In an interview with PROPMARK, Daniel Wakswaser, from Ambev, and Srgio Gordilho, from Africa, tell the details of the partnership, recall the trajectory and celebrate the brand’s first Golden Lion
Beer, barbecue, music and football. Four words that frequently travel through the cultural imaginary of what to be Brazilian. It is from this scenario that Africa and Brahma have built one of the longest relationships between agency and advertiser in the country, which began in 2004, with the acquisition of an offline account and was expanded in 2010, with the move to online.
This year, in the face-to-face return of Cannes Lions, the majority of the partnership was awarded a special gift, a Golden Lion, the first in the centenary history of the brand created in 1888. And he came with “Creamy Hair”, in Social & Influencer . The action also won another six awards, distributed among four Silver Lees (Social & Influencer, Direct, Media and Entertainment for Sport) and two Bronze (Social & Influencer and Direct).
The relationship also includes new territories, such as the launch of a new cut of meat, “Brahminha”, a boneless Short Rib, and a coffee fermented with malt, in partnership with the gourmet coffee company Coffee++. All wrapped under the concept of “brahmosidade”, which led the brand to regain the first place among beers in the country.
In the interview below, Daniel Wakswaser, VP of marketing at Ambev, and Srgio Gordilho, co-president and CCO for Africa, talk about the evolution in the relationship over the years, the collaboration between the teams and how the strategies are advancing both in terms of business and connection with the social transformations of society.
Africa and Brahma have today, if I’m not mistaken, one of the longest-running partnerships in a market with relationships (apparently, at least) more ephemeral than before. What can’t be missing in a relationship like this?
Wakswaser – The two things I value most are trust and intimacy. We are very proud to be in this partnership with Africa for the long term. We have been together since Ambev and Africa have existed, since the beginning. Intimacy comes with time and allows us to be open with each other, to challenge each other, to be bold and to trust and support each other in good times and in hard times. I think this ingredient is in short supply in a market with summer love relationships.
chubby – Brahma, Vivo, Ita, Sadia, Natura… We are proud to have long-term relationships with our customers. Africa is an agency to marry. If you just want to take a walk, forget it. We have been married to Brahma since 2004. In other words, a relationship that has just turned 18. Turquoise wedding. Many talented people were involved, many ideas that became iconic campaigns, which marked and remained in the memory of Brazil. And mostly a lot of Brahma. Only this year, we became the N1 brand again, we won its first golden oil and we saw it be the most awarded brand in Brazil. We also launched a special cut of meat: Brahminha. Unheard of in the world. In other words, a relationship that invents and reinvents itself. Not a lukewarm marriage. Here’s pepper.
Brahma and Africa started working together in 2004 and, in 2010, expanded the partnership to the online universe. Over almost two decades, many things have changed, such as greater female representation and the denunciation of sexist campaigns by beer brands. How do you assess the change in brand communication over the years, observing this new environment, and the impact of these social transformations on Brahma’s narrative?
Wakswaser – It all starts by creating an inclusive environment where we can increase our diversity. Today, Brahma’s team, whether in Africa or at Ambev, is more diverse, although we still have a long way to go to achieve equity. This diversity translates into an ideal balance of men and women (today we have 50/50), in terms of more black people making decisions (20-30% of people working with Brahma are black), among others. With more diverse people discussing the brand’s strategy and choices, we challenge ourselves to go further, to be more inclusive in our communication, and this can be felt in what we put out on the street. Brahma has a very inclusive point of view in his brand essence: uniting Brazilians through our passions, through the archetype of the common person, who believes that there are more things that unite us than things that separate us, and under This is the idea that we brought ideas from Barbecue (it doesn’t matter what we put on top of the grill, but what goes around it: friendship) and Carnival (it doesn’t matter if the pandemic will let Carnival happen on the avenue, the truth that we miss the spirit of unity of this magical party) that took themes in which there was a lot of disunity and found a point in common.
chubby – Telling the same story for so long, in the same way, is no longer the way. Democratic, plural and inclusive beer. To go against it deny your identity. Change is part of human nature. Keeping up with these changes is part of our culture. Failure to understand this movement is what differentiates relevant brands from irrelevant ones. And this challenge is a fertile field for creativity, another characteristic of Brazilians and, therefore, of Brahma. What other century-old brand is agile and contemporary enough to launch the success of a Brahma Double Malt? Or go from being around a barbecue to becoming a subject within it, as we did with Brahminha? Brahma has tradition and heritage to accommodate. But that didn’t happen. Even because she defies traditions all the time. For traditions were not born alone, they were created by us. So it’s up to us to question them.
In this sense, today we have an environment of greater inclusion of women in beer consumption. How do the brand and the agency think about the strategies to dialogue with this public and have a more plural communication?
Wakswaser – a lot about first bringing more women to the helm of the brand. Today we have a 50/50 between men and women leading Brahma at Ambev and in Africa, and this more plural starting point allows the discussions to take us further. Through draftLine, we have greatly improved our consumers’ knowledge tools, with more modern technologies for social listening and research, which allows us to better understand their tastes, preferences and main questions. We have many Brahmeiras who are passionate about Brahma and who identify with its platforms, such as Carnaval, Sertanejo, Futebol, So Joo, and it is a huge responsibility to ensure that they are well represented and attended to. a daily challenge!
Looking at Brahma from the beginning of the partnership and Brahma today, what were the main changes in the brand in terms of concept, positioning, etc?
chubby – Brahma the beer from Brazil. And point. And following this principle, Brazil reinvents itself and we reinvent ourselves together. Because either we change the speed of the world, or we adapt to its speed. We believe that continuity is built day by day, connection by connection. Forgetting about it and leaving people aside, they will also forget about us. We follow two mantras: Value is created for Brahma by creating value for people, and our advertising is the soul of the business as long as our advertising has a soul. In this beat, we are part of the life and memory of every Brazilian. We are the beer of the sertanejo, barbecue and football. Want something more Brazilian than that?
Together, we made Brahma regain its leadership. It was once again the N1 and the most talked about Ambev beer brand on social networks. In 2022, he won his 1st Golden Lion of History at Cannes. In a category that is perhaps one of the most relevant today, that Social & Influencer. A brand with so much history that continues to remain so current and in tune with the moment. Again, creativity, consistency and a refined look at the now, but without losing sight of the long term.
Over the last few years, what has changed in Ambev’s marketing? And what is Africa’s role in this process?
Wakswaser – There is an important transformation happening at Ambev in recent years: we are increasingly becoming something bigger than a brewery or beverage company, to become a platform, which connects and empowers the entire ecosystem through technology. This quantum transformation requires that we learn other sciences, such as Big Data, that we become more digital, and that we know how to collaborate better between areas. But the big mistake of profound transformations is completely abandoning what brought us here, we still need strong brands, powerful creative ideas, to know consumers in depth, to entertain them with interesting communications. It is in this duality between the Classical and the Quantum that our relationship with Africa enters. The draftLine is our in-house creative studio, responsible for feeding us with technology, data and the pulse of culture, and, based on this deep human knowledge, Africa helps us with powerful transmedia ideas, provoking us to make effective and connected creativity. uniquely with consumers. Africa keeps us creatively honest, challenging us to go beyond the numbers.
Who is Brahma’s consumer today? What is the brand’s market share today?
Wakswaser – Brahma the largest beer brand in Brazil. And, with great pride, we have also recently become one of the most creative brands in our country, winning our first golden lion at the Cannes festival and having the most awarded Social Media campaign in the world in 2021-2022. This becomes even more interesting because the brand has more than a century of life, and it is only possible because we have a very deep relationship with our consumers: Brahma has always believed in uniting Brazilians through their passions, and this has become even more relevant at this time. where our country is so divided. Brahma consumers, our dear Brahmeiros and Brahmeiras, are optimistic, passionate people who find common ground for any subject, from Football to Sertanejo, from Carnival to So Joo. This is what we call Brahmosidade, this ability of Brazilians to use our genius, improvisation and passion to, together, reveal the potential of our people.
Creamy Hair returned from Cannes with several Lees. How was this campaign conceived? What was the starting point of creation?
chubby – Brahma has always been the official beer of Brazilian football. Strongly present in World Cups, Brazilian, regional and state championships, in addition to being a sponsor of great teams. But none of this is shown on the field, as the players’ uniforms cannot bear the imprint of an alcoholic beverage on them. We needed to find another way to bring the brand’s relationship with football onto the field. 2020 was also the year in which we debuted the concept of Brahmosidade, when we started talking about creaminess in a much more forceful way. The Creamy Hair came up as another way to bring all that creaminess of beer to the public, this time to where football takes place and using a very popular and cultural aspect of Brazilians, which are the players’ hair. A fun and smart idea. A trend that has captured the minds of players, influencers and football lovers. A new way to enhance the conversation about the brand and one of its passion points.