LATIN AMERICA: LATIN LOVES - Ramiro Agulla argues that Latin America's growing pains can offer a creative benefit

Latin America faces growing pains, some shared with the rest of the

world and some unique to itself. Despite these problems, it has enormous

potential.



To start with, Latin America has grown up politically. Let's not forget

that government systems have only recently changed in almost every

country in the region from military dictatorships to democracies.



For Argentina, 1999 was an historic year as, for the first time, we

successfully made the transition from our second to our third

democratically elected president. Chile has a new democracy, as does

Uruguay and Paraguay. Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia are slowly

learning to live with the many advantages and disadvantages of new

government systems.



Latin America is passing through a traumatic economic growth process

similar to its political one, and in the end, it will succeed.



The volatility of past governments has generated real economic and

financial earthquakes. At the same time it provided a great "business

school" education, producing leaders now sitting at the top of companies

and ad agencies who are ready for anything and every business

challenge.



The region has the great creativity needed to develop solutions with the

same speed as the problems it must solve. This is why the most absurd,

unexpected, bravest and brightest ideas frequently come from this unruly

part of the world.



Latin America has something to say to the world and is doing so in its

own language. The popularity of the Spanish language, from the famous

"Hasta la vista, baby" of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2 until

today, has grown remarkably. This is also true of the Latin influence in

music, food, movies, fashion, architecture and the internet.



Of course, the advertising industry is part of this phenomenon, and this

is why many of the freshest and most innovative strategies and ideas

that we see at international advertising festivals have been created in

Latin America.



Agulla & Baccetti came close to winning the Grand Prix at the

International Advertsing Festival in Cannes in 1999 with the TV

commercial "getuppa" for Renault. However, it was pipped to the post by

"litany" for The Independent, created by our sister agency Lowe Lintas

London.



Agulla & Baccetti won two gold Lions at this year's Cannes Festival, one

for the commercial "yawn" for Telecom Argentina. These are some of my

best examples of creativity in Latin America - damn vanity!



However, other examples are more than plentiful. The graphic campaign

"stairs" for Nike from J. Walter Thompson Mexico; the TV commercial

"boy" for Sealy mattresses from Leo Burnett Mexico; from Brazil we have

the TV commercial "fabrica" for Skol Beer from F/Nazca Saatchi &

Saatchi; "Beckham" for Pepsi from Almap BBDO, and the graphic campaign

for SOS Mata Atlantica, again from F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi. From

Colombia the commercial "slap" for DirecTV from Leo Burnett; from

Uruguay the graphic campaign "hands" for Volkswagen from DDB Uruguay.

From Venezuela there is the "car" commercial for Audiovox from my

friends at Lowe Lintas Concept.



I could go on, but I don't like lists. There is a lot of talent here and

the best part is that we are overcoming our inferiority complex. We no

longer want to copy the style and ideas from the Anglo-Saxon world.



We don't do it particularly well and it no longer surprises clients or

consumers.



We are finally starting to find our own identity to communicate the

brand benefits of our clients. This identity is fresh, unprejudiced and

original, and that is why it is winning so many awards.



Latin America will stabilise its democratic institutions as it has

stabilised its economy.



The advertising environment in many Latin American countries is

bubbling, as it was in the 70s and 80s for London and the US. Latin

America is a window of fresh air that opens to a world tired of itself

and stifling.



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