December 31, 2013

Sacrificing personal space, overemphasizing common areas

London, last leg of our year-end Family holiday.  Yesterday, we arrived at the Citizen M Hotel Bankside.  Cool check-in process all automated, borrowing a chapter from curb side check-ins at airports or ATMs.

What I thought was very interesting was the pod bedroom concept, which I had already experienced at the Pod 51 Hotel in NYC.  More and more, I seem to see a trend in urban boutique hotels that are sacrificing personal space and overemphasizing on the lounge experience that fuses canteen-style dinning, bar, working stations with Mac computers, with a fantastic attention to design that feels very socially inviting. It reminds me of how Virgin Atlantic re-conceptualized airport lounges decades ago and created a new industry standard.

I wonder if this hotel movement has any correlation with so many news articles I've been reading on how families are leaving suburbia for smaller living space in more centrally-located urban locations to be closer to work and study but also taking advantage of many urban renovation projects.  Speaking to friends from around the World, I keep hearing that many don't actually need such a large house in a place that requires commuting by car everyday, taking out the SUV just for latte.  High street versus suburban mall.  Running through century-old parks versus treadmill in the two-car garage.

This is exactly what happened to our Family this year.  We moved from a large house in a Sao Paulo suburb to an apartment with half the living space in Madrid's downtown that allows us to walk to the wonderful Retiro Park, Mercado de La Paz or the Prado Museum.  Sacrificing personal space to be able to live close to fabulous common areas.

It's another example of Adam Morgan's 'Sacrifice and Overcommit' principle from his book Eat Big Fish.  Make sure you obsessively focus on the things you really value, or in business, on the things you can execute better than anyone else and de-emphasize the rest.

Coming to think of it, what a nice thought as we move into 2014.  London is always so inspiring...

December 28, 2013

Nintendo Audio Guides at the Louvre

Yesterday at the Louvre Museum in Paris, it was interesting to see how the Nintendo brand is exploring new applications like audio guides for museum visitors.

December 23, 2013

What brand showed up on my ski holiday?

I'm enjoying our family ski holiday in Baqueira-Beret, Spain.  It was fun to see one of my favorite brands sponsoring the resort's main ski gondola.  Just a smart and playful way for Audi to communicate its Quattro technology to a target demographic that loves mountains.

December 20, 2013

...but well dressed

During Christmas shopping this week, I found this store window that in just a few words says a lot.  As we gradually move out of an economic crisis and people look at 2014 with a lot more optimism.... a little sentence that reminds as that a bit of fashion is always good.

Happy Holidays!

December 18, 2013

Turkey's iGaranti on The Most Contagious 2013 List

By far the coolest and most comprehensive mobile banking application I saw this year was Turkey's iGaranti, launched with 23 financial functions into one very powerful app.  So, I wasn't surprised (yet extremely happy) to see that it was featured in The Most Contagious 2013 List.

Garanti in Turkey, is one of those banks that is leading a true revolution in digital banking.

December 17, 2013

Mashable's 10 Startups to Watch in 2014

Our DDB Spain Planning Director, Samanta Júdez, is one of those wired and very passionate professionals who's constantly telling me about trends and topics I should keep an eye on.  This week, she sent me a link on Mashable's 10 Stratups to Watch in 2014.  It's interesting to see how there are a few mobile banking apps that made this year's list.

Happy holidays!

December 9, 2013

Partnering with the World's #1 Restaurant

Today, I'm here in Mexico City to communicate BBVA's partnership with El Celler de Can Roca - 2013 Best Restaurant in the World.  Next year, will will take the three Roca Brothers, Joan, Josep and Jordi, plus 20 of their staff members, to tour Lima, Bogotá, Medellin, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Houston and New York providing unique dining experiences to our clients.

During the tour, the Roca Brothers will be working with local producers to identify ingredients that can be added to their future menus.  We will also work with local culinary schools to find talent that will work on the tour and spend four months in training at the original restaurant located in Girona, Spain.

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity of dining at El Celler de can Roca and it was breathtaking, a wonderful combination of phenomenal food and engaging storytelling from Joan on the whybofneach dish, to Josep on the selection of wines, to Jordi on his desert creations....  an experience like no other.

There's a lot in common between private/corporate banking with the world of fine cuisine:  customer experience, attention to details, constant reinvention, catering to specific needs.  This is the beginning of an exciting new platform for the bank, adding to our global sponsorships of LigaBBVA and NBA.

November 20, 2013

Corporate Responsibility Initiative "Yo Soy Empleo"

This week, we're airing here in Spain a new campaign communicating one of BBVA's key corporate responsibility initiatives, called Yo Soy Empleo - a program that rewards small businesses with € 3000 for each new hire.  The objective is to generate 10,000 new jobs in Spain.  

This campaign, created by DDB Spain, brings together a few of the employees and business managers who benefit from the program to share their personal stories.

November 16, 2013

TEDx Day in Madrid!

I'm spending the day listening to inspiring stories at TEDx Cibeles.

I loved a presentation by Swedish Designers Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin on their breakthrough Invisible Helmet.  I had a chance of talking to them afterwards.  A wonderfully well-exectuted idea based on a relevant consumer need... and it saves lives. The beautiful intersection of design, technology, fashion, innovative thinking and impotantly, execution.

Pure inspiration.

November 11, 2013

Things that you no longer need because you have a smartphone

Check out Buzz Feeds's list of things you don't need because of smartphones.  Strange but not surprising that banks are not on the list.  It makes me realize that there A lot of cool mobile banking applications that we're working on that need to be launched, communicated and disseminated to change perceptions.

October 21, 2013

Our new BBVA Compass Campaign airing in Houston and Phoenix

Our BBVA Compass Anywhere Banking campaign, with NBA Stars Kevin Durant and James Harden currently airing in the Houston and Phoenix markets... heating up the 2014/15 Season.

October 14, 2013

BBVA's First Global Campaign - BBVA Anywhere Banking

After four months of hard work,  we've launched BBVA's first Global Advertising Campaign under the 'Anywhere Banking' concept with NBA Stars James Harden, Kevin Durant and LigaBBVA Stars Iker Casillas, Andres Iniesta.

Anywhere Banking is BBVA's new platform featuring a wide range of financial services designed to make people's lives easier, available anytime, anywhere on mobile phones, tablet, computer devices or in ATMs around the World.

The campaign, created by DDB Spain and produced by Madrid-based Tesauro, is based on the insight that great athletes do amazing things look easy.  It's on air in Spain, Portugal, U.S. and in a few days in Turkey.

I hope you enjoy it.

October 11, 2013

Computerworld: It's time digital banking teams took games seriously

Who said online banking can't be fun?  Interesting article in Compterworld on the rise of gamefication as a way to enegage online/mobile banking customers.  The article mentions BBVA Game, a wonderful initiative led by one of the most inspiring marketing guys in the Company, Bernardo Crespo.

Computerworld Malaysia - BLOG: It's time digital banking teams took games seriously

September 18, 2013

Omnichannel: The New Normal for Retail Banks

Interesting article in Banking Technology, by Alison Wilkes, on a subject we've been discussing a lot these past months....

Omnichannel: the new normal for retail banks

September 5, 2013

Making Of - BBVA's First Global TV Campaign

This has been an exciting week here at the office. As we prepare for the launch of BBVA's first global advertising campaign later this month, we released this Making Of Video to the press here in Spain. The buzz generated by the local TVs, online and in the press show a lot of interest for our campaign which brings together LigaBBVA Stars Andres Iniesta and Iker Casillas and NBA Stars James Harden and Kevin Durant. More news on Sept. the 20th...

August 21, 2013

Transformations in society require more innovation in banking

New video on how transformations in society are forcing companies around the World to put more focus on innovation. Here at BBVA, we're committed in continuously developing innovative banking products and services for a new way of banking. More to come...

August 7, 2013

LigaBBVA is the most followed banking Twitter account

Here at BBVA, we're celebrating a milestone in our LigaBBVA social media strategy:
1 Million Twitter followers! 

Read article published in Visible Banking by Christophe Langlois, who tracks 3,000+ Twitter accounts in the financial space (banks, insurance, cards, payments) and reports that the LigaBBVA is currently the most followed banking Twitter account in the World.

August 6, 2013

Three great examples of the farmer to table movement

Everytime I travel, I try to visit a local market.  Since the beginning of the summer vacation, my wife and I have been to three wonderful markets in the past ten days.  Mercado de San Anton in Madrid, Marche de Vieux Port in Quebec and the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto (video below).  With the growth of the farmer to table movement all around the World, cities are renovating, celebrating and converting their markets into cultural centers.  It's a great way to get a pulse on a city's culinary vibe.  There's always something new to learn from talking to local vendors.

Immortal Fans

A few weeks ago at work, this video inspired us and opened a debate on how we need to evolve our sports marketing sponsorships.  The challenge for any marketing organization today is how to bring more social responsibility in the things we do, in the way we engage with our consumers, in the positions we take.  Not an easy task but certainly one that brings more purpose to our role in society.

Sport Club Recife, a Brazilian professional soccer team, has launched a program called Importal Fans which is a wonderful example of how you can combine the passion of sports with a true social movement that transcends the sport itself. 


July 7, 2013

My First Two Months On Public Transportation

For the past 13 years, I've lived in a house in the suburbs.  So obviously, a car has inevitably been part of my daily routine.  For two months now, I've been living in downtown Madrid using public transportation to go and come back from work and also using a bike on the weekends to explore the city's many parks.  It's been liberating.  Many articles have been written on how more efficient and eco-friendly public transportation alternatives will increase the quality of life in our metro areas.  I couldn't agree more.

The other day, on my morning commute, there was this ad inside the bus for a new car sharing service in Madrid called Bluemove "Your Car When You Need It.":  another move in the right direction.  Do all of us actually need to own an automobile or will the car sharing movement transform old habits?

June 13, 2013

Title Sponsorship of LigaBBVA - the World´s best soccer league

This week, we finally announced the renewal of our title sponsorship of la LigaBBVA - the first division Spanish league - for the 2013/14 Season.  These past weeks, my team and I spent a lot of time working on the details of this sponsorship so it certainly feels great that we have finally announced it and we can now move into finalizing the activation plans.

Here´s the video that was used in this week´s press conference.  It shows why, for many soccer fans from around the World, this is the best league.  The numbers tell the story.

June 8, 2013

How can you rationalize shopping in tough economic times...

"I´m not a shopaholic.  I´m helping the economy."

Sponsoring the NBA 3X Tour in Madrid this weekend

The NBA 3X Tour is a grassroots initiative for kids around the world to immerse in the excitement of street basketball.  Here at BBVA, we are a proud sponsor of th NBA 3X Tours
in Europe and Latin America. This is the event that is taking place this weekend in downtown Madrid, where 140 teams have signed up for 3 on 3 basketball.

Corporate sposoring of the big leagues is great, but there's something very special in supporting grassroot initiatives like this one, just providing the means for kids just to hav fun, compete and celebrate outdoor sports.

Bringing together stars of two great leagues

BBVA - as the Official Bank of the NBA - and title sponsor of the World's best soccer league La LigaBBVA, brought together Spanish legends Casillas and Iniesta to watch Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Miami this weekend.

Mashup-upnin the  wonderful world of sports...

May 19, 2013

Finding inspiration in the workplace

This week, I've scheduled time to spend with my team in our Innovation Center.  I've always been a believer that the work environment can and should be designed to stimulate all the good things that make us more productive.  Smart architecture promotes collaborative thinking, fosters creativity, creates a more positive environment for people to spend time together.  It's a simple concept and yet, so many offices are just so uninspiring.

Well,  here's where I'll be for a few days this week....

Mobile Cash made easy

One thing that I'm quickly learning is that, when it comes to financial services, simplicity is definitely the way to go. BBVA has a convenient and intuitive service available here in Spain called "Efectivo Móvil" (Mobile Cash), which allows you to send someone money through an SMS message. Then, the person goes to an ATM, punches in their mobile number and the code they received in the message. Done.

This past Mother's Day, I was in Madrid and my daughter are still finishing up this semester in São Paulo before relocating. It would have been great if I had this type of service available through my Brazilian bank account. They would have surprised their Mom with something special.

Mobile devices are redefining everthing around us, one app at a time...

May 18, 2013

Mobile app during Copa del Rey 2013 Finals

Friday night, I went to the amazing Santiago Bernabéu Stadium to watch Spain's Copa del Rey final match: Real Madrid against Atlético de Madrid.  For a soccer fan, an unforgettable moment.  The organizers created a mobile app that allowed access to live streaming for those inside the venue.  So, I was able to watch replays on my iPhone, something that I've always wanted to do.  Best of both worlds, the energy of a live match with the ability to see in details those moments that matter most.

A lot is being said about mobile acting as a second screen to enhance the TV experience.  Here, we have mobile enhancing the live sports experience.  Cool.

May 5, 2013

Targeting Baby Boomers in way that is cool

I saw this billboard in downtown Madrid yesterday.  Yes, youth sells but there's way more to demographics than the twenty-something crowd.  It's encouraging to see a brand targeting baby boomers in a way that is not stereotypical florida-country-club-retirement.  In this case, Ray-Ban's billboard shows what looks like a group of guys in their 50's (or maybe even 60's) going to play a gig somewhere.

In a world where there's a growing segment of the population that is learning to live longer, healthier and way more active than previous generations, it's great to see brands that are showing new perspectives on reaching and connecting with this cohort.  Fascinating implications for categories as broad as travel, fashion, sports cars or financial services.  This is especially important for a brand with tremendous heritage that seems to continuously stay relevant over time.  Not easy to do.

Rock on.

May 1, 2013

From here on it's pretty much all new...

I've always believed that, for all of us who have an appreciation of how technology is helping us to become a truly global community, it's only natural that, fom time to time, we feel the need to live different experiences. To step outside of the sandbox we end up creating for ourselves. I guess my desire for change operates more or less on a four to five year cycle.

So, after six years in São Paulo, I've decided to accept an exciting offer from BBVA - one of the World's leading financial groups - to lead their Marketing / Advertising / Sponsorship teams, based in Madrid. A complete professional change from years in consumer marketing working on fantastic brands like Pepsi, 7Up, Doritos, Quaker, Oreo... to financial services, which is becoming more tech than ever.

In fact, the digital/mobile revolution that is taking place in the world of banking is one of the reasons I'm so enthusiastic with my challenge ahead. BBVA has been aggressively investing in new technology platforms for decades with the vision of making it easier for people to build the future they want for themselves. Take a look at their awesome innovation center here in Madrid.

Other reasons for my excitement are the amazing sports marketing assets the group has, like the LigaBBVA - title sponsor of the world's best soccer league, as well as, BBVA - official bank of the NBA.

However, a big life-changing decision shouldn't only be about career. Relocating to a new country also adds a fascinating new perspective on everyday life. That's why I'm thrilled that we're moving to Spain. So far, my life has gravitated between Brazil, Latin America and the United States, a cultural blend that has made me into who I am. Now, my Family and I look forward to writing new stories, exploring new paths.

From here on, it's pretty much all new...

April 18, 2013

Making it hip to drink Chinese tea

I met a good friend in a coffee shop here in São Paulo this evening.  Next to the counter where I was ordering a mocha,  there was a display with an assortment of tea products under a brand that caught my attention:  Or Tea?  

What a wonderfully intriguing brand name, especially because these products were displayed in a place where people come to enjoy the obvious... a cup of coffee.  A brand that doesn't go against its primary contender but beautifully suggests that there is an alternative.   The question mark creates an invitation to reflect that there are other options, other than espressos, cappuccinos and lattes.

The packaging art direction was different than anything I've seen in the category.

When I got home, I looked up the brand and on their website.  This is the concept.  In a World of bold messaging, I loved the subtleness, simplicity and storytelling graphics.

April 1, 2013

Great source of creative work on Facebook...

Looking for inspiration on great creative work that brands are posting on Facebook, check out Newsfeeder.  As a proud owner of a Mini Cooper S, I love this specfic piece of creative.

March 30, 2013

What does the Seal Dribble and the Easter Egg have in common?

Sports is always a fertile territory to find inspiration in creative thinking, a key ingredient in innovation.   

Years ago, I was captivated by this young Brazilian soccer player who had a rather peculiar dribbling talent.  In a world of Ronaldo, Messi and Ibrahimovic, you probably never heard of Kerlon Souza.  

Well, Kerlon became relatively well known among soccer aficionados, thanks to Youtube, with what became known as the seal dribble.  A creative name for the skillful ability to flick a ball and bounce it on your head while passing opponents and running into the penalty area making it difficult for defense players to disarm you without fouling (it's a lot more difficult than it sounds).  Anyone who follows the beautiful game knows how the chances of scoring increase significantly if you're able to take the ball into that precious 18-yard box.  So, Kerlon found an ingenious way of dribbling - using head instead of feet, going aerial instead of trying to dribble the defense on the ground.  A solution that was surprising, unexpected and rather disruptive.  

So today's reflection is: what spaces are we not using to increase our chances of scoring?  If the games's on the ground, how can we occupy a new space to fight our battles in an unexpected way?

This week, Kerlon's seal dribble came to mind because of what happens during Easter Season in Brazil's dynamic chocolate category.   Anybody who has been to a Brazilian supermarket in March has seen how Easter eggs are hanged over the store's main aisles creating a very festive in-store theater., captivating shoppers like you can see in the photo below.  Lacta - Brazil's quintessential chocolate brand - was the brand that initiated this tradition decades ago.

How can this in-store success story inspire us in other categories?

Happy Easter!

March 26, 2013

Guest blogging at Eat Big Fish

I'm now a guest author for the EatBigFish Blog, writing about different challenger brands that I have come to admire in Latin America.  The first post was about Havaianas and this week I talk about Juan Valdez Cafes, a beautiful story from Colombia...

March 24, 2013

Media mash-up

With the explosion of video-sharing sites, I wasn't at all surprised to see in my Saturday newspaper a print ad for Hyundai's i30 asking people to check out a video posted to that reinforces the main message in the ad.  I couldn't resist and ended up watching a rather amateur video taken at the Frankfurt Auto Show of the president and chief designer of a German competitor commenting on the qualities of the i30.   More and more we start seeing a clear invitation to continue a story through the second screen concept.  I love how we're living in a time of complete media mash-up.

March 16, 2013

Visiting Wayra São Paulo

Last Thursday, I went to visit Wayra São Paulo - Telefonica's global start-up accelerator initiative - and met Carlos Pessoa, who took me on a tour of this fascinating one innovation project.  Below a video I found of him talking a bit about the what they're up to and a few tips on he keeps tabs on the 16 start-ups he currently hosts in his space.

New times require new approaches and I love how they found a way to tap into creative work that is going on in Brazil`s start-up environment.

March 5, 2013

Startup Fever in Brazil.....

Since I've been studying Mondelez' Mobile Futures project in North America - partnership  with mobile start-ups to develop new ideas for brands like Oreo, Trident, BelVita -  it seems like everywhere I look there's something about start-ups. 

Here in Brazil, Endeavor has announced a documentary telling the story of six start-ups, called "Vai Que Dá" (Go and make it happen).  I can't wait to see it.

This is the cover of this month's PME Magazine (Brazil's largest publication on small businesses)...

February 22, 2013

A bit of Nitrogen to shake up the Ice Cream Category

No matter what product category you work in, there always seems to be a new concept that reminds us that nothing is set in stone.  There's always room for new ideas, even in very well established category.  Last weekend, I was in Miami.  Some friends of mine who know how much I like innovation took me to Chill N - a small ice-cream shop that uses liquid nitrogen. 

The place is an interesting mixture of science fair with ice-cream R&D lab. Each batch is made to order, providing a nice sense of theater as nitrogen is pumped into KitchenAid mixers right in front of you.  The end result is the freshest ice cream I've ever had, something you would expect to taste straight out of an industrial facility.  

Fascinating consumer experience and proof that powerful ideas can shake up any category,
no matter how developed it might be.

February 6, 2013

Challenger brands to watch in 2013

Helen Redstone, from Eat Big Fish, lists 20 challenger brands to watch in 2013.
There's always something to learn from marketers who are shaking up their categories in different ways.

WSJ on Brazil's social media boom

Great WSJ article about how Brazil's social media boom is connected with how social we are as a culture.

January 16, 2013

Key emerging trends at CES by AdAge Digital

Great article at AdAge Digital on the key emerging trends at the International CES last week in Las Vegas, written by David Berkowitz - VP of Emerging Media at 360i (the digital agency we work with on Oreo and Club Social)

January 11, 2013

Health & Fitness at the CES Las Vegas

I just got back from three fantastic days at the CES-Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, immersed in the wonderful world of technology and its implications to every aspect of our lives.  One area of the show  that impressed me was the one dedicated to Health and Fitness.  This is a mega category that has become incredibly dynamic in the past year, fueled by the growing need for people to rethink the way they live their lives in light of alarming stats on obesity and other conditions due to sedentary behaviors.
As a user of the Nike+ Fuelband, I appreciate the ability to track how active I am during the day.  It was nice to see how Fitbit has taken the concept a little further with the Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale, that also tracks weight and body fat index, synchronizing the data wirelessly to your wristband.

Its great to see a product concept that addresses a deep consumer need, truly helping people achieve their personal goals in terms of weight and fitness.  It's technology getting very personal.

This is  a video explaining the concept...

January 2, 2013

Another case of the big guy acquiring the challenger

The story keeps repeating itself.  No matter how consolidated a category may seem to be, there's always room for new ideas, a little disruption to shake things up.  Another case of the big guy acquiring the challenger.

I remember how fascinated I was when I first heard about the carsharing model.  There's obviously a much bigger movement behind it.  You get a sense that in many markets around the World, people are going through a certain consumer hangover.   Here in Brazil, in the past years, a combination of greater access to credit, lower interest rates, growing consumer confidence, a strong currency, led to a dynamic consumer market.  All good.  However, many people woke up with more bills to pay than they had originally expected.

Do we really need to own everything we have?  Are there alternative models?  Zipcar proved that people are opened to experimenting new models that redefine ownership and, in this particular case, the traditional rental business.  Let's see how the carsharing movement evolves under new leadership.

Getting ready for the 2013 International CES next week

In a few days, I'll be going to the 2013 International CES-Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  My first time.  I'm sure it will be an awesome opportunity to see how new trends, technologies, apps, gadgets can inspire us to identify new and exciting ways for our brands to connect.  I'm particularly interested in the areas of mobile marketing, geomarketing, and solutions to elevate the in-store experience.  However, I'm also hoping that something completely unexpected makes my list.

What I find absolutely fascinating in these types of events is, after being exposed to many technologies, trying to connect the dots.  How can the technology behind the digital wallet be used as the backbone of a mileage-type program for consumer goods or how can we leverage the penetration of mobile devices in emerging markets to accelerate open innovation?  With a little imagination, what seems at first to be unrelated, can suddenly become a huge opportunity to innovate in the way we activate our brands.  Spending time at global events like Anuga, Cannes or CES, is wonderful to step away from our day-to-day to imagine how new ideas can influence behavior... and open new business opportunities.

I couldn't think of a better way to start a new year....