Knowing Leo’s, Knowing You: Paulo Giovanni


Welcome back to our interview series Knowing Leo’s, Knowing You in which we speak to the Leo Burnett big cheeses around the world, to find out more about them and their offices.
Last month we spoke with Andrea Albrecht at our Frankfurt office. This month we are travelling just over 6,000 miles west to São Paulo, Brazil. With both next the World Cup and the Olympics being hosted by Brazil there are some very exciting times ahead for the Samba nation.
Manning the helm for Leo Burnett in one of the world’s fastest growing advertising sectors is the 2012 Brazilian Ad Man of the Year, Paulo Giovanni, CEO of Leo Burnett Tailor Made who is our next Knowing Leo’s, Knowing You interviewee.

Leo Burnett Tailor Made
Date Founded:
19th January 1975
Number of employees:
Biggest clients:
Carrefour, P&G, Fiat, Samsung, Nova Schin Beer, SECOM (Communications Secretariat of the Presidency of the Federative Republic of Brazil)
Recent awards:
Cannes (Bronze), Grand Prix El Ojo, Effie Awards (Gold and Silver), Communications Arts (6 winners), One Show (4 merits) and One Show Design (Merit)

Hi Paulo, welcome to Knowing Leos, Knowing You. Firstly can you tell us about your background? Where did you grow up and what did you do before you entered the world of work?

I was born in the City of Petrópolis, a mountain city in the State of Rio de Janeiro and my first job was in radio, where I started as an office boy. I loved to stay close to the host at the time and I learned everything from him. One day he got sick and didn’t come into work. Since I was the only person who knew his work, they put me in to substitute him. From then on my career in communications began. For 17 years I had a daily show at Globo Radio in the city of Rio de Janeiro, which had the highest audience in the city. I also hosted a number of TV programs before founding Giovanni Comunicações.

Later I associated myself to Draft FCB, part of the Interpublic Group. Giovanni Draft FCB became one of the 10 largest agencies in Brazil. When I left the Draft Group, I created two promotional marketing agencies, Mix Brand Experience and Pop Trade Marketing, with operations in point of sales strategy. In early 2011 I launched the Tailor Made Agency and some months later I was invited to be partner and CEO of Leo Burnett, today Leo Burnett Tailor Made.

So what drew you to the advertising industry?

Communication has always fascinated me. In my adolescence I read newspapers and imagined why certain ads had determined their approaches and this caught my attention. Later, on radio, I started paying further attention to the jingles, the ads and I began to understand which ads worked and which ones had a positive result with the listeners. It was then, 1974, that I decided to startup Giovanni, a small advertising agency in Rio de Janeiro. In the mornings until 10am I was a radio broadcaster and for the rest of day I would be an ad executive.

What was your career journey leading up to Leo Burnett Tailor Made?

After passing the quarantine period of the Giovanni agency being sold to Draft FCB, I felt the need to launch an agency which demanded a greater synergy and convergence of the media. A company that operated forensically to search for a tailored communication, focused on understanding the client’s business and the best return on investment of the advertisers. That’s how Tailor Made was born. A company with communication directed to a customized creative-strategic thinking and network of specialists.

When I was still settling this company, the negotiation with Leo Burnett began. The fusion project evolved in a very fast way, and that is due to the high level of synergy and similarities existent between the two agencies. The idea was, and has been since partnering with Leo Burnett, to work with the formatting of a solid diagnosis and multi-disciplinary brief to create tailored solutions and efficient results.

In April 2011, your previously independent agency Tailor Made rebranded with Leo Burnett Brazil to form Leo Burnett Tailor Made. How was the transition? How have the first couple of years as part of the Leo Burnett group been?

We arrived here and found ourselves in a complicated scenario; a result of a period when Leo Burnett was without a President and it had lost some of its strategic accounts. Of course new business is the key factor to lift an agency up from the financial point of view. But in a market of ideas, where inspiration and place to work are fundamental to creating ideas, things go a bit beyond.

First we had to put the mood of the office in order as well as defining the goals and strategic areas we would operate in. So we got to work, and we kept everyone who was working at the current office and then hired new talents. In 18 months we won 11 new clients, opened an office in Brasília, increased our number of employees from 172 to 308 people and finished 2012 with a growth of 46%.

But the numbers that I am most proud of are from the last study from “People Survey” (our internal Leo Burnett survey) which indicated that 94% of the employees believe the agency has an exceptional future, 88% of the people trust the local management; and 92% say it’s a great place to work.

The happy people and the lovely work from Leo Burnett Tailor Made.

You are known for implementing the “Fiat Agency” - can you explain what that is?

To meet Fiat’s need to have an integrated communication structure, Leo Burnett Tailor Made (which focusses on offline communication) and AgênciaClick Isobar (focusing on online) launched a new operating model previously unheard of in the Brazilian advertising market.

This model gave origin to Fiat Agency, where professionals of both agencies began to co-lead the planning and creation of campaigns for the leading automaker in Brazil. Under this model, the agencies worked together from the first moment that strategic planning was drawn up, to a car launch, to a retail campaign. Through this operation, the Fiat Agency enables a huge amount of synergy, in making ideas powerful and thus optimizing the client’s resources.

What is it like inside your offices? How would you describe them to someone who has never been?

We are a modern agency, in both its architecture and way of operating in the market. We have many windows and glass facades which not only let the light in but also aim to symbolize our transparency in the way we communicate with our stakeholders.

We have a bar called “HumanGuaça” which joins the HumanKind philosophy to a moment of relaxation and fun (since “guaça” in Portuguese refers to drinks). In this spot we hold our get togethers and celebrate our latest wins.

A nice little app from LB Tailor Made desire that aimed to reduce water being wasted.

Moving on to a wider area, Brazil has seen its economy boom in recent years - how has this affected Brazil’s ad industry? Has it become far more competitive?

Data from ZenithOptimedia consultancy points out that Brazil will be the fifth largest advertising market in the world from 2013, sitting only behind USA, Japan, China and Germany, in this order. The country will grow by US$22.2 billion in 2014. With this growth, there is no doubt the opportunities will also increase, but as will competitiveness in the market. We still have to remember that the world is under recession and a retracted growth. This affects our country since we live in a globalized world, full of subsidiaries that are controlled by headquarters located in countries in recession.

In 2012, the Brazilian advertising market grew by 8% (much higher than GDP which closed with an increase of 1.7%). But, on the other hand, there was an exchange of accounts that affected 69 agencies, involving a move of 127 advertisers. The reasons pointed out are many, such as global alignment; end of contract between the parties; open spaces to find more advantageous options, among others. So, within the growth we expect, I believe we have to be cautious.

Is there a lot of fresh creative talent coming through from Brazil’s youth?

Yes. Because in all areas, not only in advertising, creativity as an economic imperative is more and more latent. A new generation of talents amongst creative people has begun to arrive along with the qualities very admired in the business world.

This generation demands much more from an organisation, they have self-confidence and want to rise professionally in a short period of time. They have a greater entrepreneurial spirit and already have total familiarity with the digital and convergent world, which counts a lot in favor of today’s youth.

Your business win of Carrefour was awarded best piece of new business for the LB Network in 2012. Can you tell us what made that pitch and win so special?

Winning the Carrefour account was one of our greatest victories of 2012. It was, without a doubt the biggest pitch in the country within the retail market, involving an annual advertising spend of US$ 60 million. And what makes this victory so special is that it’s the result of a lot of preparation work that started long before the bidding. When we went to participate, we were already aligned with a retail consultancy, we had invested in courses and in the training of our staff on the subject.

What I want to say is that this bid showed us that if you want to win an account in any category, be prepared before you enter it. As a consequence of well consolidated planning and an assertive communication, the result of the work for the hypermarket is already showing. A recent study made by Datafolha (survey institute) shows Carrefour as one of the 8 brands with most well-remembered ads aired on TV (among the existing categories, involving retail, beverages, automobiles, etc).

The next 5 years will be very exciting for Brazil with the hosting of the World Cup in 2014 and then the Olympic Games two years after. Are there agency plans in place to take advantage of these huge events?

Yes. We have been working on our plans for 2014 for a while. One of the strategic areas here is sports marketing. We have developed projects for clients like Samsung (involving actions all over Latin America), Iveco Trucks and P&G.

We have a proactive project within the agency which became a big success, extrapolating the national borders. We joined a famous soccer team in the Northeast of Brazil, the Vitória (State of Bahia) with Penalty (its sponsor) and Hemoba (Blood bank for the State of Bahia) to develop an action which was aimed to educate the population to donate blood. The team, whose uniform is red & black, entered the field in many games of an important tournament wearing a different uniform, without the red (see video below).

The message was for the population to donate blood and as donations increased in the city, the red would gradually return to the club’s uniform. We won various Grand Prix with this action. But the most important: we managed an increase of 48% in donation volume. And that made us extremely happy.

The case study video showing how Vitoria (soccer club) called upon fans to donate blood in order to bring the colour red back to the team’s famous shirt

On the note of sport, what are your thoughts on former Brazilian International Ronaldo’s recent announcement that he plans to work with Sir Martin Sorrell in London to learn about advertising? A good move?

Ronaldo is a phenomenon. Elected three times as the “Best Player in the World” by FIFA he is a star in and outside the 4 lines. As a matter of fact, we just closed a contract with him to be a celebrity endorsement of the FIAT brand in Brazil for the next two years.

Going back to Ronaldo, his popularity has for some time, already surpassed the world borders. And the ad universe is nothing new for him. I think it’s natural for a professional with his image, who stars in many ad campaigns and has part of his fortune originating from marketing initiatives, is interested in the area and to delve into it. Parallel to that, he has a wide network of relationships to promote businesses which count a lot to the new Ronaldo businessman.

The making of a commercial for Fiat starring Ronaldo.

We assume you a keen soccer fan? Who do you support?

Yes, as with all Brazilians, I like soccer and my favorite team is Vasco da Gama. A traditional club from Rio de Janeiro that was founded in 1898 and is one of the most popular teams in the country. I had already become closer to soccer during a period as Marketing Vice President for the Vasco team. But today I would say I have more of a tendency for golf than for soccer.

And is there anyone that you particularly aspire to?

I have always liked soccer. One of my idols is Pelé. I admire him a lot for his talent, character and for all the good he represents to soccer and for Brazil.

When were you last inspired personally?

It was precisely during a dinner with Pelé, when he told me and a group of friends his trajectory, from a poor boy in the interior of Brazil till becoming a world icon.

If you could work at any other LB fellow office which one would it be and why?

I had the opportunity of going to the Leo Burnett London office during the first ELT meeting in September last year. I loved the environment of the office, the city. I would certainly work there with pleasure.

A good choice! As always to finish, Apples or Pencils?

Both. Pencils: which transcribe the creative ideas and its power to transform the human behaviour. Apples: because they are an icon of a story that helps us remember how to work when faced with adversities.

5th March 2013