We have heard it many times. Brazil is the land of the future. So much so that General de Gaulle used to say that, for Brazil, the future would never come ... But here it is. In a vibrant, tropical yet strangely businesslike way, Brazil is erupting into the world scene, claiming the place it deserves.
As you may know, Brazil is now the world-leading agricultural power. It leads the field in areas such as bio-fuels and many things some of us only dream about, such as "cork-rubber". And, believe it or not, it's also a world-class player in advertising and advertising-related activities.
If you are an habitue of Cannes and its outrageously expensive festival, you may have noticed that Africa has been covering the Palais des Festivals with a huge, orange canvas sporting its logo. So, what is Africa? Is it an advertising agency? Of course, most of us who have been working in advertising for most of our lives have heard of the Brazilian legend Nizan Guanaes, Africa's chief executive, the only man I know who sold his agency twice to the same buyer and still managed to be kept in his employ ... the thing is, he is talented. As are so many in this vast land, where being a publicitario can only be matched by being a footballer, which is something we all know Brazilians are very good at.
Nowhere in the world do adpeople have it so good. This, of course, is not only the product of local talent being so abundant. A few legislative tricks have also helped. For instance, if you want to place an ad in Brazil, it is mandatory that you go through an ad agency. And, if you want to place a media order, well, you must also go through an ad agency. As a matter of fact, the law also imposes that you pay your agency a whopping 20 per cent commission ... and that you have no right to deal directly with the media. A thing of the past in the country of the future, I hear you say?
Well, let me tell you this: no client in Brazil is unhappy with the talent they are getting, advertising works, namely because of its consistent quality, and the media has avoided the dreaded sapping of value by media buying giants. Therefore, the media is also doing great: TV Globo is the world largest TV producer, larger than any of its American counterparts, and Veja is one of the world's largest magazines - in a country where illiteracy is still a terrible problem.
Uncluttered airtime means TV ads deliver their messages seamlessly and creatively, ad agencies attract some of the most talented graduates and everybody gets what they are looking for: the best possible return for their money and clients who consistently rate Brazil as one of their most efficient markets.
Now, there's something from the past we would like to replicate in the future.
- Ricardo Monteiro is the chief executive of Euro RSCG Latin America.