August 31, 2008

Why not a National Geographic family resort?

As parents of elementary school kids who are fascinated by everything related to wildlife, my wife and I find ourselves trying to plan a family vacation that will provide our girls with a cultural/educational experience.  One place we want to take them is to a beach on the coast of Bahia, called Praia do Forte, famous as a nesting site for sea turtles.  That is where Project Tamar - Brazil's national sea turtle conservation program - is located.  A place where kids can learn about marine wildlife and help release newborn turtles back to sea.


I have doing some online research to find other vacation destinations that combine family resort with science camp for kids.  The result has been disappointing.  Obviously, there are great family eco-resorts. And there are camps specializing in science, the type you drop your kids off for a week.  But I haven't been successful finding a combination of both.  It may me wonder that there may be an interesting concept, combining the experience of a resort operator with a world-class institution with a solid scientific backbone, like for example, National Geographic® or the Smithsonian Institute.  A travel concept that would inspire kids to learn through exploration in a fun and engaging way.  

I have a feeling there would be more families like ours, interested in investing vacation time in a more meaningful way.

August 28, 2008

Getting kids to imagine, create and invent

I fell in love with this campaign from and sponsored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office that sends a powerful message that kids can have fun through creativity and inventions. The TV campaign showcases a boy called Brian who put suction cups on his bike tires to ride in places that nobody has ridden before.  It's all about reminding kids that they can achieve anything they want in life. 

The campaign theme is "Anything's possible. Keep thinking." 

Having two elementary school kids of my own, the message struck an emotional chord. It's worth going to the website and see the hundreds of inventions submitted by kids all over America.  There's even a section that teaches kids the basics on how to patent a cool idea.


A beautiful message to a future generation of innovators.  

August 23, 2008

The Legendary Cachaça

When it comes to determining the best tasting rum, vodka or whisky, there's always controversy. In terms of cachaça (Brazil's sexy spirit), there's a myth around Anísio Santiago, this hard-to-find, priced-like-a-great-Bordeaux brand is worshiped by aficionados around the country as the very best Brazilian cachaça. Anísio Santiago is named after the legendary figure who began distilling in Salinas (State of Minas Gerais) back in the 40's and put this small town on the map as the cachaça capital (a bit like what Lynchburg is for the Tennessee Whiskey).  The original name was Havana which the family had to give up due to a trademark dispute, renaming it later.

My good friend, Flavio Maria, just gave me a bottle as a birthday gift.  Like a fine Carmenère, this little gem will be savored on a very special moment.

For those interested in more on one Brazil's most legendary brands, there's a book on it called "O Mito da Cachaça" written by Roberto Carlos Santiago.

August 21, 2008

Branding... a big challenge for BRIC's

Going through the latest Global Fortune 500 list, it's clear that we're entering a new world order with companies from BRIC countries rising on the global scale.  What is still missing is the branding piece.  With very few exceptions, like China's Lenovo (debuting at No. 499) which acquired IBM's computing division or India's Tata (No. 315) which has made headlines all over the world with an aggressive automotive strategy, there's seems to be a long way to go in the development of brands that will become the Apple, Toyota, HSBC or Nokia of the future.  In many cases, there seems to be a generic, risk-free approach with strong nationalistic overtones with names like China National Petroleum, China Construction Bank, Bank of China, Indian Oil, State Bank of India or Banco do Brasil, instead of creating brands that can be differentiated and make a statement. BRIC companies wanting to move beyond borders may need to look at South Korea and learn how they were able to create some remarkable global brands in the past 20 years, like Samsung, LG or Hyundai. 

August 17, 2008

Gourmet-style mobile food concepts

A cool trend is showing up in big cities all over the world.... gourmet-style mobile food concepts. Forget the typical hot dog stand, we're talking high-quality food. One very cool example is the DessertTruck in Manhattan. This food truck, created by Jerome Chang, a former pastry sous chef at Le Cirque and Chris Chen, converts the world of fine-dining desserts into a sidewalk experience. It's located at St Marks Place (8th St) and 3rd Ave.

Another example is Skillet, located in Seattle (a place known for innovative food retail concepts), which serves high-end locally-sourced dishes. I love the retro-looking silver Airstream trailer.

I'm trying to convince my organically-correct gourmet wife, to set something up like this in São Paulo.  In a city where people like to go out for a work lunch, traffic is terrible and there's not always a lot of time for a good meal, do you think the concept would work here?

August 16, 2008

Print campaign with a simple message

With so many messages out there, it's wonderful when you find a print campaign that is all about simplicity.  A private school, called Colegio Bandeirantes, has a beautifully executed print campaign that uses a red pencil to tell their story.

In their most recent print, they show how at this school students learn how to be persistent....

In this other execution, how students learn to work individually and in group assignments...

Making a message simple is not an easy task.  

August 12, 2008

Being part of something big....

At a time when everyone seems to be watching the Summer Olympics on TV, it makes you want to get up and do something.  Do more sports.  Be part of something big.  With that spirit, I really like the Nike Human Race.  For those who haven't heard the buzz, this coming Aug. 3st , Nike is putting on the World’s largest running event. The 10k event will be the ultimate runner experience... open to anyone, anywhere. Nike is hosting race events in 25 cities around the world, including São Paulo. If where you live is not on the list, it's okay because by logging on to, every city and every road can become a race-day course.  Big, global, just like the Olympics, but where everyone can take part of the show.  Great initiative.

August 9, 2008

Waiting for stories from Beijing...

While the very best athletes from around the world compete for glory in Beijing, I'm interested in another competition that doesn't necessarily happen on the field of play. It's the quest of thousands of journalists who are in search of those special stories that will end up defining these olympics games. More than ever, I find myself more interested in the personal dramas, the motivations, the stories that will make an athlete bigger than life... than the medal itself.

This morning, I was reading an article on 2007 Nobel Prize-winner Doris Lessing and how she believes mankind has an addiction to storytelling. Whether its fiction or the epic stories we will hear from Beijing, I totally agree.

I couldn't help but adding an image of Marta, Brazil's first female soccer superstar who has become a role model for girls all over the country.  In a country where the sport has been traditionally a guy's game, Marta is an inspirational force of renewal.

August 8, 2008

Exame on PepsiCo

Out today Exame Magazine (my all-time favorite business publication in Brazil) with a cover story on PepsiCo's CEO Indra Nooyi.  Great article explaining how multinational corporations are adapting to a new world order where understanding the dynamics of emerging markets like China, India, Brazil, is key to any company that operates globally.

Maybe it's time to give in...

Everyone who knows me will tell you how crazy I am for my BlackBerry.  But I have to confess that visiting the iPhone 3G App Store it made me think that it's time I give in and go for an iPhone. Anybody out there that uses a BlackBerry during the week for business and goes iPhone on week-ends?

August 7, 2008

Spend a day out of the office

Last month, I asked my entire marketing team to spend a Friday out of the office.  I didn't ask them to stay at home but to spend the day in Campos do Jordão, a winter resort close to São Paulo. Similar to what happens in other winter destinations, Campos becomes a perfect setting for Brazilian companies to showcase their brands to an affluent and influential demographic. I had been there a few weeks earlier and was impressed with the amount of brand activation initiatives, from lounges sponsored by tobacco companies, to an insurance company teaching kids about street safety, to a baby food company offering a nice space for moms to feed their kids. I asked them to learn from what they saw and report back.

The experience was awesome.  It's fascinating what people can experience when they get out of the office comfort zone.  We have to do this more often.

August 3, 2008

Smart insight leads to Eating Colorful

I like it when you see a product innovation based on a relevant consumer insight.  In this part of the world, many moms try to prepare meals with different colors, to provide their children with a variety of different nutrients. Nutritionists will say that colors of fruits and vegetables are associated to different nutritional properties. Therefore, a naturally colorful meal means a healthier one. Based on this insight, Knorr® launched a few months ago a line of Soups under an 'Eat Colorful' positioning. The line was initially launched in 4 colors: red, orange, yellow and green. In the case of Soup Red, it's a combination of tomato, red pepper and eggplant, with the benefits of vitamin A, C, iron, fibers and antioxidants.  

It's not easy creating a new concept in traditional categories, so I thought this was a wonderful reminder that there's always a new refreshing way way to look at things. The process always starts with a smart insight.