Moving Ahead: Brazil and the Future of Advertising

Veronica Beach is the Head of Global Integrated Production for DAVID, the Brazilian agency behind daring work for Coke, Sony, Burger King and others. 

When I look back on my last few years of producing, it’s easy to see how much things have changed. In 2007 there were just a handful of freelancers and we all knew each other. Then came the market crash (Bush’s last year in office) and that’s when the industry had to adapt. We watched Executive and Senior Agency Producers leaving posts, departments consolidating, and fewer requests for luxury and car producers. Since then, I think that people have decided to take charge of their lives and their careers. Every year, we have seen more and more freelancers hit the streets on their own accord, which is wonderful.

In the last two years, things have shifted again in a positive economic way and we’ve started to see requests for car and luxury producers again. Slowly freelancers are going back to full-time jobs, but on their own terms, many as Heads of Production or other Senior Level positions. Freelance Producers were so independent for so long that we were able go back into the full-time world with a higher level of confidence because we rode out the economic storms.

I’m proud of the fact that we founded poolhouse; a collective of freelance producers. When we came together, it was so organic and – as it turned out – we were well ahead of the curve as the market shifted to freelance. Now freelance creatives are the big thing. It’s great to see other organizations like Working Not Working develop – being freelance is wonderful. But for me personally, I was ready to go down a new path; a path not traveled. That’s why I’ve ended up as the Head of Global Integrated Production at DAVID in Brazil. I believe that Brazil is part of the future of our industry, and I’m not looking back.

I was ready to go down a new path; a path not traveled. That’s why I’ve ended up as the Head of Global Integrated Production at DAVID in Brazil. I believe that Brazil is part of the future of our industry, and I’m not looking back.

Going to Brazil is a huge decision on its own, and overseeing production for a new agency that’s just getting off the ground is a whole other huge responsibility. Add in coordination across three different countries (U.S., Argentina, and Brazil) while adapting to different cultures…it’s definitely a challenge, but a welcomed one. Moving was of course difficult; I didn’t want to leave my friends or family or way of life. But I love to meet new people and experience new things and cultures, so this move really appealed to my personality. Besides, you learn the business on a whole new level when you don’t speak the language it’s being conducted in, so although it has been super challenging, it’s also really fulfilling.

The way we do business in the U.S. has especially prepared me for this new role. On any given project, an Agency Producer in the U.S. can manage up to 7-10 vendors including edit, online, mix, music, graphics, and so on. Then factor in the creatives, finance, account end, and clients. In Brazil, the agency producers operate a little differently and typically, once a project is awarded, the Production House manages through post-production. The Argentine way has its own differences, too. However, being a global creative shop we will look at each project individually and evaluate its needs, case by case.

Creatively, there is no difference. The creative is amazing here in Brazil and Argentina. Funny, I thought it would be different but it is not. The issues, challenges, and excitement is similar, it’s just a different country.

Every day I’m reminded that the similarities outweigh the differences and that it’s best to embrace my new surroundings. For example, when I first moved here I spent a good deal of time living in corporate housing and waiting for the paperwork on my car to go through, which left me at the mercy of taxis. I had been dreading this until a really sweet cabbie picked me up at my housing my first week, and instantly recognized the address and company I was looking for. From then on, he picked me up almost every day. It helped a lot because he would go the same way every day and I didn’t have to struggle with directions. This man (let’s call him Paulo) would patiently read the paper while waiting for me, and when he picked me up I would use the 10 minute drive to practice my broken Portuguese. We’d talk about Mitt vs Obama (he’s pro Obama) and the local election. He even taught me the Portuguese word for tired (“cansado”).

One weekend, I was speaking to another American friend of mine from another agency in Brazil and told him about Paulo. We realized that, coincidentally, Paulo had been driving him to work every day for the last two years. When I told Paulo that we had a mutual friend, he was thrilled and he showed me some recent communication the two had exchanged for pickups at the office and apartment. I came to Brazil with an open mind, made friends with my cabbie on that first drive, and it turned out we have a close friend in common. I guess it’s sort of a little lesson in life. Be open to new people and experiences, and you’ll be surprised at what connections you make.