The World: Insider's view - Argentina

The creativity of Argentinians, and their voracity for good commercials, is the main reason behind the country's award-winning advertising, Pablo Del Campo writes.

Argentina is considered by the official advertising rankings to be one of the five most creative countries in the world. And this position is improving annually. At the last Cannes Festival, around ten agencies triumphed. Considering the size of our market, this is absolutely crazy.

There are many reasons for this success. Among other things, it is because there has been good advertising in this market for more than 50 years. But it is mostly because, in Argentina, people enjoy advertising.

TV ads are a part of Argentina's culture, and for many years, people have expected agencies and brands to give them good work: commercials that make them cry as if they were watching Schindler's List, laugh as if they were watching an episode of The Simpsons or think as if they were watching a programme on The Discovery Channel. And all this in 60 seconds or less.

During our frequent economic crises, people resign themselves to losing many things, but not good advertising. What's more, they demand much more from a TV ad than from a programme.

Just like football in countries such as Brazil or the UK, people talk about advertising in bars, clubs and taxis, among other places.

Advertising is a regular theme of conversation. The other day, watching Big Brother (sorry, I tend to do that), participants discussed ads for more than one hour (yes, I went through the whole hour!). They argued over which spot was better, whether it was the mobile phone one, the one for the leading car company or the new one for a particular brand of beer. Then they compared the latest beer ad with the one from last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, going back almost ten years in the brand's communication.

During a focus group, I listened while women talked about the three laundry ad alternatives. At first, they discussed which one was their favourite, but then they went on to discuss (again) the beer ad. By the time they had finished, they had concluded that the laundry ad was not as creative as the beer commercial (I can't even remember if they were comparing it with the last beer ad or the one aired ten years ago).

What those women were really saying is that they consider good advertising a must. I work for many markets, and this is highly unusual.

In Argentina, the scenario is always changing. Risks, social and economic crises, and ups and downs are commonplace. Yet all of us try to be always alert and act in a creative way. Everybody has creative training.

And ordinary people are the creative agency's strongest allies. Maybe the reason why this happens is because, working in advertising or not, you must be creative to survive in Argentina.

- Pablo Del Campo is the chief executive of Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi in Buenos Aires.

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