Why This Executive Left Behind Advertising to Rebrand a TV Network

At DDB Brazil, Sergio Valente won the Cannes Agency of the Year 4 times

Globo TV enlists its talent, like daytime host Fatima Bernardes (fifth from left), to advance the brand.

RIO DE JANEIRO – Five years ago, when Carlos Schroder was named CEO of Globo, South America’s largest TV network and production company, one of his first jobs was to rethink the 50-year-old brand. He didn’t do it because the Globo brand was suffering. In fact, Globo is one of the strongest brands in Brazil. Nearly 100 million Brazilians tune in to the network every day.

“We had to work on the image,” Schroder told Adweek in his corner office at Globo’s headquarters in Rio’s lush Botanical Garden neighborhood. “We started with movement. We call it the brand in motion.”

To carry out his vision, Schroder tapped one of Brazil’s leading advertising executives, Sergio Valente, president of DDB Brazil, to run marketing and communications. After a life in advertising, Valente—who won Cannes Agency of the Year four times—was ready for a change. “Everything that I am, it’s about advertising, but advertising provided me the good weapons to do this battle now,” said Valente from his office at a separte Globo building in Leblon, not far from the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.

Four years into the job, Valente has taken the brand-in-motion idea, and run with it. This year, Globo won a Cannes Silver Lion for the “It Starts With Respect” campaign and a project called “Powered by Respect.” More than 100 engineers and developers modified a Formula One race car that was operated by a paraplegic man’s thoughts.

“With his brain!” said the demonstrative Valente. “If he could change the limits, why can’t society change it?”

“I really believe in quality,” Valente said. “You have to have quality to compete with Netflix, to compete with YouTube, to compete with the sun, to compete with the beach. But quality is not the name of the game, just. You have to have relevance. You have to be in touch with the people. You have to care for the people. You have to deliver to the people something.”

Adweek: And is that where you come in? The messaging?

Sergio Valente: I am one of the ingredients. I was not from Globo since the beginning, but I came from advertising. I am a communications person. The vision, it was from Globo. They invited me here and to make this work.

But you watched Globo growing up and you knew how valuable it was to Brazilians, right?

Sure, sure. I really believe that this brand has value. This brand has value for the population, for the country. If you look [at the ratings]. It’s amazing. It’s huge. It’s enormous. We have to use that.

Sergio Valente, head of communications/marketing for Globo

And part of that is through Good Mob, your social awareness platform, right?

Yes. I was with Roberto Marinho Neto [director of Globo Sports and grandson of Globo TV founder Roberto Marinho]. He is the next generation. He’s so energetic and plugged in to the possibility to change the world. I think all the companies have to have this compromise, change the world. It’s not a philanthropic vision. It’s a capitalistic vision. If you make the world better, you will profit. If you increase the economy, it’s possible to have a bigger share of the cake.

And this is also about modernizing this iconic 50-year-old brand.

Yes. To look to the past … and let’s use the influence to have, not product winners, but a winning brand. If you look, just for example, at [Globo morning show host] Fatima Bernardes.

I met Fatima yesterday in her studio.

You met Fatima! Fatima is so charming. Fatima is so warm. So cozy. OK, great. Be cozy, be charming, be warm but let me get some of your charm, warm and cozy to the brand. The people are connected through the products. The product gets viewers and the viewers make brands. But we have to connect those things.

You must hate the word marketing.

No, no. I love marketing, just undercover. I really believe that I’ll make history. I really believe that I am writing sheets of the history. Because that brand [pointing to Globo logo] it’s fantastic. But we have to make that connection.

This story is one in a series of reports on the global impact of Brazilian media and marketing, and the legacy of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.