The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Havaianas at the CMO Conference: A national success story
Joseph Clift, Product Manager, Warc
Joseph Clift

The rise of Brazil as an economic power has been much-discussed of late, with latest Warc forecasts suggesting that GDP will rise by 4%, and adspend by 7.5%, this year. And this growth has been helped along by a flourishing communications industry: Brazilian agencies were a major presence at Cannes this year, while several recent Warc papers have pointed to innovations in the fast-growth Brazilian market that offer lessons to marketers in Europe and North America.

Some of the nation's big brands have also gone global. Rui Porto, CMO at Havaianas, will be discussing one of these success stories at the European CMO Conference, which will be held in Zurich later this month. The case of Havaianas is likely to be particularly resonant for delegates, as it tells a story of "national" branding that can potentially be applied to advertisers in other fast-growth economies. Havaianas' aggressive assertion of national identity – many of its products are emblazoned with a little Brazilian flag – cleverly plays both to the international idea of Brazil as a nation of beaches and sun, and to a sense of patriotism at home: according to a 2011 Cannes Lions case study published on Warc, 85% of Brazilians will buy a pair of Havaianas flip-flops this year.

Havaianas ad for its domestic market

Porto will tell CMO Conference delegates that Havaianas' repositioning began in the mid-1990s. Aside from stoking national pride, the strategy involves targeting the flip-flops – which are, after all, a low-cost product – at an affluent audience to boost the desirability of the brand across all socio-economic segments; in other words, Havaianas was repositioned as an "aspirational brand" for all Brazilians. Needless to say, this is a good strategy for long-term brand-building in an emerging economy with a rapidly-expanding middle class.

From there, Havaianas expanded globally, with marketing focused on PR and gaining acceptance among tastemakers around the world. It worked: celebrities from David Beckham to Angelina Jolie were photographed wearing the brand.

Of course, Havaianas won't be the only global brand represented at the CMO Conference. The two-day event will feature presentations from advertisers as Reebok, Bayer, Disney and Tesla Motors. You can read the full conference schedule here, and book your place here.

And, for those who can't make it, Warc will have coverage of the event in our Conference Reports section.

Subjects: Marketing, Brands

12 September 2011 11:24

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