The Best of Latin American Marketing in 2009

Highlights From Ad Age International Partner Adlatina's Annual Rankings

By Published on .

Editors note: The headline of this story was changed to reflect Portuguese-speaking Brazil.

NEW YORK ( -- Adlatina, one of Ad Age's international partners, searches Latin America and Spain for the best marketers, ad agencies and industry executives, and publishes an annual ranking called "Los Destacados" ("The Outstanding Ones"). Listed below are Adlatina's top 10 marketers for 2009.

Supermodel Gisele takes Sky Brasil viewers on a fantasy HD tour.
Supermodel Gisele takes Sky Brasil viewers on a fantasy HD tour.


Mother's Buenos Aires agency, Madre, revamped Molino's conservative soup brand Mama Lucchetti with an award-winning campaign focusing on, appropriately, mothers. Animated characters acted out bizarre family kitchen scenes accompanied by the song "Mahna Mahna," made famous by The Muppets and "Sesame Street." Consumers quickly invented their own versions, and the repositioned brand soared from No. 12 in recall among food brands to No. 2.


Pepsi was a triple threat in Argentina last year. Because Spanish speakers tend to pronounce "Pepsi" more easily as "Pecsi," Pepsi embraced the new name and announced in an integrated campaign that its products sold in Argentina would now be branded "Pecsi," complete with new packaging. PepsiCo's youth-seeking Doritos brand came up with the insight that young people who live in a virtual world crave ways to get close to others in real life. So, why not bring back slow dancing? Doritos used social networking to create demand for discos to play slow music and flash mobs did impromptu slow dancing. Finally, Pepsi increased sales of flavored water drink H20h! by 30% with its popular "Run the risk of going against the current" campaign. All three efforts were from BBDO, Argentina.


Brazil's biggest satellite TV service, owned 76% by DirectTV and 24% by Brazilian media giant Organizacoes Globo, launched Sky High Definition TV channels with great fanfare in 2009. One ad, by Sao Paulo agency Giovanni DraftFCB, brings HDTV to life with Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen in a São Paulo airport departure lounge. Perched on a red sofa, she clicks a remote control and a football team swarms the lounge. Another click and soldiers are fighting a war. With a final click, a New York City taxi appears in a flurry of snowflakes and Ms. Bundchen hops in and rides off.


Argentina's biggest credit-card issuer, Tarjeta Naranja (Orange Card), was in the limelight thanks to four professionally shot short films the marketer created with nationally known actors that embodied the company's values of friendship, imagination and dreams. The eight-to-10-minute films made their debuts on and all end with the tagline "Happiness is orange." Tarjeta Naranja also launched a service, "Naranja MO," that lets card-holders make purchases or transfer money using their cellphones, helping the company boost sales by 25% in 2009.

Pepsi becomes Pecsi in Argentina.
Pepsi becomes Pecsi in Argentina.


When Tigo took over a mobile-phone business famed for its bad coverage, the company made the major mistake of not doing a rebranding campaign, so consumers believed the same bad service would continue. Using the theme, "The others talk about coverage. We demonstrate it" by Rep Grey, Tigo ran testimonials from real users, sent a Tigo Explorers squad all over Colombia to hand out free minutes to try the service, and recruited popular actor Victor Mallarino as a spokesman to introduce the Tigo team and promise "The signal works!" Positive perception of Tigo rose from 40% to 75% in a month, leading to a 28% jump in sales.


Owned by Grupo Modelo, Corona has different communication strategies for local and international markets. Outside Mexico, the vibe is beaches and relaxation. Domestically, the focus is on national pride and line extensions such as last year's Coronita Light, in a 7-ounce can, and the 12-ounce Corona Light Tall Can. Corona's corporate future may be unclear, though, due to Anheuser-Busch InBev's ownership of a non-controlling 50% stake in the brewery giant.


In a market dominated by Volkswagen and Fiat, Hyundai arrived late but has been growing fast from a small base. Sales doubled to 43,000 cars in 2008, and were projected to climb to 70,000 units last year. And Hyundai last fall revived plans to start building a $600 million plant in Brazil in 2010. Working with Havas-owned agency Z Plus, Hyundai advertised heavily to launch the i30 and the Tucson, one of the best-selling imported vehicles in Brazil, and promote the Azera. In one campaign, Tucson owners were asked if they knew why the Tucson had been named the best SUV in Brazil and the world. Most of them didn't, but were happy to volunteer their own reasons for liking the car.

Madre makes Mama Lucchetti soup fun with animated characters.
Madre makes Mama Lucchetti soup fun with animated characters.


Chile's second biggest phone and internet marketer after Telefonica's Movistar, VTR kick started the move toward digital cable TV in South America, aggressively adding new channels and finally shutting down its analog service last year. VTR and Lowe Porta won the Grand Effie in Chile for work that included ads introducing the digital service.


Brazil is the largest Latin American market for HSBC, which livened up its marketing last year with the $40 million launch of HSBC Direct online banking for busy people with a campaign from JWT, São Paulo, using the slogan "The bank that likes to get straight to the point." The site drew 1.1 million visitors to HSBC's website to open a new online bank account.


In Spain, where Coke has a 25% share of the soft-drink market, Coke launched Burn with Juice, the company's first juice-based energy drink in Europe, a category that sells about 30 million liters a year in the region.

As part of its awards, Adlatina has named outstanding marketing executives of the year. The winners include:

Luis Di Como, VP- media, America at Unilever, is a rising star in charge of Unilever's increasingly innovative integrated media efforts from Canada to Argentina for the last two years. Before that, he was Unilever's London-based global communication planning director, following stints in Thailand for a global Sunsilk hair-care job, and in his native Argentina.

Mauricio Sabogal, managing director of Initiative Worldwide, is the first Latino to be appointed to a global managing position within a media-agency network. He made the move in September 2009 from Omnicom Media Group, where he was CEO of a Latin American network he built for Omnicom.

Cynthia McFarlane, president of Saatchi & Saatchi for Latin America, is one of a growing number of agency leaders responsible for both the Latin American region and the U.S. Hispanic market. She oversees some of Saatchi's top agencies in the region, including innovative U.S. Hispanic shop Conill.

Juan Saux, founder and exec VP, West Andean region, runs Mayo Publicidad, the only regional independent agency network specializing in Latin America's Andean countries. In 2009, Mayo added an agency in Chile to the existing network in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, and picked up a new international client, Beiersdorf, along with local creative prizes. Mayo is a non-equity affiliate of DraftFCB.

Santiago Puiggari, the new CEO of Grey Argentina, just left his job as CEO in Chile, where his emphasis on building a digital business brought him added responsibilities as Grey's digital manager for Latin America, including handling regional Latin American digital assignments from clients such as Heineken and Discovery Channel.

Outstanding agencies of the year

Adlatina's picks for Latin America's most outstanding agencies last year include:

Marcello Serpa's shop Almap BBDO again led Adlatina's ranking of most-awarded agencies in Latin America with colorful work for clients like Havaianas flip-flops. Other BBDO agencies in the best list: Pepsi champ BBDO Argentina and BBDO Guatemala for its handling of local Frito Lay brand TorTrix.

Among independent agencies, ArrechederaClaverol is the fastest-growing independent shop in Mexico, and another Mexican independent, Circus Marketing, did stellar work for Unilever's Dove Pro-Age with a Real Beauty-like integrated campaign starring the mothers of three well-known Mexican actresses.

Leo Burnett's Portugal agency in Lisbon was one of the big surprises of the year. Not only did the agency grow by 14%, but breakout creative was the talk of international award shows. Diageo's Pampero Rum sponsored the open-air "World's First Ephemeral Museum" in a picturesque Lisbon street featuring street artists' work, and Store+, a temporary Red Cross store selling the ideal holiday gift of hope. Both were richly rewarded.

Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi in Argentina is consistently brilliant. Pablo del Campo is equally adept at regional work for Procter & Gamble and silly ads people are still talking about for Argentine candy giant Arcor's Top Line chewing gum. In Top Line's "Unbreakable Kiss," a runaway bride and a guy not part of the wedding party share an enduring smooch despite attempts to break them apart as fire fighters hose them down and airplanes strafe them.

Comments (5)