‘We are extremist about passion’
Despite being the world’s southern-most country, with a small domestic market and a population of only 44 million, Argentina’s creative and cultural industries are superlative and compete in the major league of global communication. This industry, which locally employs more than 12,500 professionals directly and 40,000 indirectly, generates $1bn in added value through its local production services and world-class quality.
We Argentines live off our ideas and our cultural output is enormous. The last review of published titles, for example, listed 29 million new books. Our movies drew 49 million spectators last year and the number of stage plays stood at more than 400 — meaning that Buenos Aires has no reason to envy Broadway or London’s Theatreland.
In terms of advertising, over the last 20 years, Argentine creativity has been in the top 10 of the highest award-winning countries in the world. Some years ago, the prestigious publication Contagious calculated the coefficient of Lions won to work submitted over the last 25 years of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Argentina ranked in second place, demonstrating amazing creativity and effectiveness.
Our ecosystem of agencies consists of 70% independent companies and 30% agencies that form part of, or represent, international holdings. Half of these offer comprehensive communication services that respond to the new logic of multiplatform connection. More than 60% of Argentine agencies export services and the country has become a creative hub for numerous networks. Many of the creative heads of Argentine agencies also lead the creativity of Latam-wide offices.
Cyclic and deep economic crises are part of our history. Over the last year, the Argentine peso has been devalued by 50% in relation to the US dollar — the biggest devaluation in 16 years. Every time these things happen, Argentine talent becomes even more attractive to the world. But the reason for this phenomenon is not monetary. There’s the matter of expertise.
The spearhead was the Ponce agency, which, 20 years ago, began exporting very good communications for Unilever. Indeed, over the course of four years, it won two Grands Prix for the Axe/Lynx brand at this very festival.
“We have a great capacity for turning out major global pieces that work in each country as if they were local. That’s no easy thing! Since the agency’s opening, we have worked for Axe, Rexona, Impulse, Cif, Cornetto and Fruttare ice cream, and Knorr among other Unilever brands, and also for Visa Miami and Nestlé Latam,” says Hernán Ponce, founder and president of his eponymous agency.
Ponce adds: “We put a lot of work into studying the brands, their strengths and their weaknesses, whom we will be talking to and in what way we’ll do so. Excellence and efficacy above all. I’d be lying if I were to say that, nowadays, our profession is as good as our beef. But since we’re a little crazy, we do this work very well and with a lot of passion —while eating a savoury steak, of course. Additionally, we offer an incredible price-quality ratio.”
• Read the full article in the Lions Daily News, published here online, and in print throughout the city of Cannes, during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, from June 16 to 21