LATIN AMERICA: CREATIVE RICHES - Latin America has a rich heritage of fresh ideas. The creative directors from two Brazilian agencies describe how the region is once more taking on the world

MARCELLO SERPA, the co-chief executive and creative director of Almap BBDO, Brazil

Despite Latin America not being rich in a financial sense, it has the intellectual resource to provide the world with fresh ideas. The agencies in Brazil and Argentina which are able to survive their countries' economic crisis at the moment are the ones which can produce work for an international market.

There is good work coming from Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, and from Chile too, although this tends to be print rather than TV work. Almap BBDO has been producing international work for the past three or four years. We have just produced some work for Audi which will be shown in Europe and Asia.

We have a very developed ad industry in Brazil, but we don't have the budgets from England or the US. The most difficult part is being able to use global resources in filming and production. It would be fantastic if we could actually develop commercials in Brazil using UK and US directors.

In terms of outstanding creative work from the region, there is some excellent work from Agulla & Baccetti for Telecom Bostezo, and the work coming out of our agency for Pepsi is also winning lots of awards.

GENE JOHNSON, the executive vice-president, regional creative director for Salles D'Arcy based in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Latin America has long been a fertile ground of creative thinking. The region is rich in the history and culture of art. Yet for many years, this creative heritage seemed to fall behind "world standards". Of course, this wasn't really true. For many years, the world's attention on the art (and the art of advertising) of North America and Europe eclipsed Latin American creativity. Much of this misperception was due to the economic and political status of the region. Poverty and buying power contributed greatly to the absence of art - and advertising - in the public eye. The economic environment, poverty and lack of visual selling power engulfed the world's attention, and further encouraged the perception of "Third Worldism".

But things are changing. Over the past few years, a new wave of directors and art directors have emerged. Mexican directors surface at international film festivals; Brazilian directors vie for Oscars and art direction in Latin America is some of the most interesting and impactful in the world.

Today's advertising agencies in Latin America have jumped on the cutting edge of today's technology. The use of computers has created polished and refined art direction in every corner of our region.

And the "best work is familiar to you. You've seen it at all the international advertising festivals, so to point out specifics is only to remind you once again of what you've already seen at Cannes, where the agency of the year for the past four years has been a Brazilian agency.

Today, Brazil holds the heritage of "Pride-in-Advertising", but every other country throughout the region is catching up. The electricity and healthy competition is spreading like a creative wildfire. Today's Latin creatives have the kind of energy, enthusiasm, adventure, passion and drive that was evident 30 years ago at Doyle Dane Bernbach, when Bernbach, Kuperman, Gage, Krone, Levinson and the gang fought with each other, vying for awards and attention.

There is a new generation of young creatives who, thanks to technology and mass media, are completely exposed to the world.

The "good old days are happening here and now today in Latin America.


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