December 28, 2009

Starting 2010 designing our new house

It's always great to start a new year with a life-changing project.  In our case, 2010 will be the year we'll start building our dream urban house.  In the past months, I focused on selecting as many design references as possible, interviewed with a few architects (both some of the cool names here in São Paulo but also some of the up and coming young talents)  and discussed a lot about the brief with my wife Aline.  

In case you're also thinking of building a house one day, here are a few websites I've been reviewing that will probably get you inspired...

Dwell is one of my favorite magazines and their website has a nice section on houses with a slideshow feature.

The Cool Hunter is another great resource with projects from around the world...

Try also e-architect...

Tomorrow, we're going to our year-end retreat to an island close to Paraty, off the coast of Rio.  
All the best in 2010!

December 15, 2009

Inspiration from potato chips

My good friend Flavio Maria just sent me a link to a fun article from Fast Company on how Iraqi Architect Zaha Hadid's love for snacks may be inspiring her fantastic work.

As a fanatic potato chip marketer, I loved the article, which is also a great reminder how inspiration for great design can come from anywhere.

"The sandwich came with potato chips, and Hadid examined one, turning it in her fingers, which were long and tapered and ended in bright-red nails, before putting it into her mouth. The twisty geometry of an ordinary potato chip, to say nothing of the curves in modern cars and phones, is a reminder of how few buildings look as if they belonged in the digital world. Hadid is devoted to helping architecture catch up."

Making scents of aromas found in a glass of wine

Last Sunday, my wife and I were invited to a barbecue at a friend's apartment overlooking São Paulo.  After a succulent picanha (one of Brazil's classic prime cuts) and wonderful wine, our host brought out a mysterious box and said we were going to play a game.  The box, contained the key aromas found in the world of wines encapsulated in little bottles.  Each person had to smell the aroma and identify what it was.  

Cinnamon, smoked bacon, peppermint, caramel, lychee, lavender, musk....  the game went on.  It was a fabulous experience having to concentrate and access one's memory bank and what a good feeling when you got it right.  I was surprised that our 8 and almost 11-year-old daughters, got a few answers right.  I guess keeping my wife company in the kitchen and learning and experimenting with a few recipes is paying off.

For anyone involved in product innovation, making scents of the different aromas found in a glass of wine is a very fun and educational experience.

This is our host Carlos Campos during our wine game.

December 13, 2009

Learning new chords

Somewhere I read that you should try to learn something new every year. So, at the end of last year, I signed up for weekly golf lessons and every Wednesday night I've been taking electric guitar classes.  Both activities have been extremely rewarding.  Golf has helped me focus, strategize, learn how to read the field of play, recognize that little details make a huge difference and meet some interesting people along the way.  Guitar has been a wonderful way to engage with my daughters through the joy of music since they are also learning how to play.

I feel like trying something completely new helps rewire your mind in different ways. It challenges you to be open to new concepts, forces you to practice, experiment, fail and try again. In many ways, there's a direct correlation with the innovation process, from having the intellectual curiosity to explore new ideas that lead to the formulation of hypotheses, and the discipline of researching over and over again to find the right insight.  

As I start thinking of 2010, what new skills will I be adding to my life experience?

December 6, 2009

Learning from the Seda Co-Creation Project

Last week we invited Erik Galardi - Unilever Brazil's Marketing Director Haircare - to talk to our internal team on how he is carrying out a major brand transformation for Seda.  The presentation was absolutely awesome, one of the best marketing stories I heard recently.  Seda is Brazil`s leading shampoo but has been losing relevance to smaller high-end brands which led to the Seda Co-Creation Project.  They partnered with seven hair specialists from around the world to develop a new generation of products.  Another great case of collaboration, packaging design, content generation and experiential marketing.  

November 27, 2009

Ad agencies developing their own product concepts

Flying back from Buenos Aires this week I read an interesting article in Time Magazine (Nov.30, 2009) called "Marketing - Having It Both Ways" by Thomas K. Grose on how ad agencies are developing and testing their own product concepts. I wonder if this is a trend that will hit the Brazilian market anytime soon.

In a marketplace of constant change, it's clear to me that ad agencies have a huge opportunity to re-think and re-invent their business models. One thing is for sure, making inroads in the entrepreneurial world will certainly provide agencies with a better understanding of what clients go through on the operating side. New times require new thinking.

Click below to read article...

November 23, 2009

Move over coffee... it's Tea Time in São Paulo

Yesterday, I took my Family to have lunch at Ping Pong, the London-based restuarant group, which just opened its first international operation here in São Paulo. Wonderful dim sums, friendly staff, cub-perfect lounge music and an urban cool project by Swiss Architect David Marquardt from MACH Architektur.

One of the highlights is a great array of teas offered at Ping Pong. In fact, in a country where coffee has cult status, it's amazing to see how teas are becoming the thing. I guess it all started with Carla Sauressig's Loja do Chá carrying over 250 types of tea - a franchisee of Germany's Tee Gschwendner - with two stores in São Paulo and one in Brasília. Now, some of the food emporiums have sections dedicated to teas from around the world.

Ping Pong, which is also serving the famous flowering teas, will certainly cater to a growing tribe of tea-lovers in a city dominated by café culture.

November 20, 2009

Inflatable Seat Belts

It's fascinating to see how some new ideas are actually a combination of things that have been around for a while - in this case seat belts and airbag technology - and nobody had actually put them together. Ford's recent announcement of the first-ever back-seat inflatable seat belt is a great example of this.

This is a wonderful innovation that makes you wonder what other opportunties exist in our own categories of combining different ideas to create an entirely new consumer experience...

November 18, 2009

Radiolab's Moments by William Hoffman

I just received this beautiful video from my friend Alexandre Peralta. In case you haven't seen it yet....

Buffer it up and enjoy 4' 17" of powerful storytelling and a wonderful reminder that life is but a collection of moments.

How can we make these moments become more meaningful for ourselves and for those we love?

November 8, 2009

Turbocharging the home phone

The other day I was talking to Alessandro Germano, an innovation director at Telefonica Brazil, about how I thought the home phone needed some serious re-thinking incorporating a lot of the cool features found in the mobile world. That's when he told me about Orby.

Orby is a product that is being developed by Telefonica to become the ultimate home digital smartphone. The idea is to turbocharging the home phone with a hi-speed connection, the convenience of touch screen and cool design. The concept comes with unique features like the ability for the user to choose his phone number online. The phone screen can be used to access YouTube, online radios, use as a slideshow for family photos or to check your stock portfolio.

It seems like the type of innovation that has the potential of becoming the centerpiece of home automation (control lighting, turn on air conditioning, lock/unlock doors or activate security cameras). Telefonica is making Orby open source allowing anyone to develop aditional applications, similar to what happens today with IPhones or Android.

Launch is expected to happen later this month. Perfect time for me to update our old home phones.  Can't wait to try it out.

Folding bikes and the art of innovation

I love bikes and I would like to be able to take my two daughters biking beyond our Sao Paulo neighborhood.  Unfortunately, our three bikes don't fit in our family bike (let alone in my Mini Cooper).  

For the past week I've been doing some online research on folding bikes, from very simple concepts to high-end folding mountain bikes. Some really fascinating projects.  

One video I found on YouTube, part of the Open University series, is absolutely fantastic because it has UK Industrial Desginer Mark Sanders  explain step-by-step the entire process he went through in creating his revolutionary Strida folding bike.  The video shows how he started off with a very specific brief inspired by baby strollers.  It goes on to show his rigourous approach to developing hypotheses, creating as many designs as possible, validating, screening, prototyping and testing, testing, testing.  I particularly enjoyed how, after launching the first commercial version, he incorporated consumer feedback to evolve and refine each aspect of his project.  At the end, he mentions a few ideas he has to take his project to the next level, confirming how great design and product development should be a continuous process.  

For those who love design and the innovation process, this is a truly inspirational video.

November 1, 2009

Fiat's collaboration project

This time its Fiat launching a collaboration project called FiatMio.  I just went to their co-creation website and posted my idea (it's always fun to provide ideas to someone else's project).  Fiat is saying they want to select the best ideas, build a concept car and showcase it in Sao Paulo's 2010 auto show.  

Another very cool collaboration project.  


October 26, 2009

Sunday Paper in Washington Park

There's something very special about reading the New York Times on a beautiful sunday morning in the Fall. That's was what I did yesterday morning in Washington Park in NY. I know a lot has been said about the future of newspapers.... but I`m one of those who enjoys flipping through the pages not knowing exactly what you're going to find. It's specially nice when you're traveling and reading a newspaper from another city.

There was a great interview with Tim Brown - president of IDEO - where he talks about the importance of asking the right questions. In a world where people expect us to have answers, I enjoyed readng about his view on questions.

Here's the interview.

October 23, 2009

More on PepsiCo's Institutional Campaign in Brazil

Here at PepsiCo we started off 2009 launching our first ever institutional print campaign. The first phase, which we covered on this blog, presented our entire brand portfolio (including snacks, beverages and food) and we introduced our institutional campaign theme:
PepsiCo - Creating a Tomorrow Better Than Today

We've now moved into phase two which celebrates the people who make PepsiCo great. In one print ad we talk about our people, in another ad we celebrate the farmers who cultivate the potatoes, corn and wheat used in our snacks, and in the third execution we celebrate the partnership PepsiCo Beverages has with AmBev.

The campaign can be see in Brazil's most top-selling magazines such as Veja, Exame, IstoÉ, Revista Caras and Claudia.

October 22, 2009

Let's make it fun!

I saw this video last night, which is part of the Fun Theory cultural movement in Europe - a VW initiative - and it made me think of how the power of fun could change the way schools educate kids or even how companies sell their products.

As marketers, how can we add a little more fun in the way we sell... engaging consumers in a whole new way?

For those of us who live recycling... this is a killer idea.
Absolutely Brilliant!!!

YouTube... a great substitute for the Food Network

This morning, I had a nice meeting at Google Brasil which is always a great opportunity to feel the pulse of what is going on in the digital world.  We ended up talking about one of the hottest search topics for women in Brazil: recipes.  

Both on Google and on YouTube, recipes are hot.  

This is obviously a subject that interests in me because one of the barriers we face in two of our categories (oats and canned fish) is that gatekeepers not always know how to use our products in differentiated ways.  They value the heart health properties of oats and they love the Omega-3 found in tuna & sardines but they want to learn more on how to add these products to their day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, we don't have the wonderful Food Network in Brazil which is a fantastic resource for those who want to learn more about cooking.  My wife and I miss the channel... but fortunately there's YouTube (whcih according to their blog has reached over 1 billion views per day).

I decided to go online to find out which Brazilian company is doing a good job in terms of recipes.  I enjoyed the work Sadia is doing.  A very clean graphic approach (different than the traditional in-kitchen production), clear instructions on what ingredients are needed upfront and simple instructions.  Bravo.


October 5, 2009

The Day Spa experience

I've always believed that brands should aspire to provide people with experiences that define what the brand is all about.  In some cases, like in categories with low emotional connection, that is not easy.  On the other hand, some companies do an awesome job in experiential marketing, providing moments that transcend the products they sell. 

Today I had a wonderful experience at São Paulo's Spa L'Occitane.  As a birthday gift, my wife gave me a gift certificate for a 5-hour day spa.  I enjoyed every moment, from time off from everything just to read in a quiet place... to my first facial... to a great back massage.  Every once in while, it's wonderful to spend time on yourself.

This was certainly an experience that will have a lasting effect on the already positive perception I have for the L'Occitane brand.

It makes me wonder what exeriences we should be providing with the brands my team and I manage here in Brazil?  

Rio... Cidade Maravilhosa

Congratulations Rio 2016!

The video produced by the Rio 2016 Olympic Committee captures the spirit of our... cidade maravilhosa...


September 29, 2009

Disconnected in Paradise

My Family and I just got back from 3 days in Itacaré, a tropical paradise located on the southern coast of Bahia north of Ilhéus - Brazil's cocoa capital. Fortunately, we spent three magnificent days with no mobile phone (no coverage from the carrier I use), no BlackBerry, no TV... and I realize that this is exactly what time off is supposed to be. Disconnected.... and yet connected to what matters the most.

For those who want a tip on an absolutely stunning place to go for vacations:
Txai Resort. Thousands of coconut trees, miles of pristine beaches, hiking trails through lush tropical vegetation hydrating ourselves with coconut water, and a spa at the end of a long day with a view you'll never forget.

What makes the resort even more special, is that they were awarded
Sustainbale Resort 2009 by Brazil's best tourism publication 4 Rodas. Food is made with organic vegetables and fruits which they cultivate on the property and they support local organic argriculture. Excess production is sold at an organic farmer's market which they helped organize in Itacaré. The resort sells handicrafts from local vendors and they also run a number of socially-responsible programs focused on developing local communities. A cool example of their concern for the local community is the support the resort gave in starting up Bahia's first public Waldorf shool (providing building materials) located a few miles down the road. Our daughters loved the news that Txai also has their own sea turtle conservation program called 'Txaitaruga' (which is one more reason for us to go back since we're not in nesting season yet).

This is a video on how Txai is building a sustainable model...

This is a great reminder that Brazil has a tremendous opportunity to leverage its enormous tourism potential through an environmentally-friendly model similar to what happens in Costa Rica. We can't wait to go back.

These are a few photos I took...

Making it easier to add the benefits of fish in your diet

One of the challenges we face in our canned fish business is that housewives will say they want to add more fish in their families' diet but not always know simple recipes. Our Coqueiro marketing, with the help of São Paulo-based food consultancy SC, produced 10 videos with creative recipes made with tuna & sardine that will help people add the benefits of fish and more Omega-3 in their lives. At the end of each video, a list of all the ingredients needed for each dish.

It's fascinating to see how cooking, especially gourmet cooking, is becoming big in Brazil. From specialized magazines to radio programs to TV shows and gourmet festivals throughout the country. Maybe one day we will have our own version of the Food Network. Who knows.

Here's one example, 'Acarajé Coqueiro', from the wonderful cuisine from Bahia. You can find all videos at


September 24, 2009

Role reversal

I've always believed that role reversals are great ways to see the world with different eyes.  Many years ago, I took part in a role reversal process with our advertising agency which was a wonderful experience.  

Last night, my wife and I went to a PTA meeting at our local Waldorf School.  Our second grade teacher surprised all the parents with a role reversal session.  Parents were asked to line up to go into the class and we spent two hours going through a class routine.  I loved the exeprience in many ways.  It was very engaging.  First, it made me feel closer to what our 7-year-old goes through.  As the teacher talked us through the learning objective of each exercise, I felt that the experience will certainly raise my awareness on how I can help our daughter learn even more. 

As a marketing professional, it made me think that there is so much we can learn if we get out of our ordinary role and temporarily live a completely different one.

Role reversal....  certainly a powerful concept in any innovation process.

September 17, 2009

Big News for Brazilian Business

I've always believed that emerging markets, like Brazil, India or China, will need to build strong global brands and not only become commodity powerhouses.  So, I was very happy to hear yesterday's announcement that JBS-Friboi (Brazil's beef giant which acquired Smithfield Beef last year and Swift & Co. back in 2007) just acquired Texas-based Pilgrim's Pride and merged with Betin - another Brazilian meat company - to form the World's largest meat producer. Big news for Brazilian business.

From a purely marketing standpoint, the question is...
Will JBS-Friboi be able to build a company with global brands that resonate emotionally with consumers aroung the globe?

Brands managed by Brazilian companies, many of them amazingly successful locally, haven't been that successful becoming truly global.  I'm curious to see if JBS-Friboi will change the game...

September 9, 2009

Brazil's first institutional campaign promoting fish

This is Brazil's first institutional campaign promoting the consumption of fish. Brazil has one of the World's largest coastlines (7491 km) and yet a low per cap consumption of fish - only 6.8kg/year versus a world average consumption of 15.6kg/year. The World Health Organization recommends the consumption of 12kg/year of fish. The campaign was created and produced by the Ministry of Fish and is part of a comprehensive plan called Fish Week that happens every year.

Within our PepsiCo Brazil portfolio we market a line of canned sardine and tuna products under the Coqueiro trademark. So, we're very happy to see this institutional effort.

September 8, 2009

The return of a snack classic

A lot has been wirtten about how retro is cool and how some . I'm a huge fan of the movement (probably why I bought a New Beetle when they first came out and why I drive a Mini Cooper today). Well, here at PepsiCo Brazil we're also riding the retro wave by bringing back a snack classic from the 80's and 90's: Doritos Original.

Since 2001, the only Doritos flavor sold in Brazil has been nacho cheese (in the famous red bag) and earlier this year we launched Sweet Chili as a limited edition (in a striking silver bag). Answering the call from hundreds of Brazilian fans who have posted that they want the return of Doritos Original, in the following days we're bringing back the classic tortilla chip that comes with just the great taste of yellow corn in its famous yellow bag. And to go in true retro style, we even decided to use the old classic Doritos logo from the 90's.

One of the fun things about social networking is that marketers can quickly identify and respond to consumer requests. We had tons of fun last year producing a 5kg bag for die-hard Doritos fans and now we have a chance of bringing back a classic from the past.

Videgame recreates the magic of the greatest band in history

Tomorrow's global release of "The Beatles: Rock Band" videgame for PlayStation3, Wii and XBox360 is a fantastic step forward in the mash-up between music experience, videogaming, documentary... revolutionizing the concept of home entertainment. This much anticipated release is a dream come true for music fans and gamers from around the world.

For those who don't have the game on their buy list, it's worth watching the Gametrailers review below.

August 27, 2009

New TV Campaign for Quaker On-the-go line in Brazil

The past 12 months have been very exciting for our Quaker oats business in Brazil. We launched a new campaing called Quaker - The Grain of Goodness and this year we started test-marketing an entire new line of convenient great-tasting on-the-go oat-based products called Quaker De Bolso (which translates as Quaker In-Your-Pocket). The line consists of oatmeal cookies, mini multi-grain cookies made with oats, quinoa, flax seed and wheat germ, as well as, a granola in a 'drinkable' format.

Both the brand campaign and the on-the-go line remind Brazilians that they can count on the power of oats in a whole new line of convenient products designed to fit a healthy lifestyle.

To support our new Quaker line, we just started airing a new TV campaing, created by our agency PeraltaStrawberryFrog. The message is very simple.... now you can carry the goodness of oats anywhere.

August 26, 2009

Video and magazine mash up

Wow!!! Pepsi in the U.S. has inserted a video in CBS's Entertainment Weekly Magainze...
Click here to read the news on the Wall Street Journal Speakeasy blog. 

Below a short YouTube link that shows how it works.  Amazing!

August 21, 2009

New campaign for Sensações Baked Potato Chips

This week-end, we will be airing two spots of a new campaign for Sensações® Ao Forno - Brazil's first baked potato chip brand.  The Sensações brand targets adults who are looking for healthier snacking options but still want great-tasting gourmet-style flavors.  

In this first spot, a guy who considers himself a connoisseur of fine cuisine, is delighted by the taste of Sensações new baked potato chip.  When his date describes the strong personality of the wine, a little misunderstanding comes up...

Here's the second spot...

Both spots end with voice over:  
"Sensações Baked potato chip for gourmets... both amateur and professional"

Hope you enjoy the campaign.

August 20, 2009

Listening to Andreas Weigend

Yesterday, I had the opportunity of listening to Andreas Weigend speak at an HSM event here in São Paulo. Andreas is a former Chief Scientist at He now works as a consultant helping companies leverage the power of data to develop new business models.  He also teaches at Stanford and UC Berkeley.  Since I've always been a huge fan of Amazon - most likely the best e-commerce experience on the web - I was excited with the opportunity to listen to him.  Great speaker with thought-provoking concepts for any company wanting to take their digital strategies to the next level.  Among the examples of companies leveraging data to transform their business, I loved the case of Progressive which gives customers the option of using a wireless device in their car which tracks driving behavior.  The data collected generates a customized insurance rate based on how, how much and when the car is driven.

Click here to check out Andreas Weigend's blog.

I wish my schedule would allow me more time to spend time participating in events like the one I went to yesterday.  Time well spent.

August 15, 2009

Farewell to Le Paul (1915-2009)

This past week the world said farewell and paid tribute to Les Paul - the man who was the inventor of the solid body electric guitar and also pioneered a number of recording methods like the multitrack recording.  A true legend who influenced the world of rock in many ways.  In the 1950's, the legendary Gibson Les Paul was born, designed by Ted McCarty in collaboraton with Les Paul.  A guitar icon that is part of the fabric of modern rock.

Click here to see a photo gallery of Les Paul published by the Los Angeles Times.

Every Wednesday night, I have guitar lessons with Dante Castanho and the experience has been extremely rewarding.  Music has an amazing ability to take you away from your day-to-day and transport you to different places and times.  I'm having a great time.

August 14, 2009

Wash your hands please

I love seeing how some companies are fast to identify a cultural movement and quickly transform an opportunity into a business proposition.  

With growing public awareness and concern around swine flu, it's amazing to see the proliferation of hand sanitizing units.  For the past few weeks I've been seeing them all over.  Only today, I saw one in a parking garage, next to the elevator in my office building and coming out of our cafeteria.

For marketers it's a reminder of how any cultural manifestation creates opportunities for new products, services or the comeback of an old idea.

August 5, 2009

Revolutionary water purification bottle

Watch on TED video with Michael Prichard demonstrating a truly revolutionary water purification bottle called Lifesaver.  Click here to watch.

More on this innovation, click here.

August 2, 2009

The carelessness of digital photography

As much as I love my new digital Canon and my iPhoto albums, there's one thing I miss from the days of film photography.  When you put a Kodachrome film in your camera, you knew you were rather limited to 36 photos which made you value every single shot.  There were two costs elements associated to amateaur phtography:  the price of the film and the price of developing. That forced you to be more attentive, selecting the right angle, the right moment, the right aperture, the right shutter speed, right lighting.... before the click.

Today, the limitless notion of digital has created a generation of careless photographers who don't value the end result because they can take hundreds of shots and easily delete whatever they don't like.  You can see this at any school function.  Click... click... click... click. 

Yes, technology has brought us amazing rewards for those who love photography like me.   Immediately being able to share a special moment with a friend on another continent is priceless. What we shouldn't allow happen is become careless when it comes to photography just because we can shoot thousands of photos and not be worried about the cost at the local photo shop.

August 1, 2009

No more vanilla, strawberry or chocolate

What happens with those who market mass consumer products where it's more difficult to provide consumers with true customization?  It seems like expanding choice and inviting your die-hard fans to collaborate on what's next is picking up momentum. 

Two cool projects that I absolutely love...

Take a look at what Mountain Dew did last month....


Walkers - UK's top-selling potato chips - also ran an amazing promotional campaign this year called "Do Us A Flavor" inviting British consumers to create a movement in favor of their favorite flavor.


It seems like the days of "we only have vanilla, chocolate or strawberry" are over. It was about time.

Customizing my Mini

Just got back from the Mini Cooper dealership here in Sao Paulo.  The Mini Cooper S I ordered has finally arrived (after a dreadful wait).   My 7-year old daughter and I had loads of fun at the Mini Lounge selecting the accessories to make it my Mini.... bonnet stripes, checkered-flag mirror caps, 17" web spoke alloy tires.  

Customization is a beautiful and powerful marketing concept.  

As a consumer, the design-your-own movement is an empowering experience.  Consumers feel special, unique, differentiated, which ultimately builds a greater affinity for the brand.   

July 19, 2009

"No More Awkward Turns"... brilliant!

On my flight back from NY last night, I saw this wonderful print ad for the Dyson Ball vacuum cleaner.  When a new product has a truly revolutionary design, it makes the work of advertising so simple and powerful...

July 16, 2009

More augmented reality applications

After our Doritos augmented reality case in Brazil, I received e-mails from friends with other real cool applications using the same technology.

James Maul, from Joinville, sent me the story of this new iPhone application from Acrossair - a service that helps people locate subway lines in New York and San Francisco...


My friend Stuart Meyler told me about a Japanese company called Tonchidot that developed an amazing social augmented reality mobile location-based service called Sekai Camera. The application merges the virtual and real world by using a digital device as a viewfinder. Take a look at a video presented at TechCrunch...