Being from South America and now living in the United States, I’ve seen two completely different worlds of marketing.
So I’d like to take you on a backpacking trip, or “mochilero”, and explore marketing in South America with you.
South America is full of different cultures, people, and thinking.
No two countries are alike, but as a child growing up, I was exposed to all of them at some point. I can tell you, the unique aspects of each country are not hard to see. Let me show you what I mean.
First, I’ll share a great commercial from 1998.
For Brazil, soccer is not just a match. It’s a defining part of the culture that involves the whole country. We scream, we cry, and we put all our soul into that sport — so it’s no wonder how prominent it is in the country’s marketing.
On the other hand, Argentina is well known for its European influence. It’s a country of people who appreciate great plays, movies, reading and so on. This commercial from 2012, for example, shows the endless battle between man and woman in a very theatrical way that connects back to the roots of Argentinian culture.
There are major differences in the ways each of these countries thinks and act. And it shows up in the way they market to their consumers. It’s important to recognize and understand these differences so you can better connect with the people living there.
I remember watching the same “Johnson & Johnson” shampoo commercial with an Argentinian accent, Chilean accent, Colombian accent and in Portuguese. All I could think was, “where are the insights that represent each country?” We might look alike but we are definitely different. I would suggest international companies get more specific when advertising in South America, and focus on the individual cultures and what makes them unique beyond the language and accents.
Marketing in South America is growing. By 2020, it will represent one out of every ten dollars in the world economy, according to the Harvard Business Review.