December 27, 2008

Positive message for 2009

Here at PepsiCo Brazil, we are launching our first-ever institutional campaign under the theme PepsiCo - Creating a Tomorrow Better Than Today. It starts off next week as a print campaign in Brazil's top weekly magazines Veja, IstoÉ and Época.

The first page says 'The end of year is great to gather your Family and think about the future'.

You then turn the page and the message is 'Nice to meet you, we are the PepsiCo Family'. In Brazil, PepsiCo as a company has very little awareness. Historically we have communicated our brands but have never taken the time to tell people who we are and what we believe in. Many Brazilians will certainly be surprised to see that Pepsi®, Doritos®, Quaker®, Gatorade®, Toddy®, H2OH!®, Stax® and Coqueiro® Tuna & Sardines are all products that belong to the PepsiCo Family.

And these well-known brands to Brazilians all over the country are now unified by a common message that we are committed to creating a Tomorrow Better Than Today.

The copy says 'If it depends on us, 2009 will be a wonderful year'.

December 25, 2008

A Christmas gift to inspire me in 2009

This Christmas, my wife gave me the recently-published book Isay Weinfeld, written by Raul Barreneche, a compilation of the work of one of Brazil's most successful architects. I absolutely love architecture and in the years we lived in Connecticut, we fell in love with New England colonial homes. We lived in a dutch colonial that was built from an old barn with reclaimed wide plank flooring, old beams and a huge stone fireplace in the kitchen. We lived next to an adorable antique shop called The Red Petticoat, a place that was our initiation in early American antiques.

Now that we live in busy São Paulo, I'm getting into a more urban mode and my interest has shifted to contemporary architecture. I'm enjoying the aesthics of straight lines, the lofty feel of open spaces, and the generous use of glass that serves as an invitation to bring the outdoors in. Since we moved here, I have been attracted to Isay Weinfeld's work which can be seen in our favorite bookstore here called Livraria da Vila and in a charming local restaurant called Forneria San Paolo. The book focuses on the Architect's residential work. I was particularly happy to see that, although the houses he designs tend to be large, the book shows a specific project called Casa Cinza__ a smaller house but with the same dramatic sense of space and beautiful natural light found in his larger projects. Good news since we could never afford a large lot in the neighborhood we want.

If the perfect holiday gift is supposed to generate inspiration for the new year that is about to begin, I think my wife couldn't have chosed a more appropriate present.

Here are a few photos of Weinfeld houses featured in the book...

December 20, 2008

Have you heard of Januária?

By now, you probably know that I like cachaças and caipirinhas. A spirit that is linked in so many ways to Brazil's cultural identity and our historical connection to sugarcane. Many afficionados will say that the best cachaças are distilled in the State of Minas Gerais and the most famous brands come from a place called Salinas. However, a new town is on my cachaça watch list.  It's called Januária.

A few days ago, Alexandre Chiavegatti a friend who also loves to scout for unknown and hard-to-find brands, gave me a bottle of "Velha de Januária" (which I had never heard of). Yesterday in Brasília, I walked into a liquor store and found another brand from the same location called "Caribé". So I bought two bottles, one for Alexandre and one for my pantry. I just love collecting these little obscure brands which are pretty much distilled in the same way that was done in 17th century colonial Brazil and then aged in casks made from wood with romantic names like amburana or jequitibá rosa. It feels like, every bottle I buy, in a way is a celebration of a little piece of small town Brazil. A Brazil of open fields, dusty roads and simple people who know how to live in a slower pace.

For those curious, Januária is a little town (pop. 65,000) hidden in the northern part of Minas Gerais, 613 km from the state capital Belo Horizonte. This is what Wikipedia says about the place...
"The first explorers arrived in 1553 looking for gold. They were led by Castelhano Francisco Bruza de Espinosa and Padre João de Apicuelta Navarro. The first settlement was called Brejo do Salgado, due to the salinity of the streams and the marshes. The first sugarcane mill was set up and soon a chapel followed dedicated to Nossa Senhora do Amparo. In 1833 Brejo do Salgado became a "vila", or town and the seat was transferred to the left bank of the São Francisco River, the name being changed to Januária, in homage to Princess Januária, daughter of the Emperor Pedro I."

Mobile phones to speed up boarding process

Yesterday, I took a flight from São Paulo to Brasília and I was envious to see a few passengers using a relatively new service that allows them to use their mobile phones which are scanned at the gate for a boarding pass.  Great concept.

December 13, 2008

Change The Present this holiday season

I decided that this holiday season, I will give in a different way.  If you're feeling you can also change the way you give, click on the 'Changing The Present' banner on the side of this blog and find amazing ways in which you can do good.

December 12, 2008

Celebrating 55 Years of Quaker in Brazil

This year, Quaker® is celebrating 55 years since the brand started its Brazilian operation in Porto Alegre. Erika Salgado and Sarah Buchwitz leading Brazil's Quaker Brand Team - two of our young marketing talents - are having an awesome year. The business is growing double digit mainly driven by a strong professional marketing effort communicating the heart health benefits of oats and by a beautifully-produced TV campaign, called "Quaker The Grain of Goodness" (covered a few months ago on this blog), which is driving record sales.

To celebrate Quaker's rich heritage in this country, we're launching comemorative cans with the a vintage look on the backpanel....

The Quaker Team also produced a short video telling the brand's story which has been used to educate employees and customers on the beauty of the Quaker heritage.  The brand story is also being told through recipes. The team has compiled 55 recipes made with oats and how this special grain has influenced food culture from the 50's to today. 

Getting teens to send a message to the World

This month, we're also rolling out an ambitious project for our Ruffles® Brand - Brazil's best-selling potato chip. It's called the Ruffles "Fala Aê! Tour" (translates as 'speak up'), a bus with two studios onboard that will be touring the country inviting teens to send a 15" message to the world. The bus will be uploading these teen videos to a YouTube channel and the Ruffles website. Ambitious because our intention is to create the world's largest teen manfistation to be broadcast online.

Our brand activation agency, the Future Group, has done a great job creating a fun studio experience. Through a touchscreen monitor, teens can choose among different virtual backgrounds and also select props (like hats, sunglasses...) to get into the spirit before recording.

This summer activation is part of the brand's communication platform "Make noise, eat ruffles". For the Ruffles, 'noise' has both a product and an emotional association. Noise linked to the chip's hard bite and noise that comes from teens making their voices heard.

December 7, 2008

Toddy summer activation with a touch of 'pimp my ride'

A while back on this blog we talked about one of the brands we have in our portfolio in Brazil called Toddy® - Brazil's iconic chocolate milk powder. The brand has been tremendously successful over the past years with a campaign that uses irreverent cows sparking a strong connection with Brazilian millenials. Because the consumption of chocolate milk is predominantly in the breakfast occasion, we decided we needed some creative thinking to take the brand beyond the kitchen table.

How could we expand the brand experience to cool places where our teen target hangs out in a way that was relevant and engaging?

The answer has been the Toddy Shake Tour, a mobile unit we have been testing throughout the year where consumers can experience the product in a variety of amazing shakes. For the upcoming Brazilian summer season, which pretty much starts after Christmas, we're coming out with the Toddy Shake Van. Imagine a 'pimp-my-ride'-style '71 VW Van completely decked out with cool wheels, flat-screen TVs and a hydraulic ceiling that creates a mini diner with the best chocolates shakes in town. Consumers can choose chocolate shakes with a touch of coconut, with bits of cookies, passion fruit or açaí (an energetic local berry).

The concept was created by the Future Group, a São Paulo-based brand activation agency we have been using for experiential marketing in collaboration with the Toddy Brand Team led by Claudia Pires and Victoria Gabrielli.

Our Toddy Van will be touring beaches along the coast of Rio and São Paulo, throughout the summer. We will also be taking the experience to orphanages and social projects in association with local NGO's.

December 4, 2008

Fun way to motivate kids to brush

I've noticed that my two daughters are taking more time brushing their teeth ever since my wife bought them the Firefly® Toothbrush. If you haven't seen one, this is a toothbrush with a light that flashes during 60 seconds helping children develop proper brushing habits. My girls like to dim the bathroom light and see the flashing effect on the mirror.

What a great product concept and what a smart name. It's one of those simple ideas that I wish I had early in my career when I worked in the oral care category.

Another cool idea in the toothbrush world is the Volight® Toothbrush Sanitzer - a system that eliminates bacteria that thrive in the warm, moist environment of bathrooms. The sanitizer, beautifully dsigned by Philippe Stark, uses technology common in hospitals: a germicidal UV bulb to kill germs. A blue glow lets you know the sanitizer is working.

Interesting to see how both innovations use light in a smart way.

November 30, 2008

Small cars with big ideas

Since returning to Brazil two years ago, my wife and I decided to keep costs and our Family carbon emissions low so we opted to have only one car.  She drops me off at work in the morning and I catch a cab back home. It has forced me to walk more, bike more on week-ends and carpool. However, in the past few months I found myself in a few situations where I thought I needed my own transportation.  The other night, after speaking to students at a local university, I found myself walking under the rain at 11:00pm looking for a cab. 

So, this week-end I decided to go to a few dealers looking for a small car.  I test drove two fun imports:  a Mini-Cooper and Fiat's new Cinquecento, with the retro styling I love. 

I also read an interesting article about Toyota's totally new IQ - the world's smallest 4-seater.  I found this video posted on YouTube this week which reveals the six space-saving ideas that were incorporated in the design which the video says will be applied to future projects.  To make it a perfect choice, I wish it were electric. 

For someone like me living in a metropolis like Sao Paulo with tough traffic and limited parking space, these are the type of vehicles that make a lot of sense.


November 25, 2008

World's Largest Doritos making more headlines

Our World's Largest Doritos bag is making headlines around the globe. We tracked online buzz from Spain, France, Argentina, Venezuela and today I was happy to see the story make it to Advertising Age. 

Big bag... big news.

November 24, 2008

The Economist on 2009

The Economist has issued 'The World in 2009', a compilation of predictions for the year ahead. This edition carries an article from Brazil's President Lula da Silva entitled 'Building on the B in BRIC'.

Click here to read the article at

November 23, 2008

Portugal catches the Wave of the Future

Last night, the TV Globo evening news aired an interesting report on wave energy. I decided to learn more about it online. The Portuguese Government has launched, what is being called the World's first commercial-scale wave power station, off the coast of Aguçadoura near the city of Porto. The technology uses the motion of ocean waves to create power. The wave energy converters, that look like a huge snake floating in the ocean, were built by a Scottish company called Pelamis Wave Power, and are made up of connected sections that flex as the tide moves creating electricity. This innovative project is already generating electricity to approximately 1,500 families.

Portugal has had an historic connection with the sea when they led the age of exploration during the 15th and 16th centuries so I thought it was pretty cool that they are now taking the lead in wave power - what could become one of the clean energies of the future. 

I found this demo on YoutTube that explains how the technology works... 


November 22, 2008

Touchscreens showing up everywhere

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone the world became fascinated by the magic of a fingertip on the phone's screen controlling all the features. HP has done the same with its new TouchSmart family of PCs featuring software designed specifically for touch. Without using a keyboard or mouse, people can do a lot of different things like play music, access files and playlists, zoom in or out of photos or check the stock market (well nowadays maybe you don't want to do that...).

It's interesting to see how touch screen technology is showing up everywhere from check-in kiosks at airports to self-checkouts in supermarkets to digital photo processing at your local drugstore.

HP's new TouchSmart computer will certainly open a wide range of new applications. I'm guessing one of them will be providing elementary school kids with a more interactive and fun learning experience

Click below to see the demo...

November 21, 2008

New Campaign on Open Science

Du Pont has initiated a campaign here in Brazil to promote its Open Science platform. Following the footsteps of P&G and IBM, here's another example of a company embracing open innovation as a way to transform the way it brings new ideas to life. With the growth of technology and a business environment that has taken a more collaborative approach, it's fascinating to see how R&D is going through a significant change. R&D teams, which used to take a very internal approach relying on their own research capabilities, are becoming more open to developing partnerships with academic institutions, NGO's or through companies like Innocentive.

New times require new thinking.

Here's the 'Open Science' TV campaign posted on Du Pont's corporate website...

November 16, 2008

Time to learn from an online movement that has made History

Last week, I spent some time with a few members of our marketing team going over the Barak Obama for America website. We are in the middle of reviewing a prototype of a cool online collaboration project and I thought it would be instructive to learn from the Obama movement. Wow, did we get a lot of inspiring lessons. Valuable lessons on how to focus on the message in simple direct terms with no distractions, as well as how they created actionable online resources to allow everyday people to spark the movement within their local community. Brilliantly done. 

A few days later, our account executive at AlmapBBDO told me the agency is finalizing a comprehensive review of the entire campaign to share with clients and create of forum for discussion on how businesses like ours can learn from this historic movement and fine tune our communication strategies. Although the campaign is over, it's amazing to see how the Obama Movement has changed they way the market will look at the internet as a powerful force of engagement and collaboration. 

Lessons from a Cultural Movement that understood like never before, that it's all about YOU.

November 15, 2008

TV Networks adapting to the challenges of the large and small screen

Last Friday, I had lunch with two executives at Rede Globo, Brazil's largest and most influential TV network. Great conversation.  They mentioned two fascinating dynamics that are reshaping the TV business:  the large screen and the small screen.  

With high-definition and very large flat screens invading homes all over the country, the network has had to make significant investments in technology upgrades (small production imperfections are now more visible than ever).  On the other hand, because of the radical improvement in video capabilities of mobile phones, the emergence of the iPhone and the availability of a number of mobile devices designed specifically to watch TV programming and movies, a new model is emerging.  A mobile TV model that will have a major impact on how content is produced or re-edited and also have a significant impact on agencies and advertisers as we all learn how to optimize the message to fit on a small screen. With so much at stake, it's not surprising that Globo already has Brazil's most popular website offering streaming video called Globo Videos

A few ad-supported models offering streaming video of TV shows and movies are becoming mainstream, like already popular Hulu.

Similar to what happened on the internet, it will be exciting to see which marketers are first to crack the code on providing people with new and engaging experiences on the small screen. 
It's a brave new mobile world that allows content anywhere, anytime, in any pocket.

November 12, 2008

Jimmy Wales in Sao Paulo

Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to listen to Jimmy Wales, the brilliant mind behind one of the most powerful forces in user-generated content. His Wikipedia (which I can't live without), and its vision of the 'sum of all human knowledge' is a non-profit movement that mobilizes hundreds of thousands of people around the globe who collaborate to create the library for the age of knowledge. The story of the movement he has created is inspiring and perfectly aligned with a time in which people are empowered, more than ever, to create like never before.

The speech took place in São Paulo as part of the HSM Expo Management week and sponsored by Telefonica.

November 9, 2008

Tim Brown from IDEO on the power of play

This month posted on TED, a deliciously inspiring speech with Tim Brown, CEO of innovation and design firm IDEO, called "The Powerful Link Between Creativity and Play" as part of the 2008 Serious Play Conference.

He talks about how certain behaviors we have learned as kids (
exploration, building, role play) can be powerful tools in the process of creative thinking.

Click below to be inspired...

November 8, 2008

For Brazilian consumers hungry to taste the world

This month, our snacks marketing team is coming out with a repositioning for our STAX® line - potato chips in plastic tubes for convenient on-the-go consumption. We have been in the market in Brazil with STAX® since late 2006 with three basic flavors: original, sour cream & onion and cheddar cheese.  We were in search of a brand idea that could help us better differentiate ourselves, as well as, a creative platform that can allow us to better execute at the point of sale.

The new positioning is STAX® For those hungry to taste the world - taking consumers on a journey of flavors from different parts of the world. As Brazil starts playing a growing role in the global scene, young adults have a natural curiosity for what's beyond our borders. In fact, traveling is high on the dream list of our core target group. Tapping into a an amazing portfolio of authentic flavors that have been developed in other International operations, we researched and identified four flavors that resonate well with local consumers (in addition to the original flavor for those who just love a traditional potato chip).  This the new flavor line-up:

Thailand - Sweet Thai Chilli
Argentina - Barbecue
England - Sour Cream & Onion
America - Cheddar cheese

The repositioning work was led by Roberto Angelino, Carla Araujo and her marketing team Alexandre Chiavegatti and Carol Gormezano. The packaging graphics was developed by Cornerstone - a NY-based design firm that has opened a studio in São Paulo. On the back panel, you can find cultural and gastronomic tips from each flavor destination. 

November 4, 2008

Free Starbucks coffee on election day

I thought the Starbucks initiative giving out a free 12oz coffee to those who vote, brilliant. The TV spot first aired during Saturday Night Live and poses some questions like: 

"What if we all cared enough to vote? Not just 54% of us, but 100% of us? Come into Starbucks on Nov. 4, tell us you voted, and we'll proudly give you a tall cup of brewed coffee on us." 

I also love the tagline: "You & Starbucks. It's bigger than coffee" which gives the brand a renewed sense of purpose. The campaign, which feels more like a movement, marks Starbuck's first entry into national TV advertising.

A little gesture that celebrates this historic moment. 

What's Next Event

Brazil's most influential advertising newspaper, Meio & Mensagem (which has a partnership with Advertising Age), celebrated its 30 years with a full-day event yesterday inviting speakers from the world's largest ad agencies to talk about the future. It was a great opportunity for me to listen to guys like Tom Bernardin (Leo Burnett), Laurence Boschetto (Draftfcb), Bob Greenberg (R/GA), Simon Sheerwood (BBH), Tom Carroll (TBWA) and Andrew Robertson (BBDO). The name of the event was What's Next, a rather ambitious name that is virtually impossible to properly answer. Even more so, if we take into account what the world has gone through in the past months. A lot was said on how consumers are becoming even more empowered, the impact of mobile and the prospects of an increasingly digital society. I didn't feel there was any particular wow in terms of what can potentially happen to the marketing/advertising landscape.

At the end of the day, what I personally enjoy at these types of events are real-life examples of how companies are finding new ways to interact, come out with innovative products and connect with people in ways that are remarkable. Bob Greenberg from R/GA took us through the interesting case study of how his interactive agency has helped create Nokia ViNe, a location-based content sharing service. A service where people can share routes, pictures, sounds and videos. Sounds like an exciting idea to record our traveling experiences and get tips on trips other people have made.

Read article on the Nokia ViNe initiative at MediaWeek.

November 2, 2008

From The New York Times this weekend...

Great article in The New York Times this weekend, written by Janet Rae-Dupree, on how we shouldn't forget the role of innovation in these tough economic times. Click here to read.

A nice reminder that, even in a volatile marketplace, one of the key roles of marketing is to keep our brands relevant and provide consumers (and specially non-consumers) with reasons to consider us. Yes, our day-to-day just got much tougher but marketers are the ones that should be dreaming of the future and crafting strategies that lead the way.  So, let's get our ideas flowing and make things happen!

Article sent to me by my friend Pablo Aversa

October 28, 2008

The World's Largest Doritos

Weeks ago our Doritos Brand Team, Alexandre Chiavegatti and Carol Gormezano, told me about a social network community of Doritos-lovers who were asking for a 5kg bag. So, we decided to make it happen.

This past week dozens of giant bags were sent to members of the community as you can see in this first video.

The growth of social networks is fascinating and the challenge for marketers is how to leverage this universe in a non-intrusive way.

The team decided to have a little more fun and ended up producing a 3m bag with over 132kg of Doritos - obviously the largest in the world. The massive bag was presented at one of the coolest teen events, it went for a ride all over town in the back of pick-up truck and it was hauled up a five-story building. The buzz from both initiatives has been amazing

In just a few days, over 11,000 mentions in blogs/twitters/sites and over 44,000 people saw the giant Doritos video we posted on YouTube.

This is the video of the giant Doritos...


October 26, 2008

What can a landfill become?

There's a wonderful movement happening in cities around the world where degraded areas are being converted into public spaces.  Many of these initiatives are taking place through public-private partnerships. This month, here in São Paulo, what used to be a landfill and a deactivated garbage incinerator has been transformed into a fantastic cultural area called the Victor Civita Square.  Because the soil is contaminated, a large wooden deck was built to connect the spaces and it also leads to an open-air amphitheater.  New gardens had to be suspended and the old incinerator became an educational area to promote good environmental practices and also houses a museum dedicated to sustainability.  An awesome initiative by Instituto Abril - the foundation responsible for Abril's social responsibility projects - in partnership with the City of São Paulo.

Please don't call it a midlife crisis

This morning, I went with my two daughters to a store to buy them an acoustic guitar. Their music teacher, who was kind enough to go with us, helped them choose a Yamaha in a perfect size for them. The store is pretty famous among the music crowd here and it's called 'Made In Brazil'. The shopping experience was fantastic. In one corner of the store, there was a guy with dark glasses jamming on a bass, there were customers testing drum sets and salespeople showing off keyboards. 

Seeing that I had fallen in love with a Gibson guitar, the music instructor asked if I wouldn't like to go back to music classes.  So, to make a long story short, I will be taking electric guitar classes every Wednesday night.

Please don't call it a midlife crisis.

October 23, 2008

Co-branding work with Azeites Gallo

In a few days, we will be launching...
Sensações® Ao Forno 
with a touch of Gallo Olive Oil 

Sensações® Ao Forno is Brazil's very first baked potato chip, targeting adults who want a great-tasting chip with gourmet-style flavors and value baked snacks.  We're excited that this is our first co-branded flavor. We teamed up with Azeites Gallo® one of Portugal's most traditional brands and Brazil's leading olive oil - in a wonderful collaboration process to develop this flavor. We're extremely proud of our association with a brand that is known for its pure, delicate and fragrant olive oil. Gallo® with its brand icon rooster, has been on the table of generations of Brazilian families.

All great brands have great stories.  In the case of Gallo® (which means 'rooster' in Spanish) it started almost a century ago with a man named Victor Guedes. One morning, he woke up opened his bedroom window to the the sound of a rooster.  Since he had Spanish roots, he registered the brand with two L's (in Portuguese 'galo' is written with one L). The brand and its beautiful rooster has stood the testament of time, coming to stand for suberb quality in olive oil delighting mediterranean style food lovers around the world.

The story of bringing two brands together in a collaborative process was an extremely rewarding experience. An amazing learning opportunity that I personally enjoyed a lot.