How brands and ad agencies in Brazil are treating crisis with creativity

 Getty: Skyline with reflections on lake at sunrise, Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo, Brazil.
Getty: Skyline with reflections on lake at sunrise, Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo, Brazil.

"Creativity lies in delivering not only the right words but also the right action."

The power of great ideas has never been so relevant, and this is likely to be magnified after the crisis. Further compounding disruption to tech and content, the pandemic brought significant changes not only to global health, but also to the advertising industry.

To paraphrase Apple, ‘2020 will never be like 2020 ever again’. That’s why what we need now, more than ever, is a great idea spelt out in the right message, experienced in the right tone and context. That´s what is most likely to shake up our clients’ business. This will add the greatest value and help us emerge from this crisis.

Our business is made by people, for people. And people have permanently changed their ways of consuming. Only a few months ago, no one would have believed us if we´d said that internet would lose credibility, people would shy away from social media news feeds, and turn to subscription television and serious journalism. The crisis has not only dramatically reversed media consumption trends, but also exposed how some channels have been trivialized.

Superficially, data may be showing consumption habits in a state of suspended development, but deep down, people are wishing all would be over so they can overcome the void of human touch and truly reconnect. The ‘dry’ data masks the empathy void, the underlying desires for physical social connection, inspiration, variety and adaptation. In a time where we are also reinventing our attitudes towards work, we need to double down on creativity in the way we frame and tell a story. We need to focus on what people truly crave for: sensibility and creativity.

As far as communication goes, I believe brands have the responsibility to make a statement within their own purpose. They can provide a safe haven to all of us out there who are insecure and frightened. But not without some serious self-reflection: what is the brand DNA? What can the brand say that in fact relates to what it really delivers? Creativity lies in delivering not only the right words but also the right action. What brands do rather than only say has mattered the most lately; and perhaps this can be the centerpiece of our contributions as an ad agency.

I strongly believe that this experience will open up opportunities in the future. Products that bring people together will shine. We are seeing gloomy days; but our challenge is to stimulate positive thinking and hope, to inspire people, to improve their self-esteem, to get them into a ‘reopening mood’?

This is where we step in as communicators: to add value to what we produce and thus contribute to the reinvention. We must take giant, but agile steps, especially in rethinking our processes, and uncover the best ideas for our clients in unpredictable ways, so that brands can truly motivate and inspire people. This is our primary role in communication today, in every product we sell: to foster creativity.

The question that then arises is: how can we effectively make brands into heralds of inspiration and a brighter outlook amid extremism and polarization? By turning our gazes to sights still unseen, in search of the new, by doing differently. And I refer not only to a creativity of ideas, but of form and process. 

Creativity as one of our main assets to help change the world post-pandemic. I believe every brand is presented with opportunities – and a possibility to join in the effort to give the people out there a more hopeful, brighter outlook. To find the right message in sync with their own purpose, to spread amazing experiences, to help consumers get to what they need the most.

Luiz Sanches is chairman and chief Creative officer at AlmapBBDO and Outdoor Jury President for Cannes Lions 2021.

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