cannes Lions

The Sense of Cocoa

LLYC, Madrid / BBVA / 2019


2 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
Presentation Image
Supporting Images






Inspired by BBVA’s corporate mission of “Creating Opportunities” and as part of the bank’s strategic sponsorship alliance with the Roca brothers (the chefs at the helm of the restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, which has three Michelin stars), BBVA challenged us to develop an emblematic idea capable of shaping their brand mission while raising awareness about an ignored issue.

The aim was to develop emblematic content that would enable the financial institution to continue connecting with its stakeholders throughout the world, that was aligned with the “Creating Opportunities” concept and that made it possible to create something real, exciting and unique through the collaboration between El Celler de Can Roca and BBVA.

The project had to combine BBVA’s technology, innovation and way of thinking big, with the culinary excellence and creativity of the Roca brothers, specifically with the World’s Best Pastry Chef, Jordi Roca.


Nearly 17% of the population is affected by permanent alterations in taste. 17% is equivalent to 1.27 billion people.

The absence of social awareness about these ailments causes a feeling of isolation, depression and a lack of understanding, resulting in major life changes. Very few people understand this until they experience it.

As part of the “Creating Opportunities” initiative, BBVA and Jordi Roca (the World’s Best Pastry Chef) have created EL SENTIDO DEL CACAO (The Sense of Cocoa), the first experience aimed at making it possible for a group of people with alterations in taste to once again savor something as important as chocolate, at least for a moment.

The project, embodied in a 20-minute brand film, is about a groundbreaking research initiative based on key aspects of neuroscience and sensory management to develop the first non-invasive sensory stimulation method that uses memories to restore a “lost” sense.


The project’s main insight is simple: We are all familiar with the terms that describe people who cannot see or hear, but how do we refer to people who are unable to taste?

Based on this idea, the fundamental goal has been to share the creation of a groundbreaking initiative that aims to raise awareness about taste disorders (an entire range of pathologies that affect millions of people around the world), always aligned with BBVA’s ‘Creating opportunities’ purpose and transmiting its disruptive spirit.

To reach the target audience of this financial institution that primarily operates in Europe, the United States and LATAM, a short documentary titled El sentido del cacao (The Sense of Cocoa) was created. Starring BBVA ambassador chef Jordi Roca, the objective was to create a piece to narrate the whole research and development of the neutogastronomic project process; an entertainment format and an attractive content that allows


Ten months of neuroscientific and sensory research concluded with an activation to restore, using a personalized experience for each participant, the sense of taste.

Everything was covered in the documentary, released as film instead of as a traditional advertising campaign. Since the premiere took place at one of Madrid’s most important movie theaters, there was much talk by media and consumers about the initiative, making it the viral news topic in Spain.

That day also marked the launch of the project’s website, which contained in-depth information about the research along with the design of the immersive experiential cube/space.

Additionally, by creating a pack of solidarity bonbons inspired by each of the alterations in taste of the participants, the general public was able to feel what people with these disorders go through on a daily basis.

The project was developed together with public scientific institutions, increased the initiative’s visibility and credibility.


In Spain, the news was covered in 30 of BBVA’s tier1 media, including the nation’s five most watched TV channels.

Globally, the story was covered in more than 30 countries (f. e. TheTimes, TheNewYorkTimes, O Globo, El Comercio or AlJazeera)

At the core of the project lies an issue that few people are aware of, so it does not receive the necessary attention. The documentary became a symbol for everyone with this disorder.

Thousands of comments on social media thanked BBVA and Jordi Roca for making this project possible.

More than 30 letters to Celler de Can Roca from people with this ailment to express their appreciation: “You cannot imagine what this project has meant to me. Thanks to you, whenever I feel like crying because I am unable to taste, I will smile instead.”

The bonbons ran out in less than 48 hours.

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