World: Insider's View - Argentina

Argentine creative is among the best in the world because, in a country wracked by economic and political crises, only the future holds appeal, Dylan Williams writes.

For the past 23 years, I have worked closely with the creative community in Latin America. In my time there, I have asked myself the same question time and again: "Why does Argentine creative adapt to different cultures and countries in a way that is unique to the region?"

For an initial insight, it is worth looking at the many social and economic crises to hit Argentina over the past 20 years. The latest, which ended in 2003, took adspend in the country from $3.9 billion in 1998 to $2 billion in 2002. Naturally, this hit the workforce hard. Unemployment in Argentina was 15 per cent. A middleweight creative was earning just $3,000 per month.

It's not surprising that the talent fled to the US (mainly Miami) and Europe (mainly Spain), adapting to their new environments and using their skills to upscale the creative product in local markets.

But this doesn't explain why Argentine talent travels so well. Why is it that the ad business in Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and Ecuador is so different from Argentina? I think the reason today's Argentine creative talent adapts to any market and does such excellent work is because they have very little history and a mixed cultural background.

The immigrant heritage and economic crises encourage Argentines to look forward. The future, of course, is an opportunity to do better in life, to learn and to make a living. In many ways, this differs from other Latin American markets, which have strong ties to the past.

International advertising festivals reflect this trend, showing Argentine creative talent among the top ten in the world, certainly above the rest of the Latin American talent, with the exception of Brazil.

During the 2001 crisis, Argentina went through five presidents in one week. The market stopped and one of our clients, Coca-Cola, went off air for ten weeks, along with all the other major brands. We came up with an idea based on the relationship between the consumer and the brand - that we stood together in good times and bad.

"Para todos" ("for everyone") has run in more than 80 markets around the world. It's simple, it's straight-talking and it reflects the simplicity of what Coke is today and its relationship with the world. An Argentine team came up with this big idea for a local but global problem. It paid off.

- Dylan Williams is the chief executive of Red Cell Argentina.

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