online marketing psychology

June 30, 2010

Bank mergers in Brazil: Santander and Itaú Unibanco

The most valuable brands of Brazil are banks. So why haven't I written about them before in my Brands of Brazil series?

They are not the most exciting brands. But I admit that after reading and thinking a bit for this article, I like them more.

There has been a lot of buying and selling in the Brazilian banking industry these last years:
  • Santander bought Banco Real
  • Itaú merged with Unibanco
  • Banco do Brasil bought Nossa Caixa
After all these takeovers, the slow process of integration of all the different business units could begin. And it seems that these last months, the time has come to take care of the brands(pt). Figuring out what direction the new company is heading, the positioning and  what brand matches this position.

Brazil Foods is going through a similar process after the merger. Although there are less brands involved here, usually just one corporate brand, the outcome of bad decisions is a lot worse.

Let's look at two commercials from these newly formed banks.


The main message is that doing things together is always better than doing things by or for yourself. The implicit meaning probably being that the two banks together are better than the two seperate. The Banco Real brand doesn't appear anymore and there is no explicit presentation of the improved brand.

Itaú Unibanco

This ad show that the bank can help its clients to realize their dreams. The visuals of the commercial however have little to do with the clients. It are all employees of the two banks singing Imagine by John Lennon. The focus on the merger of the two banks is more explicit. Both brand names are used and the viewer is even instructed on the new brand: "I am Itaú Unibanco, but you can just call me Itaú".

While Santander is already looking to the future and focus on its clients. Itaú feels the need to step back and explain the merger to the people.

June 28, 2010

Got (the right) milk?

milk packaging color codes

Cultural differences and milk packaging.

Most brands divide their milk offerings in a couple different kinds depending on the fat percentage. Going  from "whole milk' to "fat free milk".

In Europe and the US, the following coloring code is used on the packaging:

red: whole
green: low-fat
blue: fat free

In Brazil green and red have switched positions. ( Green package means whole milk and red means low fat milk).

Big deal you might think. But apart from me buying the wrong milk for the last year based on my Belgian habits, it is also a funny difference!

June 26, 2010

What are the best Brazilian brands?

After seeing reports released covering other markets, I was happy to see Interbrand releasing their report on the best brands of Brazil. The Brazilian economy is booming this last decade and the economic crisis has also taken its share of victims. This has shaken the valuation of the the big brands since the last report came out.

I have covered already a couple of the top brands on this blog, these articles are linked to on the brand names below. This report is a great overview and supplies information on lesser known brands. Also the fact that there is a value on the brands, allows them to be put in perspective.

top 25 of Brazilian brands

Values in million reals (1R$ = 0.5 euro)
  1. Itaú - R$20.651 - Financial services
  2. Bradesco - R$12.381 - Financial services
  3. Petrobras - R$10.805 - Energy
  4. Banco do Brasil - R$10.497 - Financial services
  5. Skol - R$6.593 - Food and beverage
  6. Natura - R$4.652 - Cosmetics
  7. Brahma - R$3.607 - Food and beverage
  8. Antartica - R$1.753 - Food and beverage
  9. Vivo - R$1.468 - Telecommunications
  10. Renner - R$780 - Retail
  11. Embratel - R$730 - Telecommunications
  12. Banrisul - R$645 - Financial services
  13. Lojas Americanas - R$601 - Retail
  14. Cyrela - R$545 - Real estate
  15. Oi - R$472 - Telecommunications
  16. Braskem - R$449 - Petrochemical
  17. TAM - R$347 - Airlines
  18. Net - R$294 - Telecommunications
  19. Marisa - R$196 - Retail
  20. Hering - R$144 - Apparel
  21. Gafisa - R$129 - Real estate
  22. Havaianas - R$113 - Apparel
  23. Gol - R$108 - Airlines
  24. Positivo - R$103 - Technology
  25. Lopes - R$87 - Real estate
The valuation is done through a proprietary brand valuation method of Interbrand using a financial and brand analysis.

Most of the top brands are banks. The reason they are there is that they are well spread over Brazil and financially perform well.
B2B brands of Brazil like Vale, have been hit harder by the economic criss. Dropping commodity prices have put profits under pressure which affects their valuation.

There also is a big difference in value between the top 6 and the rest. Most of these brands are part of big international groups. They truly play on  a global level already.

Apart from the ranking, the report also includes a short description of every brand.

June 24, 2010

Soccer stadium atmosphere in Rio's metro

A nice way to grab attention at an unusual location.

Campaign for Centauro, a Brazilian shoe store in the metro tunnels of Rio de Janeiro.

via mundo marketing

June 23, 2010

Brand engagement and vending machines

The Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival  is on its way.  And together with that, a lot of new campaigns are hitting the internet. Like this one by Unilever: "Share Happy".

Basically it is an ice-cream vending machine equipped with a camera, touchscreen and an internet connection. The point of all this technology is to engage people with the vending machine, with the Heartbrand. The machine can detect if passers-by are smiling or not.

And if they really are happy, they might get a free ice cream. For the less fortunate there is the opportunity to take a funny picture that can be shared on Facebook or other networks.

The technology is expensive so it is impossible to built into a a lot of machines. Instead there is one machine touring (the US?) for the next 18 months.

No doubt it will be good fun for people encountering the machine. But its real impact might be limited.

The best example of vending machine interaction is probably Coke's "The Happiness machine". The viral video that was produced from this one time event went around the world.

And how about this Lego in-store machine. It allows for real customer engagment with the product. Creating anticipation before you have even opened the package!

June 17, 2010

The story of exporting Brahma beer to the world

Brahma is big in Brazil, currently the second best selling beer. When the beer came under the international wings of Inbev, they knew they had a beer with some international potential. And so the beer became part of the international expansion of the Belgian-Brazilian brewer group.

In Brazil and neighboring countries the beer is considered a pilsen beer, a "normal" one. But when the exporting started in 2005, the Brahama brand was enhanced for its new markets and got a more exotic feeling.

Brand enhancements

I remember its introduction in Belgium. It was being positioned as an alternative to Corona, bringing a bit of Brasil to everyone who drank it. This more exotic feeling was achieved in a couple of ways.

The product
The taste was changed, to distinguish it from the normal beers. In Russia and Belgium Inbev brewed a Brahma with a different taste, adapted to local taste.

The logo
The Brahma logo in Brazil is pretty simple. In the international version, a couple of stars were added. They supposedly refer to the stars in the sky on the night of the declaration of the Republic of Brazil. Not sure if it is true but even if it is total bollocks, it is a nice extra association with Brazil.

The bottle
From a boring brown bottle in Brazil to a see-through, curved bottle with the brand printed on its side. The dynamic form of the bottle supposedly represents dancing, samba,..

These extra associations allow people to experience Brazil, right in their home. 

Back then, big money was spent on advertising and sponsorship of things like summer festivals.

Personally I think they created this image as exotic import beer because on many markets, especially in beer drinking countries in Europe, there is no room for regular pilsen imports.

Brahma even used the idea that the beer from Brazil was now being exported to the world in a commercial.

Brahma abroad, a success?

Today, 5 years later, it is interesting how this international expansion is going.

Brahma is present in 31 countries. In traditional markets like the United States and England, Brazil traditionally sells well. But also in different countries such as Ukraine, China, Turkey, Korea and New Zealand, the beer sells well.

The brand still seems the same, with references to the typical image of Brazil abroad. beaches, Rio de Janeiro and samba.

The targeting remains unchanged: "lifestyle drinkers" and beer drinkers who prefer premium, imported beers.

While it is easy to know which products have been introduced in which countries, market failures are less documented.
For example I am not sure if Brahma is still sold in Belgium, but if it is it must be in very small shops, as I didn't see it in any of the big retailers for a long time. A marketing manager form InBev said about Belgian consumers: "They still do not understand the concept of Brazil".

It is either that or InBev didn't really understand the Belgian consumer!

June 14, 2010

BIC brands bring their game to South-Africa

The first couple of games of the World Cup have been played.  Although I'm not the greatest football lover I did watch a couple of games and some things surprised me. And no, it were not those damned horns, they just annoyed me :)

While it is normal to see familiar brands like Continental, Coca-Cola or Visa on the billboards next to the field, a couple of new global brands showed up:

origin: Brazil

Processor of frozen foods and sponsor of the Brazilian national team. The brand is part of the Marfrig, a Brazilian company with operations all around the world.
Depending on the game, the focus is on a different brand. When there is an international game going on the Searea brand is shown. When European teams played, Moy Park appeared, which is a UK brand from the Marfrig group.

After this the viral video Seara produced starring some Brazilian football players makes a bit more sense. With almost 4 million views it served as a good introduction to the world. Although many of the views came from Brazil, it was a small teaser for the world.

Yingli Solar
origin: China

Manufacturer of solar panels with operations all around the world. To pump the brand awareness, they have come to the right place. Question is if they are looking to increase customer base in China or abroad? Although bilingual advertisements are being shown, attention might be hard to grab in China. With the absence of the Chinese national team soccer is competing with the closer-to-home Shangai World fair.

Mahindra Satyam
origin: India
Consulting and IT services.

Similar to Marfrig's approach, Inbev also rotates its brand. In the game of Germany vs Australia for example, Inbev showed Hasseröder, German beer brand. In the game Holland-Denmark, Belgian brand Jupiler appeared. These brand rotations seem like a really smart move by Inbev!
The true power of globalization combined with a local approach!

June 8, 2010

What works better: Hollywood starlets or Brazilian beauties?

I wrote yesterday that foreign companies are trying to increase their Brazilianess. After some searching I found a good example of an initiative(pt) by Procter & Gamble.


During the Women Week in March, P&G set up booths in so called document offices in São Paulo. These are special government offices that try to make it easier get a driving license or other documents.

Most of these documents require photos. P&G had a team present of hair dressers, stylists and professional photographers in the busiest offices. More than 3000 women used took opportunity and have better pictures on their passports!

Other than being a nice stunt, there are of course financial considerations! Increasing wages and easier access to credit has created a whole new part of population with money. Money that can be spend on other things than just basic needs. For example on personal hygiene products, of which P&G has plenty.

An initiative like this is one step to the Brazilian hearts. Another step is making the communication fit better to the Brazilian culture. That means featuring Brazilian people in the advertising. People Brazilians are used to seeing.

P&G already saw that this approach works. When the company hired model Gisele Bündchen for its Pantene hair brand, sales tripled!

The same story can be heard at Unilever: "The design of campaigns continues to be global, but the execution is, increasingly, to be local" says vice president Luiz Carlos Dutra.

A new Rexona deodorant campaign (worth 12.5 million euro) will feature football player Robinho and actress Camila Pitanga.

June 7, 2010

The Power of Being Local

Time for some more stories from the land of soccer and samba. The size of the Brazilian market attracts a lot foreign companies. And one of the difficulties they face is the competition with local brands.

Brazilian colors yellow green celebrations

Local brands

Although there are many strong Brazilian brands on the global level,  an article in Mundo marketing (PT) shows that there are regional brands that should not be underestimated.
  • Maçã Don: an apple soft-drink.  Market? In some cities of  the interior of the São Paulo state, it is the highest selling soft drink after Coca-Cola.
  • Vitarella: pasta and biscuits.  Market? Market leader North-East of Brazil.
Where in a previous post I described the adaptation from a global brand to the local market, these regional brands take the opposite way.

First of all they are closer to the customer, which means that they have more knowledge on what is wanted.

Their distribution also follows a different approach. By focusing on small neighborhood stores, they try to be where consumers are. The possibility of expansion to bigger supermarket chains is for later, when they have more control over their network.

Finally their size gives them cost advantages that allow them to deliver a quality product for a lower price than national brands.

Brand loyalty

The loyalty these type of brands have has a couple of different sources.

Generating employment and being a strong local company make people feel proud of their region and by extension the brand associated with it.

For many consumers these brands have been around their whole life. They might have even seen their grandparents use it. This nostalgia factor is a very powerful asset for these brands, as it is impossible for new entrants to copy this.

Global brands

Global brands try to get closer to the customer by event sponsorships, and by tapping into the local culture.

Events like the World Cup football provide an excellent opportunity. Many houses, supermarkets, schools,... are now decorated in yellow and green to show support for the national team. Marketeers can tap into these elements and join the fans in their celebrations.

As said before the World Cup is one of the biggest events for marketing in 2010 so as it unfolds there will be no doubt more coverage!