The WARC Awards are now open for entries. Here John Bizzell, WARC's Awards Lead, finds out what the three Latin American jury chairs will be looking for in the 2024 winners. Meet Haleon’s Carolina Sandoval, Mercado Libre’s, Sean Summers and Ambev’s Daniel Wakswaser.

Carolina Sandoval says she is obsessed with data-driven marketing, digital transformations, audience-based decision making and finding effective and efficient ways to grow the key brands she works on for Haleon: Panadol, Advil, Centrum, Sensodyne, Corega, Voltaren, and Theraflu amongst others. She is currently Media Director for the Repeatable Growth Model process across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, ensuring business growth plans that will deliver increased net sales to a specific category/country through better media and creative plans. 

Carolina on…

Brand Purpose

“More and more consumers are citing ‘purpose’ as a driver for purchase. We have a big role as advertisers to change people's minds and hearts, to drive culture – and with great power comes great responsibility! This is why, for me, Brand Purpose is one of the most exciting categories to watch. One of the brands that has been very consistent at driving purpose for more than two decades is Dove with their Real Beauty campaign. They seem to keep tackling powerful insights around this platform year after year and we don’t seem to get tired of them, actually we want more!”   

The balance of brand versus performance

“Mark Ritson couldn't have said it in a better way: ‘Bothism’ is the cure for marketers’ fascination with pointless conflict. The Long and the Short of it has proven to be the most important framework for effective advertising - and the good part is, that we don’t have to choose, we can be great at both. Actually, if we want our business to grow, we are compelled to be great at both: long-term, emotional, broad reach, brand-building campaigns that help business growth; but also make sure we have short-term, functional, performance-targeted activations that lead to quick business results.”

What will make an entry stand out

“Make sure you are telling a great story. Spend some time explaining the Insight, the why, the deep human truth that you managed to uncover. Great implementations are seen everywhere, but it's hard to find cases that also have a WOW factor – something great or different! A very wise media person once told me that great case studies usually make you cry or laugh. In the end, great case studies are the ones which move your fibres, your essence, your core as a human being. Great case studies are the ones that give you a bit of envy (or a lot).”

Sean Summers has been the CMO of Mercado Libre since 2018 and Executive Vice President of Mercado Ads since 2022. Prior to this role, between 2012 and 2018 as the VP of Mercado Libre he was responsible for the Marketplace business unit throughout the region, looking after the marketing, sales, product management and country operations teams. Before joining Mercado Libre, Sean worked in the UK as Marketing Director for Twinings, the traditional English tea brand, and held various positions at PepsiCo, his last position being Marketing Director for Quaker and Tropicana.

Sean on…

Brand Purpose

“Purpose has to be something intrinsic to the brand, not something force-fitted. And it can’t be a short-term fix to a ‘brand positioning problem’. At Mercado Libre we like to say that purpose is part of our DNA. It's what helps to answer questions like who we are, what we want to accomplish and, above all, what for. Purpose needs time and, especially, consistency. You cannot measure it by the impact of one specific action, but rather as layers built on the long run. In many companies there is a certain tension between ‘impact and performance’ on one hand and ‘purpose and consistency’ on the other. I believe both are important and very necessary.” 

Instant impact vs long-term growth

“If your objective is to build a category-leading brand you need to have the conviction and capacity to find the right balance of investments - and there is no perfect formula. With performance investments, you merely compete in your category. When you find the right balance between short-term performance and brand-building investments, you separate yourself from the pack and move towards category leadership. In the end, they are intertwined: a good performance strengthens the construction of a brand, and a powerful brand feeds performance. What matters for one, matters for both.”

What he wants to see from entrants

“I would like to see ideas that generate strong business results and real impact on the lives of consumers. Today, globally, not getting involved, not working for the well-being of the communities in which a company operates is not an option. The most symbolic branding and communication cases are those which relate to real problems faced by societies; campaigns created to strengthen a brand while making certain societal issues visible have much more value and relevance.” 

Dani Wakswaser is a seasoned marketing professional with over 15 years of experience in building brands both big and small, craft and mainstream, Brazilian and international. Part of Anheuser-Busch InBev since 2008, Dani has worked in Brazil, Europe and New York's Global Office, where he was responsible for Creative & Capabilities. Serving as Ambev's CMO since 2020, he has led the creative transformation of the company, which resulted in Ambev becoming the most awarded Brazilian company at Cannes Lions in 2021-22, and Effie's Advertiser of the Year for the first time in 2022.

Dani on…

The WARC Awards coming to LATAM

“I think Brazil has always been a very creatively-powered country – supercharged when you think about global awards. For a long time creativity was held by the agencies, from a marketing standpoint, but over the last five years I think clients and big companies have started really understanding the power of that. So, I'm excited about a big show like the WARC Awards coming to Latin America and talking about the parity between effectiveness and creativity. Competition is important. I think it really fosters a creative mindset in which the industry thrives.”

Demonstrating purpose

“First, not all brands have to have social causes, because sometimes it is just not authentic. It has to be authentic for the brand, because if it is, it will connect to consumers. People are tired of empty promises. Brands that are able to articulate really, really, really good solutions to problems, and stick to them, they're starting to win. Here in Brazil, the pandemic was a catalyst for the right behaviour. We have a brand called Stella Artois that is investing in women's gastronomy and it's putting real money behind that. A lot of Brazilian companies are investing with the right mindset, which is you do it first, you do it for real, and then you talk about it and you become creative. I think it's crucial to respect that balance and to be very authentic to the cause you're embracing.”

Strategic thinking in a cost-of-living crisis

“The beer category is democratic and you have to factor that in when developing your marketing. Affordability is a big part of our programmes, and you can be creative with that. 50% of the beer volume in Brazil is sold in returnable glass bottles, which are good for the planet and cheaper for consumers. Ultimately, our superpower comes from that situation – adversity can make you more creative. I think that's what Brazilian marketers are good at, just finding ways around tougher situations to be creative – always ethically of course. And to see the silver linings of the situation.”

The WARC Awards 2024 are open for entries now. Final deadline: 6 February. Download your entry pack here