Listening to the evolution of creativity in Latin America, through the experiences of Humberto Polar, chief creative officer of Grey Mexico, is fascinating. Though countries like Brazil and Argentina often show up near the top of the Cannes Lions Global Creativity Report, others in the region have not found as much success.
The timeline that he lays out shows an increasing sophistication, one that is more home-grown and primed for greater exposure.
“In the 90s, we were eager to emulate what we saw in in American and British advertising. But the issue was the dimension of the ambition, but the resources to produce great ideas” said Polar, a 32-year veteran of the creative world who counts stops at FCB Mayo (covering Peru, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador), FCB Global, Lowe and McCann along his successful, award-winning path.
With generally lower budgets to work with in the past, there was a reliance on stunts and ideas that stood out in awards shows to raise the region’s profile more out of necessity and not due to a lack of talent.
“Aside from Argentina, for example, we came from rather unsophisticated markets but, at the turn of the century, and especially with new media and better training, we started catching up in thinking, analyzing and understanding how to put creativity into action,” Polar noted. The resulting changes helped raise Latin America’s confidence and credibility well outside its borders.
“Everything is aligned,” said Polar. “In my opinion, the best ideas you see from the region work well in the marketplace, and that’s a very healthy thing for everyone.”
Indeed, Latin America continues to come on strong and this year’s Cannes contenders include work that cuts across cultures and addresses societal issues—especially female empowerment and gender inequality.
Issue/Grupo Godrej, “Ma’am”
Agency: JWT, Buenos Aires
Being called ma’am (or señora vs. señorita) can be as shocking as finding your first gray hair, according to Cosmopolitan. Leveraging the distinct, and sometimes dark, sense of humor in the country, this spot shows how Argentinian women react when called “ma’am” for the first time.
HOY by Havas, Buenos Aires
House parties can be a messy affair, especially the day after. Wesley beer developed a 100 percent disposable flat—made entirely of cardboard—that can be rented on Airbnb so that one less thing can be added to a party’s to-do list.
Mujeres En Igualdad Foundation, “Femplea”
Wunderman, Buenos Aires
In 2017, one femicide (defined as the killing of a woman specifically because of her gender) took place every day in Argentina. To help with those in-home services, Femplea is the first free app that connects women in the home service industry to other women that want to hire them, providing a safer environment for both parties. The app includes face recognition and ID verification that only allows women to access it.
Latina, “Miss Peru Measurements”
Agency: Latina Media, Lima
Flipping the script for beauty pageants, Miss Peru contestants used their platform during the contest to point out the severe issues of violence against women in the country. Instead of offering up their body measurements, each contestant shared shocking statistics about the problem.
Tracking Systems de Mexico, “StreetGuard”
Oglivy, Mexico City
Violence against women in Mexico is a massive problem, with 81 crimes against women committed every 24 hours. Additionally, only six in 100 are reported to authorities. Using existing technology in cars, StreetGuard makes the necessary noise to help prevent crimes on the street. Working with sensors installed in car doors that are connected as a network, when activated with a StreetGuard button, it generates a radio frequency wave that triggers the alarms of cars within 25 meters.