A video by Bradesco with the sisters Mariana, Maria Carolina and Maria Clara, influencers known as Verdes Marias who talk about sustainability, was full of food to provoke the anger of ruralists. That’s because they invited people to join the “Second without Meat” movement as a way to start having more sustainable habits.
In protest, businessmen and agribusiness entities organized this Monday (3rd) the action “Second with Meat”. Around two thousand barbecue skewers were distributed to the public free of charge in front of Bradesco branches in Presidente Prudente, in the interior of São Paulo. Unionists from Mato Grosso and Paraná, packed with the hashtag #adeusbradesco, also expressed their repudiation of Bradesco, which, in a statement, places itself as the “largest private bank in agribusiness”.
The communication, which was removed from the brand’s social networks on December 23, criticized the raising of cattle, which “contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases”, said the film, which at the end promoted a bank application aimed at the calculation of carbon footprints. With the signature “Bradesco. Transform the Future”, the campaign that launched the initiative was conceived by Leo Burnett Tailor Made. The placement took place in November 2021, including digital pieces, on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok, prints, OOH and a radio spot.
“Bradesco reiterates its unrestricted support and belief in the agricultural sector. It has been the largest private agribusiness bank for decades. It was Pecplan and Fundação Bradesco, with the support of their technicians, who implemented and trained thousands of farmers to carry out artificial insemination. With that, it contributed decisively for the cattle raising to reach the current and recognized level of world excellence”, says the gang in a statement.
In an open letter to Brazilian agribusiness, published in December, the bank stated that: “Over its nearly 79 years of history, Bradesco has fully supported the Brazilian agribusiness segment, establishing solid and productive partnerships. This option is based on his indelible belief in this segment as a vector for the country’s social and economic development”.
In the letter, Bradesco is still trying to get rid of its authorship of the video. “However, in recent days we have unfortunately seen an inappropriate position of digital influencers in relation to the consumption of beef, associated with our brand. It is important to say that this position does not represent the view of this house in relation to the consumption of beef. On the contrary. Bradesco directly and indirectly believes in and promotes Brazilian cattle raising and, consequently, the consumption of beef. In light of the incident, measures were immediately taken, including the removal of content from the public environment, and, in addition, strict internal administrative actions. In this way, we reiterate our regret for what happened and once again reinforce our unrestricted belief in Brazilian livestock”.
When contacted, Leo Burnett Tailor Made replied that “we are not authorized to comment on the matter”.
But for Roberto Kanter, a marketing specialist at FGV’s MBAs, the imbroglio is the result of a failure in shared communication between the agency and the brand.
“You have to be careful about transferring company voice to digital influencers. On the one hand, influencers want to preserve the authenticity of their language with their audience, but the agency is responsible for blocking any approach that violates the corporate interests of its client”, he explains.
“We have here a typical case of controlled advertising, but with an appearance of spontaneous publicity”, emphasizes the professor. According to him, this discussion slips into the “marketing difficulty in seeing the bigger picture, and having a truly diverse team that is mature enough to guarantee a holistic view and foresee risks”, he summarizes.
According to him, there was a misalignment of communication with the bank’s corporate interest. “It is an alert when it comes to having third parties speaking for the brand”, he insists. Kanter believes that an approach focusing on healthiness could have avoided the controversy. But the professor also reflects on the other side of the coin. “The polarity we live in the country unfortunately shows how intolerant we are”, he concludes.