DPZ was founded July 1, 1968 in São Paulo, Brazil, by Roberto Duailibi, then manager of the São Paulo office of Standard Propaganda, Brazil's oldest agency; Francesc Petit and José Zaragoza, two art directors from Catalonia, Spain; and Ronald Persichetti, a graphics producer.
DPZ, generally considered to be the first Brazilian agency established by a group of individuals from the creative side, soon became known for its daring copy approaches and stylish and colorful layouts. One year after its inception, it won São Paulo's ad of the year award for a print ad or Fotoptica, a retail optical store.
A growth decade
The following decade was one of growth for DPZ, which added such clients as Rhodia (Rhone-Poulenc), Souza Cruz (cigarettes), Banco Itaú (Brazil's third-largest private bank) and Johnson & Johnson. In 1972, DPZ received its first international awards, two bronze awards in the Venice Screen Advertising World Association festival. In 1975, the agency won its first Gold Lion at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes, France, for a film opposing workplace discrimination against people over 40.
In 1978, the agency introduced a media innovation, a four-and-a-half-minute commercial for Louis XV cigarettes. Also in the 1970s, the agency created the Bombril Boy character for Bombril scouring pads, launching a campaign still running at the beginning of the 21st century.
In the early 1980s, the agency began branching out to other areas of Brazil, opening offices in Brasilia (1980) and Rio de Janeiro (1981).
By creating a persona for the Brazilian Internal Revenue Service—a not-so-tame lion—DPZ contributed to a change in the public's image of the federal government and influenced government officials to make extensive use of modern communications techniques. The Brazilian government—federal, state and city—later became the country's largest advertiser.
For Nestlé's Chambourcy line of yogurt and dairy products, DPZ created another first: a billboard that went beyond the standard size to accommodate the twice-life-size silhouette of a child. An ad for Artex towels showed, albeit discreetly, the first male nude in Brazilian advertising.
In 1986, the agency's creative director, Washington Olivetto, left to set up his own shop with Swiss company GGK, now W/Brasil. DPZ's success continued, however, and by the end of the decade the agency ranked No. 3 in Brazil.
In the 1990s, the agency was often the subject of merger speculation with several large multinational groups ( DDB almost closed such a deal in 2000), but no such deal materialized.
In 2001, DPZ had 40 clients and 270 employees in three offices: São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and a branch in Buenos Aires. Ranking No. 8 among Brazilian agencies, its gross income that year was $39.5 million, down 19.3% from 2000, on billings of $205.3 million.
The agency planned to continue expanding in Latin America following its successful experience in Buenos Aires. It formed a partnership with Mexico's Zeta Publicidad and was developing operations in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Chile. In the area of direct marketing, DPZ was associated with Rapp Collins Worldwide in the U.S.