In Buenos Aires, arts are not just for the privileged, but they're continuously mingling with people on the streets. Advertising is not an exception. Here are four agencies that are leading the pack in innovation.
PONCE BUENOS AIRESWhat makes Hernán Ponce's agency the brightest of this country is its ability to think with the client. For the past 12 years, Ponce Buenos Aires (formerly Vegaolmosponce) has excelled with creative work at the service of marketing effectiveness. In 2007, the agency came up with the idea of creating a product, Axe 3, based on the fusion of two existing deodorants. It won the Titanium and Integrated Grand Prix in Cannes. Not that Hernán Ponce wasn´t already working within his clients' minds before that. His main quality, apart from his creative brightness, is his pioneer spirit. It's startling that an Argentine agency has become responsible for so much of Axe's global work. Unilever continues to trust it: Last year, Ponce won Knorr and Cornetto, among other business.
LA COMUNIDADLa Comunidad knows how to hit targets. This was reflected in the work they did for the Independent Film Festival of Buenos Aires, in films such as "Clarence" (Gold in Cannes, 2007), "Tom Sellecks" and "Bon Jovis" (both Gold in Cannes, 2008). The agency nailed what the festival's audience would dig, and did it with simple and low-budget executions. Its recent work for Wrangler and Unicenter also reflect this sharpness. Perhaps most important, La Comunidad strikes humorous chords without becoming crass. This is especially valuable in a country such as Argentina, where a lame sense of humor and popularity sometimes go hand-in-hand.
SANTOMaxi Anselmo and Sebastián Wilhelm are the youngest of the pioneers, coming out of the legendary Argentine agency of the ´90s, Agulla & Baccetti. They founded Santo five years ago, and they've delivered quality work for clients such as Coca-Cola, Warsteiner (Isenbeck), Telecom, Arnet and Personal, among others. A couple of years ago, WPP, knowing what they're capable of, backed them up to open Santo, London. The shop's work is much commented-upon, something that started with the campaign "Applause" for Coca-Cola Light in 2005. The idea was to take everything that could be embarrassing to people and put it on the spot, helping people laugh at themselves. In 2007, "Bold," a self-referential piece for telecom Arnet, received one of the loudest ovations in Cannes.
MADREMadre, which is the Argentine shop of Mother, London, can be easily cataloged as the bravest of all. The agency came up with "Owners," a campaign that shook Argentine society hard. A couple of years ago, in a country where banks had turned into discredited institutions after the local crisis of 2001, Madre launched a wild campaign for bank Banco Hipotecario, suggesting that everybody could turn into an owner. It happened to be precisely what people needed, with Madre's bravery resulting in the reinvention of the banking category.
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Valentina Vescovi and Aixa Rocca of SA Journalists, a freelance journalist firm based in Buenos Aires, are frequent contributors to Ad Age's Global News.