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Brazil 2014: From World Cup to World Leader – A Standout Year for PR

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Ciro Dias Reis is CEO of the Brazilian PR company Imagem Corporativa; VP of PROI Worldwide; director of the Brazilian Association of PR companies; board member of the International Communications Consultancy Organisation. He is also Lansons’ Brazilian PR partner and de facto football aficionado.
Brazil 2014: From World Cup to World Leader – A Standout Year for PR

If the calendar year in Brazil were a game, we might say that the second half of 2014 is starting now, after Germany’s World Cup win earlier this month. This is due to our upcoming October 2014 elections, wherein 140 million Brazilians will go to the polls to elect the President, 27 regional governors, 513 representatives and 81 senators.

Both events usually foster a great deal of movement in the PR industry in Brazil. The World Cup requires a great amount of communication actions directly or indirectly linked to the World Cup and its sponsors, in a country where soccer is a national passion and mobilizes the population in a very special way. The elections, in turn, demand much work from political parties and candidates competing for the hearts and minds of voters (voting is mandatory in Brazil up from 18 years-old).

Although much less mature than in the United Kingdom, the Brazilian market of PR has presented a positive evolution for professionals in the industry; PR professionals have been increasingly required to be not only knowledgeable in press relations, but also experts with a vision broad enough to propose integrated solutions involving different disciplines in the communication scenario.

This World Cup, moreover, generated additional opportunities. This is because in 2013 there were protests in different Brazilian cities against the World Cup, due to the high costs of its organization; in 2014, some protests were repeated, although much less intense. It caused several World Cup sponsors to prepare not only traditional campaigns for their brands, products and services associated with the event through the usual communication actions (the most visible part of the job), but also for creating specific programs to prevent and manage crisis (in this case, working quietly). In this last case, the objective was increasing the capacity to protect the image and reputation of their organizations if the protests against the event returned with the same momentum as last year and turned against the sponsors.

It was seen in the recent winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, when sponsors McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Samsung were targets for protesters criticizing the event taking place in a country where the President shows little tolerance regarding the subject of sexual orientation.

The World Cup and the Brazilian elections will be important variables to allow the PR industry in Brazil to grow about 10% this year, regardless of a forecast of relatively low GDP, which will likely be around 2%.