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Respect for local culture.

Posted by Nadiva Olivier on November 23, 2008

Brazilians are enjoying a series of posts about India in the blog

This is a very good initiative as the so called Brics should really know each other better.

Last post was on India tradition of arranged marriages, still real for this country. In India culture a pre-planned marriage is a symbol of love.

PepsiCo respected the local scent and made a TV ad on its product Kurkure in the middle of the presentation of the groom to the family. The bride’s father analyses the groom and think that he is apparently very “delicate”. The groom eats Kurkure and starts performing a real “macho”, then convincing everyone. See the ad below.

That’s why PepsiCo leads the Indian “cola” market instead of Coca Cola. Coca Cola’s ads follow the world campaign and do not pay attention to local culture.

The reading of this post on PepsiCo respect for local culture in India reminded me of the recent movie The Hulk (2008) and its disrespect for Brazil’s “guarana”, a local soda. Guarana drinks and sodas are very popular in Brazil (where guarana is considered to be a health tonic), almost as popular as cola-based sodas. Sweet, carbonated guarana drinks include the popular brands Guaraná Antarctica, Guaraná Brahma, and Kuat (from Coca-Cola Company).

The first scenes of Hulk are located in Brazil, at the Rocinha (favela) and at a factory that produces “guarana”. Some errors are made at these scenes in Brazil. Movie’s enthusiasts already have noticed it: 1) packages of guarana bottles where ‘Brasil / U.S.A’ is printed on the side to show its destination. However, while Brasil is depicted with its Portuguese spelling, the acronym for the United States of America in Portuguese is ‘E.U.A.’ for Estados Unidos da América, not ‘U.S.A.’. 2) During the Brazil chase scene, the time of day appears to change from night to day and back to night again.

These are not the main mistakes however. The idea of a country whose native product, the so called guarana, is produced under so bad circumstances that a drop of Hulk blood falls into a bottle is an incredible (Hulk) mistake. Brazilian Guaraná is distributed in 1 million points of sales in Brazil and it is the third major world market of sodas. Today, the guaraná flavor is the 4th most consumed in the world and Guaraná Antarctica is among the 15 sodas most sold in the planet. Of course you will see Coca Cola in a lot of scenes of this movie. Bad marketing.

Hulk script is not just disrespectful to Brazil culture but also to people’s I.Q.

See the good PepsiCo Indian movie made by JWT ad agency in India.


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Posted by Nadiva Olivier on January 2, 2008

2008 starts in a very good shape for Brazil. Los Angeles Times (Dec 31st, 2007) changed their mind about Brazil being the “country of the future”, with its article “Brazilian economy is finally coming of age”, by Chris Kraul. Brazil Leads Way in the Americas” is another article on the same subject, dated Jan 2nd, 2008, where Antonio Regalado (The Wall Street Journal) makes evaluations and comparisons on Brazil and other Latin America countries.

Some points they outline must be listed for a more clear vision on the subject:

– Brazil Economic growth will come in at 5.3 percent for 2007, lower than the hemisphere’s 5.7 percent, but quite a feat for a country that over the previous 10 years averaged only 2.5 percent annual expansion.

– Geoffrey Dennis, an analyst at Citigroup Global Markets, says investors are putting money into Mexico as they take profits in Brazil, but in 2008, “he sees shares again advancing strongly in Brazil and Peru, and he has a neutral rating on Mexico.”

– Petrobras announced it had discovered what may be the world’s largest oil find in 25 years in Brazil’s offshore Tupi field. Tupi could propel Brazil into the ranks of significant oil exporters.

The good scenario is not exactly a coming of age, however. This country did not have a rite of passage that could justify that. It lacks a lot of decisions and actions concerning infrastructure, education and so on. Business community has to deal daily with the perspective of lack of energy, lack of logistic support and other old problems like workers’ policies, law profile on education, etc.

If there is not a rite of passage, so how could we come to this point? To be in the great world investors flows is one of the factors to be considered. Others factors were already commented in last post – good people, that deals gracefull to the lack of a lot of important things and succeed, huge stock of resources and a strong demand for a lot of things. Brazilians are not that big as China or India consumers (both over 1 billion people) but most of Brazilians are “real consumers”. They are hungry for any innovation they can afford. And banks, oh! They are so happy offering credit down here and profiting a lot with the highest interest rates in the world.

Conclusion: a country to be evaluated with enthusiasm in 2008.

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Sao Paulo: the 20th richest city in the world in 2020.

Posted by Nadiva Olivier on October 29, 2007

Sao PauloI live in Sao Paulo and I am very aware of how rich and diverse this city can be. When I go to New York I feel the same. Diversity, a wide mix of different business, a big offer of cultural experiences, a brain stock that challenges all areas of knowledge, an ambitious energy that go for more every day. If you come to Sao Paulo and come back a year later, you will find a different city: new buildings made in a few months, new restaurants, new cozy places, new business trends, new seminars… It is the intelligent life itself happening here. People from every country in the world are coming here for business. 

A person that is not familiarized with the city and has not someone to help is really challenged to live and make business here. The city has no urban planning that has guided its growing in the past, so the first obstacle will be the million avenues and streets, and traffic signs. If someone that really knows the city is at your side, this will be easily understood in some days. There are business regions here and things start to become easier if someone make a business map for you in the first place. I will never forget the experience of a Cuban, a fellow in a Seminar in the northeast, which asked me to present him the city with the restriction that he had just three hours between two flights. It was a challenge that makes me discover a great solution: this business map. From that point of view, he understood quite well the whole city and its possibilities despite just visiting two or three places by car. 

If you are a business person coming to Brazil for the first time, your destiny should be here. Meetings with people in your business area can be arranged in order you can evaluate your possibilities and possible partners for the first steps. To give you and idea I have to mention similar job for Brazilian businessmen that wanted to be in touch with potential partners in Mercosul. I arranged meetings in Buenos Aires during 15 months, looking for at least four partners for each business. There is a big difference to do that in Buenos Ayres and in Sao Paulo. Let’s imagine that we are talking about furniture business. I can find two wholesalers, two or three retail proprietors and maybe an investor, in Buenos Ayres. In Sao Paulo, you will find a lot of wholesalers, diverse offer of different retail business, many investors and also different and exquisite strategies for you to start in this country.

The secret in Buenos Ayres is to have the right connections with a quite static business pyramid. In Sao Paulo it is important to have the right connections but most of all you have to look for the right approach, to define a strategy and then starting to build proper relationships with anticipation of a few months, before the meeting. That is why just come to an exposition, or a fair, doesn’t make a great difference for business targets. Be in a fair can be a good step but it is not the whole thing definitely. 

If you do not have time to prepare these steps and do not have time, you have to delegate it to someone here so you can build a good relationship with possible partners. I can give you an example. The CEO of a lipstick company came to Sao Paulo to evaluate her business possibilities in Brazil. She had a lot of meetings, no time for pleasure (what is a waste of time in a so rich and cultural city like Sao Paulo) and was really stressed when met us in our office. I started offering her a good explanation of the production and commercial chain for the beauty industry in Brasil, and the particular aspects of this business and product in Sao Paulo. She has a very good product and had added value to a very common product. The market as not used to the special and different product she had. She would have to invest in direct mail supported by viral marketing in order to allow people to know and test her product without expending a lot of money. She realized also that the travel should be more profitable if she had come two months before to participate in a beauty exposition that was held in Sao Paulo, and also organizing a business roundtable with five companies that would really appreciate the added value of her product. 

Sao Paulo is a dense forest that you have to approach as a clever hunter. A naïve or traditional approach is not appropriated. The projections for the future indicate that Sao Paulo is going to be the 20th richest city in the world in more ten years. It is a treasure you have to discover first. Plan your trip to this city in 2008 in order to enjoy the most interesting opportunities.

P.S. In the last State of World Population 2007 – 30rd UN report on this issue – it is written that “in 2008… for the first time in history, more than half its human population, 3.3 billion people, will be living in urban areas.” Growing and very populous cities like Sao Paulo must be managed carefully in order not to increase social and economic problems. In Sao Paulo, a very interesting social movement was born to deal with this challenge, discovering and discussing ways to make another Sao Paulo (“outra sao paulo”), avoiding existing problems. You can see their propositions at


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