The World: Insider's View - South America

South America contains a diverse hotchpotch of cultures that spawn surprising, iconic advertising ideas, Hernan Ponce says.

Talking about South America as a homogenous continent seems a rather hard task. I believe that not even the British genius would choose the same adjective to define, for instance, the advertising in Italy and France.

Likewise, Brazil and Argentina are different (not only in language) and neither of them have much in common with Mexico, Chile, Uruguay or Colombia.

I would also venture to say that not even the freshness so much talked about in other latitudes when referring to SOAM (South America ... sounds cool, doesn't it?) is our exclusive property. At one time, this used to refer to the Scandinavians, the Dutch and even the Australians. Today, we share it with the Thais and Belgians.

What we definitely do in South America is create advertising that surprises.

We don't really know why, but it does surprise. My theory, looking back on history, is based on the fact that, much to my astonishment, I discovered we were good even in the times when we were bad.

A T-shirt with the image of Che Guevara (a real icon) sells undoubtedly better than one with the image of Churchill. Evita had her own musical in Broadway and also a film directed by Alan Parker - I do not remember many first ladies with such a CV. Cafe de Colombia has changed from being a generic to becoming a brand - a status that Danish milk, Spanish olives and French grapes have not yet achieved .

Without a doubt, we do have something. It is not money but ideas. And these ideas are now beginning to change the untrue prejudice about Latinos.

It is not easy. Probably, the geniality and intelligence of the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs has, out of the blue, taken over our brains and is mixing with (or fighting off) the poor European culture that forged this beautiful continent during the past century.

Consider that the last immigration of Spaniards, Italians, Germans, Polish and Welsh was of tireless workers fleeing war and hunger. Once settled, they devoted themselves to eating and living in peace. A couple of generations later, we are giving them back more interesting things than we received.

For example, talented creatives, important marketing managers and, above all, outstanding campaigns that can be seen in their countries, helping them to generate profitable businesses.

- Hernan Ponce is the executive creative director and co-founder of Vega Olmos Ponce.