December 26, 2012

My choice of Product of the Year

End of the year.  As I read through the many lists of best-of-the-year, I thought about what product impacted me the most.  It ended up to be a rather easy choice.

There's one product this year that is gradually changing the way I think about fitness.  Making me become more conscious of what I do during the day, reminding me to be more active, which eventually is about my health.  I'm talking about my Nike+ Fuelband.  A little product that goes around my left wrist with the ability to change behavior.  For any marketer, anywhere around the World, that is a pretty powerful proposition.

As brand managers, marketing guys, innovation leaders in our organizations, we tend to think physical products, things. properties, packaging, cost structure, formulations, supply chain.... and the list goes on. Yes, we talk about emotional benefits but we seldom go deep in thinking, really re-thinking, at a higher level, how can we truly provide something more meaningful.  A greater sense of purpose.  In a certain way, we create mental blocks that are confined to our production capabilities.   Yes, Nike is constantly working on gear that enhances athletic performance and that's a good thing.  But they dared to go beyond.

It's fascinating to see this shift of selling something, to providing a benefit that actually influences you on a daily basis.  Every time I press the 'fuel' button on my band to see how many points I've accumulated, it makes me more conscious of how much energy I'm burning... but ultimately, it generates a brand experience that is changing behavior... and that is the type of innovation that is truly transformational. 

Dreaming of our own little rooftop terrace

My wife and I have commissioned São Paulo-based Architects Marina Acayaba & Juan Pablo Rosenberg to design our new house.  Our 2013 new year's resolution is to finally start building on a narrow 10x40 urban lot.  We couldn't be more excited. 

One thing we're been discussing is the rooftop.  It has always intrigued me how houses in densely populated areas, that are usually confined to smaller lots, don't take advantage of exploring the rooftop as a way to feel less contrived by the proximity of neighbors.  This makes even more sense when you think that, in this part of the World, we enjoy year-round outdoor weather.  You see it happening in hotels, clubs or restaurants and less as an added space solution for urban residences.

Two weeks ago, my wife and I were in Miami and some friends took us to Juvia, a very hip restaurant with a fabulous terrace overlooking South Beach.  The restaurant is located in the stunning parking garage designed by Herzog & de Meuron on Lincoln Road.  New York's High Line is also a great inspiration on how to convert an abondoned elevated railway into an amazing public space with a fantastic rooftop feel. 

So, I'm super happy that we're settling for a project that has our family room on the rooftop, with a deck, an open-air fire pit and views of the many trees in our Alto da Boa Vista neighborhood.

As the World becomes increasingly urban, maybe the rooftop will replace the suburban backyard as the family's weekend hangout?

How Jaws got me thinking about multi-generational marketing

This Holiday Season made me think about the opportunities for multi-generational marketing.  A few nights ago, I enjoyed watching Spielberg's classic Jaws with my daughters, who saw the film for the very first time.  It was a chance for me to tell them about how impactful this particular film was when it first came out.  For Christmas, I gave them a long skateboard, which reminded me just how much I enjoyed it when I was their age.  At our local park, it's one of those activities that brings together dads and their kids.

I notice that, every so often, I find myself exposing them to certain brands, experiences and little pieces of pop culture that were part of my story.  Brands that strike an emotional chord to me.  Brands that, deep inside, I selfishly wish can also be part of their story.  There are few brands that I think are riding this wave very well..  From Converse All Stars, to the comeback of American muscle cars with their retro 60's feel, to annimation scripts carefully written to connect to different generations... you see this manifest in so many ways.

The organizers of the Rock-In-Rio Music Festival have done an outstanding job marketing to the thousands of Brazilians who went to the first festival back in 1985.  At the concerts held last year in Rio, you could see the power of two generations enjoying the same experience.

What other multi-generational opportunities are out there?

December 11, 2012

Modern Architecture says goodbye to Oscar Niemeyer

The World of Architecture says goodbye to a Brazilian genius, Oscar Niemeyer.  The great news is that he leaves behind not only dozens of striking buildings but his greatest legacy is having used his talent to create Brasilia.

I remember visiting Brasilia for the first time as a child.  The building I was most impressed by was Niemeyer's cathedral designed as two hands praying.  The inside was just as spectacular with an amazing open space and tinted blue glass creating beautiful reflections.  It was one of those moments where I felt at completely at awe, so much beauty to elevate a temple of worship.  For a 12 year-old boy, that was probably the moment I started falling in love with architecture.

November 21, 2012

Hyper Island Master Class in Buenos Aires this week!

Three amazing days immersed in a Hyper Island Master Class in Buenos Aires!  Thought-provocative content, intellectual stimulation, re-thinking business models, re-wiring how we approach our brand development process...  this is the type of thing you need to do every once in a while to break away from our conventional 9-to-5 (if there ever was one). 

It is so refreshing, from time to time, to break away from the work we do to listen and interact with smart people from completely diffferent walks of life.  I have always been curious about Hyper Island and this was well worth the trip. 

I need to do more of this...

November 9, 2012

Explaining Marketing ROI in a fun way

After a week discussing Marketing ROI, it was fun receiving this video from a colleague....

October 29, 2012

MoMA Century of the Child

After Istanbul, I spent a few days in New York.  I ended up going to MoMA, which is always fascinating.   I enjoyed a very interesting exhibit called The Century of the Child - Growing by Design 1900-2000.    For anyone interested in design, furniture, toys and inspiration for product and packaging design... worth spending a few hours exploring.


 This was a poster that I saw on one the walls. Pretty inspiring. I hope it happens soon...

At the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul

I was in magnificent Istanbul last week.  At the end of a busy business agenda, I managed to go to the Spice Bazaar, a place I had been many years ago, but I wanted to go back.  For anyone who enjoys the art of selling, this place is absolutely fantastic.  A marketplace that has been a trading post for centuries, the people who work in 88 vaulted stores know their craft like no one else.  Here you'll find the finest caviar from around the World, Iranian saffron, flower teas, to the very local Turkish Delights.

Take your time to speak the salesmen and you'll quickly understand why these are the best negotiators you'll probably meet in your life.

Another reason to celebrate Santiago de Chile...

October 12, 2012

The frustrations of online customer service

My younger daughter was recently admitted to the Swiss-Brazilian School here in São Paulo, so the other day, I ended up buying a Rosetta Stone German Level I software at the Miami International Airport.  I heard good things about this learning program, so I was excited to come home and install it.  Valentina was excited too, as she sat next to me and we went through the different steps.  To our frustration we couldn't get the program to run.  We tried several times, installing, uninstalling, reading the instructions over and over to find out what the problem was.

We finally decided to go to their website and call them with our doubts.  No luck.  We couldn't get anyone to answer the phone.  Ok, so then we tried the 'chat now' button.... wait.... wait... wait... no luck.

Online service is supposed to be a wonderful resource, a natural evolution of the old call centers... are companies taking it seriously?

September 8, 2012

The newsstand of tomorrow... cool urban space or app store?

On weekends, I enjoy going to the newsstand to buy the paper and check out anything new.  Because I like the ritual of going there and browsing, I never feel inclined to subscribe to my favorite magazines.  Although, I've also been downloading a number of non-Brazilian publications on the iPad, there's something special about looking at the covers, flicking through the pages and picking out a title that I usually don't on a regular basis more like an exercise of exploration.

From a marketing standpoint, this is also an impulse channel that has huge potential and is very underdeveloped.

Some newsstands here in São Paulo are fantastic but the vast majority are pretty standard, nothing special about them.  I was happy to read that Abril - Brazil's leading magazine publisher - has just launched a contest for architects and engineers to design the next generation of newsstands.  The winning concept will be built in a new renovated public space adjacent to the Largo da Batata subway station.

I'm very curious to see what will come out of this movement.

September 6, 2012

Bacardi with a good friend

This week, I met with my friend Fabio di Giammarco - the guy who runs Bacardi Brazil .  I keep forgeting how nice it is to meet with friends for a drink, enjoy good conversation and chill out after a day at the office.  I got a do more of that.  Fabio has one of those dream jobs, working on a cool category with legendary brands.  We ended up talking marketing (which is inevitable) and he talked about his new campaign for Bacardi Green Apple.

I love the campaign.  The suspense of people taking to the streets protesting... the release of the senses...  and the urban cool vibe of a great bar scene celebrated with the World's most famous rum.  The production quality (do you see the bat graffitti on the brick wall?) and sound track is amazing.  Campaign created by Agência Peralta, São Paulo.

I told you he had a dream job.

August 21, 2012

I went to an Apple Authorized Dealer here in São Paulo called A2YOU the other day.  I needed some technical support for our MacBook.  My younger daughter went with me and immediately went to one of the Mac stations.  I was surprised when a salesperson came over and asked permission if she could answer an online survey on her thoughts and perceptions of Apple products.  I was quite amazed that they would be interested in the opinion of a 10-year-old.

As a marketer who is used to commissioning market research, it was interesting to see the type of questionnaire they're using to better understand their fan base.  The Apple experience still surprises me in so many positive ways.

New Oreo campaign in Argentina

Here's our new Oreo TV campaign in Argentina.  

The spot communicates the new 4 pack.  This packaging initiative is a response to Moms who are looking for smaller pack formats for kids on the go.  The campaign, created by the DraftFCB Buenos Aires Team, uses the brand's well-known twist-lick-and-dunk ritual, this time in a completely different setting....

There are so many wonderful campaigns coming out of Argentina lately.  One of the things I personally enjoy is the acting.  I hope you like this particular execution.

From a marketing perspective, Oreo is one of those magical brands easy to fall in love with.  It's amazing how this little cookie can inspire so much creativity around the World.

August 4, 2012

Ordering pizza on the go

This is our Club Social Pizza launch campaign created by agency DraftFCB.  You only have two ways to order pizza on-the-go... trying to get the pizza delivery guy to find you wherever you may be (which is not easy if you're a skateboarder), or trying out our new product launch.
Your choice.

July 14, 2012

Snoozebox Portable Hotel... with a little help from shipping containers

I'm totally amazed and becoming a little obsessed by the many applications people are finding for shipping containers.  After personally visiting the MüvBox restaurants in Montreal last week, I kept thinking of the challenge host cities of mega sport events are facing in terms of lodging.  I ended up discovering this really cool company called Snoozebox.

I'm sure these are the type of solutions a city like Rio de Janeiro should be exploring since we'll be hosting FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

It will be interesting to see what happens during the London games and its application to other events.

July 11, 2012

Müvbox in Montreal

My wife & I spent a few days in Montreal as part of our summer vacation , a place we have always talked about visiting one day.  We ended up going to the Montreal Jazz Festival, spending 5 hours biking all over town and I finally was able to experience Müvbox - a concept I had read about years ago.  The container-that-turns-into-a-restaurant concept that has got so much much buzz.  Fantastic design, great location by the river, good service and a lobster roll that was far superior to any fast food.

June 30, 2012

Sensorial experience at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami

I spent the week in Miami attending business meetings.  I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental.  Every evening this video would be playing in the room.  I felt in captures very well the hotel's vibe.  Great to see how they are providing travelers with a total sensorial experience.  You can feel the Mandarin Oriental brand DNA in everything... from the lobby's interior design, artwork, to the wonderful asian fusion cuisine at Cafe Sambal. Well-though out brand integration. As a guy who spent his career in consumer marketing, it's fascinating to see the power of great marketing in services.

April 28, 2012

At the Cadbury Chocolate Plant in Bournville... a place of dreams

Just back from a wonderful trip to Bournville in the Uk where we had an innovation meeting inside the Cadbury Chocolate Plant.....  amazing!  It's the type of factory that any marketer would love to visit.  It's not an ordinary factory, it's the birthplace of one of the World's iconic brands... a place with so much chocolate history, so much soul... a true village dedicated to the love of chocolate.

Here's the new campaign for the Cadbury Dairy Milk Bubbly... a softly aerated chocolate delight.  This execution is part of the 'Cadbury Joyville' campaign, which captures so well the feeling of magical chocolatey feeling I had this week.


April 12, 2012

See What Unfolds

Check out the new Trident TV campaign that was launched this week in the U.S. Market. I love the theme 'see what unfolds', which is a simple 3-word way of expressing how I've been feeling lately.

In a world with so many things going on, so much content, so many connections, so many demands... it feels liberating to just see what unfolds.

March 24, 2012

Inspired by socks

When you think there's nothing else to invent in the athletic shoe category, here comes Nike again to prove us wrong. Very cool and promising innovation... inspired by socks. Who would have thought?

Great article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek: Is Nike's Flyknit The Swoosh of the Future?

3:14 minutes for an amazing shopping experience

I just came out of the Apple Store at the Dadeland Mall in Miami. It took me just 3:14 minutes the new Ipad, from ordering it with one of the sales attendants, to swiping my card and out of the store. It's not only about superior design, apps and reliability. Apple continues to amaze me in when it comes to the buying experience. Remarkable.

March 10, 2012

Oreo 100th Birthday Party | Worldwide

Back from New York this week where I had the opportunity of going to the Oreo 100th celebration in Union Square. Here's how the world's favorite cookie was celebrated from Shanghai to Dubai to Bogota...

March 3, 2012

February 23, 2012

Celebrating Rio

Last day of carnival and it makes me think about how Rio is finally becoming so cool. Yes,it has a lot to do with the fact that Rio will be one of the host cities of the FIFA 2014 World Cup with the final match at a totally renovated Maracanã Stadium and will also host the 2016 Summer Olympics. From a marketing standpoint, what you also see is how the cidade maravilhosa - the birthplace of bossa nova - is inspiring films, fashion, vodkas and even the boom of coconut waters.

My wife and I lived in Rio back in the mid 90's and we never quite understood how it took so long for people to start rediscovering one of the World's most original and beautiful cities.

Falling in love with the movies all over again...

Martin Scorsese makes us all fall in love again with the movies with his extraordinary 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret'. This is a wonderful celebration of the art of movie making...

Lacta Chjocolates celebrating 100 years

Not many consumers brands have been able to stand the test of time, especially here in Brazil. Lacta - Brazil's leading chocolate brand - is celebrating 100 years. Brazilians have grown up with Lacta tablets, Diamante Negro, Sonho de Valsa bom boms and the traditional Lacta variety box.

This is the TV campaign that celebrates Lacta Chocolates...

February 13, 2012


It's always great to read about how new products are created. What was the genesis of the product idea. In this particular case, I enjoyed how Ad Age told the story of Kraft Foods' MilkBite, launched in the U.S. market and how Groga5 created the campaign.

February 10, 2012

belVita Breakfast Cookie in the U.S. Market

This is the belVita breakfast cookie campaign that supports the U.S. launch, in case you didn't see during pre-Super Bowl. Campaign created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky. After our Brazilian roll-out, it was great to see belVita launched in the World's largest biscuit market.

January 28, 2012

Golf in the dark

While in Mumbai, on one of the days, I was able to squeeze in two hours of golf from 6 - 8am, before a full-day of meetings. The course of choice was the Willingdon Golf Club. Because we needed to get a very early start, the first two holes were completely in the dark, on a course I had never been too before. It was my very first time using glow-in-the-dark golf balls before and I had to trust the caddie was giving me the right on direction, location of bunker and terrain. I was amazed of how well I completed the first holes. You suddenly realize that if you focus on what you're doing, relax, rely blindlessly on your muscule memory, you can accomplish what you set out to do. I learned that losing a bit of that sense of control is actually a good thing.

Very cool experience.

Cadbury Dairy Milk creative from India

I just spent an amazing week in Mumbai, India, attending a global chocolate & biscuit meeting. Amazing on so many levels. Starting off with trade visits in the streets of Mumbai was incredible.
It's remarkable how much inventory shop owners get into these very small shops. Low out-of-pocket SKU's, value propositions, enhanced shelf impression and displays exploring every possible inch of the store was pretty much consistent. We then had the opportunity of spending a few hours speaking to local teens and listening to the way they consider, shop, interact with our categories and brands. These were Indian teens but much of their aspirations and comments on their day-to-day lives reminded me of teens in Colombia or Mexico.

We'll, if you're in the chocolate business and in India, you know just how iconic the Cadbury Dairy Milk brand is here. So, we spent time listening to the local team talk about the brand's success over the years. Much of that success linked to fantastic creative from Ogilvy always using deep insights and a pulse on local culture. Watching the advertising reel with spots from the past decade was incredible. I personally enjoyed the current Shubh Aarambh campaign. The insight is that there's a saying in India that when someone is off to something important, they should eat something sweet.

Simple storytelling, suberb acting, product central to the story. Great creative spans boundaries...

January 21, 2012

The story behind the chinese takeout container

I've always been a huge fan of packaging, both structural and graphic. I enjoyed reading the other day in The New York Times Magazine the story behind the iconic chinese takeout container - this simple, super functional and totally ubiquitous container.

There always seems to be a good story behind simple concepts.

Movements are cooler when they happen spontaneously

One of the most fascinating movements in the past months was not necessarily digital.... what is being called the Post-It Wars is just one of those cool cases that any marketing guy would love this to happen with your own brand.

It`s interesting to see that, many times, the best brand movements initiate and spread spontaneously, a legitimate grassroots movement and not the result of the traditional creative process.

January 13, 2012

Life captured in HD

This week, I'm skiing in beautiful Beaver Creek Colorado. Clear skies, 7F, base depth 71cm... life is good. One thing that caught my attention thies season is the amount of skiers using the cameras mounted on their helmets. At the ski shop I checked ou the GoPro HD Hero2 - "The World's Most Versatile Camera". Check-out what these little things can do.

In our YouTube way of living, it seems like life has to be captured in HD.

January 2, 2012

First Jell-O just for adults with the use of new vending technology

I'm always interested in following the evolution of vending machines. So, I was very happy see how Kraft Foods is using a new technology to test six jelly desserts targeted at adults. The machine uses an optical sensor fitted to the top of the machine to recognise the shape of the human face. A computer processor then carries out a series of calculations based on measurements such as the distance between the eyes, nose and ears. This new vending machine analyses users' age and gender has been launched in the U.S. Market by Intel and Kraft Foods, called iSample.

Kraft Foods in the U.S. is using this cool technology to sample Temptations - a jelly-based dessert marketed as 'the first Jell-O that's just for adults'.

One of the concerns about sampling programs is making sure the investment goes against the brand's core demographic. In this case, the use of this new vending technology allows
Kraft to tailor the product to the shopper, and exclude children from the adult-focused promotion.

You can only imagine many other ways this technology can be used in. Intel says it intends to retrofit the technology to existing vending machines to allow companies to study what type of people are buying their products.