It never rains but it pours. In Brazil at least. Torrential rain overnight in Sao Paulo brought traffic in the City to a standstill on the morning of Monday 12 November - the date of the annual conference of the Grupo de Planejamento.
The conference hall was massive - a full 800 places at Theatre GEO Instituto Tomie Ohtake. At 9.30am the audience was only a trickle. But by 11am every seat was taken. Such is the enthusiasm for planning, and advertising generally, in Brazil. It's a high growth market, in terms of jobs, salaries and expenditure.
It's young enough to be hungry for new learning, but established enough to have a proven track record.
There are over 3,000 agencies across the country, with strong representation in the three biggest cities of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Recife. There are 1,266 in Sao Paulo alone, and advertising is considered to be one of the creative activities of most significance to the city’s economy today. Reals 25 billion was spent in Sao Paulo state on advertising in 2011, equal to 28% of the sector’s overall figure.
According to think tank Analise Editorial* Sao Paulo takes pride in being the 7th biggest city in the world with a population of 11.2million people. It is the 10th richest in the world with a GDP of over US $ 400 billion, has a well-balanced age profile, a burgeoning middle class, and a strong consumer culture.
As Sao Paulo seeks to position itself as a global city, and a hub for business, financial services and culture, advertising has a vital role to play.
The conference theme couldn’t have been more apt for our purposes - Going Global; helping planners to be world class and compete globally from Brazil.
We were there to promote the IPA Effectiveness Awards and learning resources; and to foster new business partnerships, and opportunities for joint training and professional development for our member agencies.
After a masterful introduction by GP President Eduardo Lorenzi, head of strategy at NeogamaBBH, first up was Tim Jones, IPA Diploma Winner and planner at BBH London. He spoke eloquently through the Axe Angels case study, and explained how to develop and deliver proof of effectiveness. He made measuring return on marketing investment (ROMI) sound easy as long as you followed this three-step process: i) model ii) control iii) eliminate.
"Great work, works. Creative campaigns are more effective. The most creative clients are the most profitable," was his mantra.
Later that afternoon, Marie Oldham, IPA Effectiveness Awards 2012 convenor of Judges and chief strategy officer at MPG Media Contacts, picked up the baton. Playing to the theme of ‘Going for Gold’ she identified five emergent themes from the 2012 awards: The power of emotion and understanding human needstates in driving effectivieness, Engaging Stakeholders, TV & Digital working together, 21st Century Measurement and Creativity.
She stressed the global significance of the awards, and featured case examples Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Ta Chong Bank from Asia, as well as UK favourites John Lewis and Walkers.
The climax of her presentation was the award of a 2012 IPA Silver to the team from LewLara/TBWA for Nissan - the first ever IPA Effectiveness Award winner from Brazil - to rapturous applause.
In between these two platforms we heard Futurist Gerd Leonhard speak about SoLoMo (social, local, mobile). And 13 year old Facebook campaigner Isadora Faber talked about how she was fighting to change the Brazilian school system for the better, and coping with the ups and downs of her growing celebrity status.
On the morning after the conference we met with the planning heads of the top 12 agencies in Brazil to delve beneath the radar on the status of planning in Brazil, and discuss how the IPA could help provide tools and techniques to help the country raise its game.
"Don’t be impressed by the size of our bikinis," was the opening remark of Murilo Lico at Fischer & Friends. "Brazil is far less advanced than we like to admit."
It appears that the agency model in Brazil is very traditional. Full service is the norm, and commission on media buying provides agency income, while all other services are provided free of charge. Media efficiency seems to be the main focus of discussion about performance measurement. A bit of an idyll, you might think!
However, there is a genuine eagerness to build the credentials of planning; and demonstrate its added value, by equipping planners to ask the right questions of clients, and separate discussion about inputs from outputs and outcomes. Overall, encouraging clients to invest more in data.
The IPA argued that lack of data was a red herring. Setting an appropriate framework for measurement was the most important next step.
"If you know what you want to find out, and why, it’s much easier."
The IPA Databank recommendation to prioritise data against business, behavioural and intermediate objectives fell on open ears.
There was also strong interest in the IPA Databank finding that emotional campaigns were more profitable than rational campaigns. This quantitative evidence was very attractive to Brazilian planners.
They could see how they could use this sort of data to help encourage clients to be more adventurous in their creative approach. Getting clients onside with the effectiveness message was a priority.
The good news is that they were most receptive to helping us champion effectiveness in Brazil. They have agreed to trial the IPA Eff test qualification, and help us adapt and develop it for the wider Brazilian market. Our trade mission to Brazil in February 2013 will feature another workshop and a seminar. We plan to launch the Eff test in Brazil, under the IPA name, and in partnership with the Grupo de Planejamento, at the next annual conference, one year from now. Watch this space.
Janet Hull, marketing director, IPA
The IPA Databank represents the most rigorous and comprehensive examination of marketing communications working in the marketplace, and in the world. Over more than 30 years of the IPA’s Effectiveness Awards competition, we have collected over 1,200 examples of best practice in advertising development and results across a wide spectrum of marketing sources and expenditures. Each example contains up to 4,000 words of text and is illustrated in full by market, research, sales and profit data.
You can use the EASE search engine at www.ipa.co.uk/ease to interrogate over 1,200 detailed case studies from the IPA Databank.