A view from below » Brazil http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/marcosbesse The world as we see it from down here in Brazil - by Marcos Besse Thu, 01 Sep 2011 20:30:32 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Today’s Hellenism http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/marcosbesse/2011/09/01/todays-hellenism/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/marcosbesse/2011/09/01/todays-hellenism/#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2011 20:28:48 +0000 Marcos Besse http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/marcosbesse/?p=103

The Greek empire left us more than their heritage in architecture, mathematics, medicine and philosophy. The great emperors who led the largest territory existing in history have taught us that it doesn’t dominate a nation only by military force. The Greeks knew, and later the Romans, that one of the most effective ways to maintain economic dominance over other groups is through the linguistic and cultural imposition. If this nation learns to speak your language, they will consume your culture.

The lesson of the Greeks was not limited to the Roman Empire. In modern history, the United States performed this task in an exemplary way in the world with the “Big Stick” philosophy, with customs, cars, products, movies and music and references to a population who didn’t bother to play the role of just a consumer market. There was no counterpart, the goal was economic domination and imposition of culture (with a stick in the hand, of course).

Not surprisingly, the current most spoken languages ​​in the world are from the most important economies, showing that the thinking of centuries BC remains the same: China, USA, Spain and Latin America (I have my doubts about that importance here), India, Brazil, the Middle East. The list of “top seven” also has the Bengali, from Bangladesh.

The difference between the Greeks behavior and these countries is that not all of them spread their language and culture to other corners. Brazil is in that list because of its huge territory and for being the fifth largest population in the world. Unlike France, Italy and Germany which have much smaller populations than the countries mentioned, but complete the ranking of countries with the most widely spoken languages ​​in the world, along with Russia and the Arab world.

Portuguese isn’t named an international language, used in diplomatic ceremonies, nor a UN official language, which accepts only Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Anyway, the Portuguese-based communication seems to show some growth, with more than 30 million students worldwide.

Even with this increasing demand for Portuguese teachers, we haven’t learned to be like the Greeks. Indeed, this is one of the shortcomings of Brazil. A more efficient communication plan of Brazil abroad would help bring the culture, custom and products to other markets.

We can easily find Indian, Chinese, Japanese and American in prominent positions in multinational companies. The Indians do that pretty well, especially in the technology area. Perhaps, it is one of the reasons to be increasingly easy to find Indian restaurants in the United States.

We are an economy of respect and we have one of the most widely spoken languages ​​in the world. No doubt the importance of Brazil is increasing at the global level. A more aggressive communication and brand reputation plan for Brazil could be an important tool, as it was for the Greeks and Romans in the past, and has been for American, Russian, Chinese, and Indian…

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The social media in the Brazilian elections http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/marcosbesse/2010/10/21/the-social-media-in-the-brazilian-elections/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/marcosbesse/2010/10/21/the-social-media-in-the-brazilian-elections/#comments Thu, 21 Oct 2010 13:05:29 +0000 Marcos Besse http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/marcosbesse/?p=83

In two weeks Brazil will have a new president:  on one side Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s Chief of Staff and leader of the most recent main nationwide projects and, on the other side, José Serra, former Ministry of Health, from Fernando Henrique Cardoso government, who controlled the inflation in Brazil and brought economics stability for current booming times, are in the runoff vote.

The elections in Brazil have presented a new way to make politics in the country through social networks. All the candidates in the first round and the two candidates in the second round keep active profiles in all the channels like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

None of the candidates drew up a creative plan. Everyone just followed the cake recipe with profiles and campaign videos but, by the end of the first round, it is possible to make a deeper analysis of the behavior of them and evaluate which of them took over these tools.

Dilma was the candidate who most explored social network channels in number of profiles. She thrust the flag of PT Party on Orkut, Youtube, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and Identica, but didn’t explore them as much as her opponents. She is the last in the number of tweets, for example, with only 327 posts. Jose Serra tops this rank with more than 3,200 messages, followed by Plínio, with over 2,600 messages and Marina Silva, with 2000.

Serra also leads the list of followers with 467 000 people in a profile created for other “Carnivals”. Dilma has achieved 240 000 followers in the first round, even not being so present in the micro blog. Marina comes the third position with 200 000, and Plínio with almost 48 000 people.

The communication, at least unusual, of controversial candidates, such as Tiririca and “Pear Women” also drew attention, but this is subject to a next post.

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America for Americans http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/marcosbesse/2010/09/12/america-for-americans/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/marcosbesse/2010/09/12/america-for-americans/#comments Mon, 13 Sep 2010 01:05:51 +0000 Marcos Besse http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/marcosbesse/?p=69

Without making so much noise in the media as Chinese companies, Brazilian investment groups have bought important American brands since the economy in Brazil started enjoying windfall times. The latest large business has been signed this month with the acquisition of the fast-food stores Burger King.

The new owners aren’t strangers in the Yankee’s business scenario. Jorge Paulo Lemann, Marcel Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira, leaders of 3G Capital, the edge fund which just named Bernardo Hees the company’s new CEO, also run other known companies as Anheuser-Bush that brings under its umbrella labels like Budweiser, Bacardi, and Stella Artois.

This new movement of acquisitions and mergers with Brazilian capital in the US is very similar to what happened in Brazil in the middle of the last century when famous international car-makers based in the country and, as magic, innumerous public highways sprouted like roses in Brazil.

The emergence of these car-markers definitely changed the Government transportation politics with a redirect of investments from the railroads and river transportation to more projects for highways. Our media and marketing campaign also faced a new moment with several ads about cars. If we you didn’t have a car you were completely out.

Today, among important global players, Brazilian JBS leads the American meat market after buying key companies, including the giant Swift. Spring is controlled by Brazilian Coteminas and Keystone, McDonald’s meat supplier, controlled by Marfrig Group.

In the same the car-makers influenced the politics in Brazil for almost a century, I wonder if the opposite is going to occur too.

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The slumdog in Aristotle http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/marcosbesse/2009/03/09/the-slumdog-inside-aristotle/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/marcosbesse/2009/03/09/the-slumdog-inside-aristotle/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2009 03:37:54 +0000 Marcos Besse http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/marcosbesse/?p=38

The room lights went down and a young man’s face was on the screen. He was Jamal Malik, the main character of Slumdog Millionaire, the one who would be very rich two hours later. I could hear people commenting the awkward lack of trailers – what is an almost tradition today- but the voices went away as the room was getting darker.


The movie seemed to be a sequence of City of God, a Brazilian drama which tells a similar story (except for the romantic ending) directed by Fernando Meireles, in 2003.


The slums, the poverty, and the human bestialities are in each part of the story recreating and reinforcing not only the scenario of City of God but also Aristotle’s main idea in Poetics: the catharsis.


Aristotle explains that “in real life, men are sometimes too much addicted to pity or fear, sometimes too little; tragedy brings them back to a virtuous and happy mean. [Tragedy is then a corrective; through watching tragedy the audience learns how to feel these emotions at the proper levels]“.


Some modern analyses of Aristotle’s work indicate that catharsis is the feeling of relief for the audience because the tragedy isn’t truly theirs; however they had felt all the emotions of the characters during the play. In the end, the ecstasy set them free from these corrosive feelings.


I asked myself how far all that tragedy was from me and how fair I was a catharsis example. I can see those two boys in São Paulo streets every day at the traffic lights, near my work, on my way home. I am the audience but I am also in the tragedy.


In this sense, I didn’t get to laugh in some parts of the story, when everybody did, and I didn’t cry at the end either as many did because I knew I would see lots of slumdogs in the streets when I left the fancy mall to go home.


The inevitable comparison between City of God and Slumdog Millionaire isn’t the only thing that we, Brazilians, can take from that movie: the poverty and the social abyss isn’t our “privilege”, unfortunately.


At the end, a second awkward situation. The movie ended but nobody got up or left the room. They were all quite facing the screen. That was the ecstasy. Aristotle scored again.

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