September 30, 2008

São Paulo Celebrating the Beautiful Game

While the world collapses... I feel I need a break from so much bad news on the global economic meltdown. So, I decided to write about something light and fun. Like soccer. In a few days, the Museu do Futebol - Brazil's most important museum fully dedicated to the country's greatest passion - opens its doors at the Pacaembú Stadium in São Paulo. It was about time.  I'm obviously super excited to go and check it out.  

The opening of the museum is part of the stadium's pitch to be selected to host some of the 2014 FIFA World Cup matches.  The most likely contender in São Paulo is the Morumbi Stadium, which created some buzz earlier this year with newly renovated corporate booths and VIP area. Recently, they opened Santo Paulo Bar, Brazil's best located soccer-themed bar & restaurant overlooking the field, something very common in Europe and the U.S. but rather new to this part of the world. I hope we see more initiatives that celebrate the beautiful game and offer fans a better experience.   

September 26, 2008

Pre-Super Bowl buzz

Doritos® is back creating pre-Super Bowl buzz with its third edition of the 'Crash The Super Bowl' campaign.  Doritos innovated two years ago with a consumer-generated format that shook the industry and started a trend.  At the time, consumers were invited to submit 30" ads.  Two spots, were chosen online and aired during the big game.  This time around Doritos is offering a $1 million prize for a creative mind that is able to produce a Doritos TV spot good enough to top a viewer poll at the next Super Bowl.  I absolutely love how my colleagues at Frito-Lay are leading the Doritos Brand.  A bold, creative and completely consumer-centric marketing approach to a very cool brand.  Awesome work.


Last night at JFK before flying back to São Paulo, I bought the Esquire Magazine - 75th Anniversary issue - which comes with a cool e-ink cover. It's actually the world's first magazine to use e-ink. The magazine explains that the technology is similar to what we find in the screens of mobile phones and electronic readers using " circuitry thin and flexible enough to bend and small enough to draw a level of energy that would allow the battery to last at least 90 days." The end result still feels a bit like work in progress but it is a fascinating peak at how technology will certainly change the way we will read in the near future. It's easy to imagine that the rich media experience so ubiquitous online will soon be morphed into books, magazines or even in-store materials creating a entirely new reading experience.  Cool stuff. 

Check out a video on YouTube showing the magazine cover...


September 24, 2008

StrawberryFrog NY

Yesterday, I had the opportunity of visiting StrawberryFrog here in NY and meeting Scott Goodson, the visionary guy who started the frog movement. I have been a fan of his blog and it was awesome to talk to him about some of the cultural movements the agency is engaged in, about how Brazil is becoming a hot emerging market and exchange ideas on the many changes going through in the marketplace.

This coming weekend, will be airing our first campaign created by Alexandre Peralta and the StrawberryFrog team in Sao Paulo for our Toddy chocolate milk brand. The campaign is called "Muuuuu!" A lot of excitement within our marketing team back home. More on the campaign next week.

September 23, 2008

Dreadful news, a few days in NY and a bowl of oatmeal

I'm in New York this week to attend a few seminars as part of Advertising Week. To be honest, after what happened to the financial markets last week, it's probably not the right timing to be listening to panels on self-regulation or the opportunity of social networks on advertising. On the other hand, I must say that the credit crunch that is threatening to throw the economy in a deep slump, also creates a unique opportunity for brands that can provide a sense of comfort and trust.

I guess I was one of the first to have breakfast this morning here at the hotel anxiously reading the Wall Street Journal to try and make sense of what's going on in the world. I ordered a bowl of oatmeal and honey, which I rarely do. It was only after breakfast that I thought it was probably because in times of uncertainty comfort food feels just right. It's certaintly an opportunity for companies that provide little moments of comfort and pleasure.

I wonder what changes in consumer behavior we will be seeing in the aftermath of the economic crisis and which marketers will be able to convert a potential downside into opportunities?

September 22, 2008

Not everyone is going 3G

For the past week I've been having fun with my new BlackBerry phone, which is pretty much an extension of my life. I couldn't live without instant access to corporate e-mail, to my private gmail account, being able to blog on-the-go, taking a picture of a product I just saw on a trip or googling anything that comes to mind while waiting for plane. On the other hand, with the amazing rise of lower-income consumers in emerging markets, like Brazil (which now has over 110 million mobile users), there has to be a great market for a very low-cost handset. I was happy to read that an operator from India called Spice is coming out with a $20 mobile phone, which is... well, just a phone. Although 3G capability is where the market is heading, for thousands of small business owners in Karachi or cab drivers in Manaus, having basic access to a mobile phone service means staying in business. It will be interesting to see how, while technology provides means for various categories to go high-end, there will always be opportunities for simple hassle-free products and services for a fast-growing lower-middle class in emerging markets.

September 14, 2008

Cupuaçú... will that be one or two scoops?

I'm always looking for what's new in the world of ice creams. So, I was very happy to find out that there's a place here in Sao Paulo selling Cairu®, the famous ice cream brand from Belem (the well-known port that serves as a gateway to the Amazon Forest).  It was worth the visit. Absolutely amazing.   Cairu is all about authenticity showcasing wonderful ice creams using local fruits, from the already popular açaí (known for its antioxidant properties and one of the few local fruits, like the guaraná, known abroad), to the more exotic acerola, muricicupuaçú or taperebá.  

If you type in 'ice cream' at Wikipedia you see references from all over the world, from Italy's unique gelati texture, to the heladerias of Argentina and Uruguay with the superb dulce-de-leches or American ice creams rich in cream and amazing inclusions. Not surprising that there is no reference to a typical Brazilian-style ice cream. I think it's a matter of time for the world to discover some of the fruits from the Amazon.... and you never know, maybe one day, Cairu Ice Creams will no longer be a well-kept secret.  

I found this great photo of the acerola berry at Flickr posted by photographer Marco...

September 12, 2008

Interesting way to talk about sustainability

MTV Brazil just launched a new consumer study on how millenials view sustainability. The final report is a wonderful look into the minds of our future generation and how they deal with topics like recycling, global warming or corporate responsibility. MTV found an innovative way to communicate the study to the business community. The ad entitled "Coma Este Anúncio"('eat this ad') was printed on paper made from potato flakes, so, according to the press release, it can be eaten after read.

September 11, 2008

A little bit of disorder, randomness and failure is a good thing

Last night, I was reading an article on a new book from Don Peppers and Martha Rogers called "Rules to Break and Laws to Follow" that had a wonderful quote:

"An efficient execution requires order, routine and uniformity.  Creativity and innovation is about disorder, randomness, experimentation and failure."

I couldn't agree more.  I have to add this book to my list (and the list is getting longer...).  What a great thought.  Order versus disorder... process versus randomness... ok, there are strategic frameworks that assist in the innovation journey and there are proven research techniques that validate assumptions and correct the course.  But it's also a process that requires an amazing amount of intellectual curiosity, unorthodox thinking, experimentation and a lot of failure. Pure and simple trial and error.  I always ask myself and my team if we're experimenting enough, questioning ourselves enough... and yes, failing enough.

Experimenting with a more collaborative approach to marketing

It's been a few months now that we have been experimenting with a millenial collaboration panel. Basically, it's a panel made up of 40 college kids located on different campuses around the country who are collaborating with us on our teen brands. It all happens online in a social network-type environment. Every week we post a different stimulus, usually in a graphic format, from new product concepts to packaging to ideas on brand activation. Sometimes we ask them to answer questions on what they've been up to, what blogs they're reading or what they're carrying in their backpacks. These kids are what our research consultancy calls alphas, people who are slightly ahead of everyone else and are key influencers among their group. Because of that, the project took longer to set up than I had originally imagined. It was absolutely critical to find the right people. Going over their bios it's amazing the breadth of life experiences and interests.

I'm a huge fan of adopting a more collaborative approach to marketing. So, bringing this project to life has been a rewarding intellectual experience. I feel the days of the old focus groups are over. The feedback we get is a little glimpse in the minds of a fascinating demographic. We've been having fun.

September 5, 2008

A brand all about guy gets girl

The new site for Axe® body deodorant in Brazil is graphically awesome, perfectly on target and is generating a lot of buzz within the local blogsphere.  For those who manage teen brands, this is definitely work worth learning from.  As you know, the brand is all about boy gets girl and the site embodies that from every angle possible.  There's even a very cool online game called 'Billions' that tests a guy's ability to get girls (I'm happy that our Doritos® brand is featured as a billboard within the game).  

Axe is a great example of a brand laser-focused on a very defined demographic with a perfectly crafted positioning. Well done. 

September 3, 2008

Digital photos.... instantly

Last night, while preparing a class, I was looking for cases of brands that were innovative at their time but were no longer around.  I went online to confirm my assumptions.  To my surprise, Polaroid, which was on my original list, is actually going through an interesting revival.  I was positively surprised to learn about a product called PoGo™, which they are calling an instant mobile printer for mobile phones. It's an innovative way to share digital photos directly from a camera cell phone or digital camera, instantly. With the proliferation of mobile phones, it makes a lot of sense.

September 1, 2008

Banking application for iPhones

I have always admired Brazilian banks in terms of innovation. A recent great example is Banco Itaú® that just introduced its banking application for iPhones and the phone has not even been officially launched in Brazil yet. That's a clear demonstration of a company slightly ahead of its time. A good example of taking an innovative lead.

Making it easier for kids to use their closets

Every morning my daughters struggle to get clothes out of upper shelves of their closets.  When my wife and I are not around, they climb on the shelves which is obviously dangerous and will end up damaging the closet.  

Why isn't there a kids closet that uses ladders like the ones found in libraries?


I googled 'kids cabinets' and found no reference.  It seems like a rather obvious idea.