Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

Advertising: the American vs. the Brazilian way

Brazil has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Digital life is accessible to most, as are cell phones, text messaging and all the technology the former “first world” has. One of the plagues of American life, telemarketing, has also reached Brazil. However, there is a slight difference that can be noticed by someone who has lived extensively in both cultures:

Advertising in Brazil is still less somber. It is often about fun and humor.

Advertising in Brazil is still more honest. Prescription drugs cannot be advertised, since only doctors have the competency to recommend them. There is less hiding the truth with fine print.
There is less fictitious promises in Brazilian ads. I will never forget how shocked I was living in the late 70’s in the US and seeing teen girls’ magazines advertising pills to grow your breasts. Even at 17 I knew that no pills can make someone breasts get larger!

Cities in Brazil have less restrictions when it comes to outdoor advertisement such as billboards. Visual pollution is higher.

Sexy pictures (usually with women) are a lot more used in Brazil than in the more puritan America.

Finally, some say TV commercials are more creative and beautiful in Brazil. Brazilian advertising is top quality.

For those who have lived in both countries, what is your opinion?



May 17, 2012 - Posted by | Difference between cultures


  1. I have really fun watching the ads in USA. Specially medicine products. But I think they seams weird because they reflect daily life and there are so many different habits they have that are very strange to us. I prefer brazilian ads by far… but maybe I’m not being fair.

    Comment by Hearts and Minds | May 17, 2012 | Reply

  2. I notice in Brazil they do much more street level marketing with real people. So for instance, when you stop at a traffic light there might be a couple of girls who walk out and unfurl a banner across the intersection.

    On the beach a team of about six people mixed men and girls all wearing some product uniform will canvas the area handing out free samples. In the supermarkets it seems like there are always free sample people. Additionally, there’s often promotional cars with some product like the red bull car or cup of noodle truck handing out more free samples.

    Finally, there are the numerous people who strap a loudspeaker to the roof of their car to advertise, picolés (popsicles), produtos de limpeza (cleaning products), or the next sertaneja party that is imperdível!!! (unmissable).

    With billboards it’s hard to say whether they have more here or not, in Florianópolis they have them but in São Paulo they are banned. I also don’t know if I would classify Brazilian advertisement as more honest, it looks pretty much the same to me. Thankfully there are no drug commercials in Brazil and that’s exclusively an American thing still, haven’t seen it any other place.

    There is a beer in Rio Grande do Sul that has very very funny commercials :

    (if you don’t speak portuguese, you’re not gonna understand these)

    Comment by g2-75713e3437c6eb18051d7f013bf69b44 | May 17, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks Tim, great information! I needed an update, haven’t lived in Brazil for a long time now. I’m just a visitor.

      Comment by Brasilmagic | May 17, 2012 | Reply

  3. Personally I’m biased, but I think UK ads are generally better (and often funnier) than US or Brazilian ones.

    Comment by Andy Bullock (@Andy7T7) | August 27, 2012 | Reply

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