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The 2019 Latin American PR Agencies of the Year are the result of a research process involving submissions and meetings with the best PR firms across the region.
Agencies of the Year are announced at our Latin American SABRE Awards ceremony which takes place at Seminario de Cultura Mexican (Mexican Cultural Seminar) in Polanco, Mexico City on September 11, 2019. Analysis of all Finalists and Winners can be accessed via the navigation menu or below:
Approach Comunicacao (Independent)
Given the contentious start to Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right presidency, and an economy still in the tank, Brazilian business has continued taking major hits over the last 12 months, with no immediate end to the five-year crisis in sight. Yet Approach Comunicacao has managed to come out ahead, with founder Elizabeth Garcia building on 20 years of history to grow Approach into one of the country’s leading corporate communications and CSR agencies. Approach reports 15% growth during the last year, registering roughly 28 million BRL ($6.7 million) in fee income generated by the average 140 clients the agency handles simultaneously.
In 2018, Approach added PepsiCo to a client roster that already included Accor, TCL, Sephora, Ambev, SIG, Museu do Amanha, Rio Carnival, Rock in Rio, Prudential and Bradesco Saude. The year’s hallmark work includes campaigns to boost public awareness of leprosy for the Brazilian Dermatological Society. Approach won three 2019 SABRE Award certificates of excellence for its work for its media relations work for Spacecom aimed at helping the public understand how electronic anklets work; its public education campaign for the national Dermatological Society fighting prejudice against people with vitiligo; and special events it for Game XP. — DM
Since its founding in 1980 by entrepreneur Francisco Soares Brandão, FSB Comunicações has made it a point of pride that the firm takes on the toughest, most high-profile assignments in the Brazilian market, such as the Platinum Award-winning work at our first ever Latin American SABRE awards for its work on behalf of the Brazilian Ministry of Sports and the 2014 World Cup as well as a host of public affairs and government-sponsored campaigns through the years—and a good deal of work in recent years protecting corporate reputations during that was known as Operação Lava-Jato (Operation Car-Wash), a country-wide crackdown on corruption. It’s an approach that has helped FSB grow to around $68 million in revenues, making it the highest-ranked Latin American firm on our global agency ranking, at number 33.
But heritage is only half the story: FSB has been modernizing and innovating too, making its first acquisition last year and integrating digital, content and consumer marketing specialist Loures Consultoria and its founder Alexandre Loures. Key Clients include Brazil’s National Confederation of Industries (CNI), Nestlé, JBS, Banco BTG Pactual, Disney, L’Oréal, the Ministry of Health, Ipiranga, the City of Rio de Janeiro, and McKinsey, with new business from Huawei, Empiricus, Editora Abril, CMOC, Eleva, Neoenergia, Paranapanema, Valor Capital, Lex Finance, and law firm Kincaid Mendes Vianna. In addition to the ongoing Operação Lava-Jato work, highlights last year included developing an integrated communications strategy to promote Disney Parks’ attractions in the Brazilian market, and a SABRE-winning campaign against fake news for the Ministry of Health.—PH
Imagem Corporativa (Independent)
With offices in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília and Recife, a team of more than 60 professionals, and fee income last year of $4 million (up modestly on the year before, despite difficult economic conditions and political upheaval in Brazil), Imagem Corporativa is not the largest independent in Brazil, but it is among the most respected. Founder and chief executive Ciro Dias Reis, a former journalist who founded the firm in 2001, has been relentlessly focused on two things that set his firm apart: first, on providing quality strategic advice, particularly in corporate and public affairs, but increasingly in digital and social media; and second, in developing both practices and a profile that is international as well as domestic, notably through the firm’s membership in the global network PROI.
Imagem Corporativa works with an impressive roster of clients that includes Sanofi, Genzyme, Medley, Porto Seguro, Nissan, and Libbs, with new business in the past year from Booking.com, XP Investimentos, Bluefit, Anbima, Abifumo, Abiquim, SAP, Lime, It's Informov, Rio Tinto, Cooperação Alemã-GIZ. The firm supported Nissan—still relatively new to the Brazilian market—as the car company introduced its first new model in eight years at the São Paulo Motor Show with an expedition “searching for the beginnings of Brazil.” On the non-profit side of the equation, meanwhile, IC helped the Nature Conservancy draw attention to the water crisis and position itself as a leader on the issue.—PH
Weber Shandwick Brazil (IPG)
With offices in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, as well as a robust network of affiliates, Weber Shandwick Brazil is in the enviable position of being able to cover all of Brazil, with the kind of cultural sensitivities and insights to which locals are keenly attuned. That national footprint is the product the calculated growth of the agency that started with Weber’s 2011 purchase of S2Publicom, resulting in an operation today whose integrated capabilities — creative, digital and strategic — mirror those of the larger Weber Shandwick organization.
The result: a 220-person operation with double-digit year-over-year revenue growth, as well as a 70% talent and 90% client retention rates. Across Brazil, the firm serves 50-plus clients including high-profile names like Bayer, Boehringer, TIM, Coty, Puma, Kroton, Ericsson, Cargill, GM, Warner Games. New clients in the past 12 months include IBM, Novartis, DAZN, Itaú, Bracell, Sul America, AON and Danone Nutricia.
All of which reflects the effort and investment Weber put into maintaining a robust business despite the country’s tough economic times and political swings, resulting in businesses cutting their communications budget. The last 12 months saw Weber’s acquisition of digital and tech agency Cappuccino; the creation of relationship building programs with c-suite executives and leadership workshops; investments in talent; and strengthening its Brasilia operation to keep pace with governmental changes. The year’s showcase work includes the office’s initiative for L’Oréal, which focused on promoting the Brazilian launch of Polo Red Rush through social and influencer channels, leveraging the appeal of actress and global brand ambassador Ansel Elgort and a red carpet event. The effort resulted in more than 400 Instagram posts reaching 98 million people, more than 5 million interactions and 67 press articles. The traffic on Renner’s (second biggest group of department stores in Brazil) website increased 40% during the activation period.
For BP (A Beneficência Portuguesa), the largest private healthcare unit in Latin America, Weber Shandwick and Cappuccino supported the company’s transformation from a non-profit to a for-profit organization. The effort included launching a new website, producing content produced content for the site as well as BP’s social channels and supporting it with organic and paid media. A subsequent marketing campaign reached 16 million people and met 100% of the agency’s goal within two months.—DM
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