Latin America faces growing pains, some shared with the rest of the
world and some unique to itself. Despite these problems, it has enormous
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
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
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
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
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
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