Brazil’s ‘Tropical Spring’ will live on long after the storm subsides

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When protestors took to the streets of Brazil last summer, businesses could have been forgiven for thinking it didn’t concern them. With the political climate at boiling point, companies were anxious to retreat from the action and wait for the tropical storm to subside.

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Brazil’s ‘Tropical Spring’ will live on long after the storm subsides

  1. 1. Brazil’s ‘Tropical Spring’ will live on long after the storm subsides When protestors took to the streets of Brazil last summer, businesses could have been forgiven for thinking it didn’t concern them. With the political climate at boiling point, companies were anxious to retreat from the action and wait for the tropical storm to subside. Share this However, it soon became clear that brands were involved – whether they liked it or not. Fiat’s ‘Take to the Streets’ slogan was taken up along with the placards and banners, and paraded through the streets as the perfect tagline for a country in revolt. Meanwhile Johnnie Walker was horrified to find its 2011/12 strapline ‘the giant is no longer asleep’ was also appropriated by the mob. Both phrases were hijacked as hashtags and used to fuel Brazil’s first social media-driven mass protest. Understandably the brands’ first reaction was to distance themselves from the crisis. Fiat explained that the slogan referred to, “the joy and passion of Brazilians concerning football and its competitions being held in the country”. Johnnie Walker hastily pointed out that a whole year had elapsed since they had last used their phrase for promotional purposes. And of course, this was the only sensible response, since any hint of ‘cashing in’ on the riots would have been brand suicide. But for brands less closely implicated in the summer’s events, there are still important lessons to be gleaned from the noise in the street. The use of brand slogans as rallying calls shows that brands are an integral part of the way Brazilian consumers define themselves – providing a sense of personal identity and individual importance at a time when people feel overlooked and disenfranchised by the political class. Intelligence Applied
  2. 2. Brazil’s ‘Tropical Spring’ will live on long after the storm subsides Brazil is a country crying out for ways to express itself, and is ready to embrace brands that help people do that more effectively. Brand marketing – now more than ever – needs to step up a gear, speaking less about product and price, and more about values and aspirations. The battleground for market share in Brazil’s expanding economy is in the hearts, not the heads, of the new middle class. Another key consideration in light of the uprising is the role of patriotism in brand building. Whilst international technology and automotive brands are generally well-received, products in other categories should focus closely on local values and messaging to stay relevant during this moment of national coming-together. This political engagement in Brazil is leading for calls for greater accountability within the political sphere, which could very easily transfer to the commercial world. Consumers have shown they are prepared to question their statesmen and institutions, and this increases the pressure on companies to ensure their own affairs are in order. In an increasingly transparent world, they cannot afford to ignore the social and ethical aspects of how they operate – in fact, the moment is right for businesses to tell people how they are tackling those issues. Share this Recently, the international marketing community convened in Miami for the Festival of Media LatAm to discuss the future of media and marketing in Brazil, and one message came through loud and clear: Brazil is on the threshold of a new era. The country’s GDP growth may not be meeting expectations, but the aspirations of its people are bigger than ever, and brands can meet this demand in a way that even the most attentive politicos cannot. The major events including the World Cup and Rio 2016 are part of the transition to the New Brazil – and indeed, catalysts for it – but the shift taking place is much more fundamental. Once the tropical storm dies down, marketers will be speaking to a very different Brazil than before: the question is, what will they say? Those which put independence, choice and empowerment at the heart of their campaigns will be best placed to win hearts, minds and wallets in the new order. If you would like to talk to us about this report, please get in touch via enquiries@tnsglobal.com or on Twitter @tns_global About the author Rafael Munhoz joined TNS Brazil in 2012 as Client Service Director. He has over 14 years consumer insight experience, which includes a large number of studies through all stages of brand, product and service life cycle: concept, product, positioning, brand image, communication, sales forecasting and customer satisfaction. About TNS TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. TNS is part of Kantar, the data investment management division of WPP and one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy groups. Please visit www.tnsglobal.com for more information. Intelligence Applied

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