Unmissable innovations + insights from local trend spotters = the future of consumerism in the region!


The pulse of Latin American consumerism is beating faster and faster.

Every month our Central & South American spotters send us a flood of new consumer-facing innovations. The lesson? It’s increasingly vital to track the exciting changes occurring across the consumer arena in the region. So: here we are :)

Recent economic and technological growth has provided fertile ground for budding startups, new products & services, and ever-more interesting trends. Our keen-eyed spotters (from every country in the region) are watching closely!

So this month, we decided to highlight what our spotters consider the best of recent innovation in South & Central America.

In this month’s Bulletin, you’ll find seven unmissable consumer-facing innovations, each one accompanied by an insight from a real consumer on the ground. They will drive you and your team to act!

Take each of the innovations below and ask what new opportunities they suggest for your business. Remember: these examples address important changes in consumer expectations and behavior that need to be responded to.

And of course, you want YOUR company to be the one who does, right? :)


If you notice a pattern when browsing these examples – you're right!

The innovations sent to us by our local spotters would suggest that the blurring boundary between consumerism and social value is the epic trend reshaping the consumer arena in the region today!

There’s one powerful insight for you already; now over to our spotters…



Máquina do Bem

Brazilian platform lets individuals request charitable donations as birthday gifts

In June 2014, Máquina do Bem, a startup that devises ways to increase charitable donations, launched Aniversário do Bem (“Birthday of Goodness”) in Brazil. Consumers that register a profile with the online platform can share a page with friends requesting they make donations to their chosen nonprofit on the individual’s birthday, instead of buying gifts.

“Brazilians are getting more interested in social projects and inspiring movements – especially crowdfunded ones – that allow them to show their social network they’re engaged with social issues.”

Carolina Câmara (24) - freelancer / Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

ABACO: #MealForShare

Colombian organization posts Instagrams of poor families’ meals to raise awareness of poverty

In May 2014, Associación Banco de Alimentos por Colombia (ABACO) launched the #MealForShare campaign to raise funds for impoverished families. ABACO created profiles of people living in extreme poverty and published photos of the meagre scraps they had to eat instead of fresh food. Followers were encouraged to go to the campaign website and make a donation towards food supplies for those in need.

“It’s really interesting to take the Instagram trend of taking pictures of food, and use it for a good cause. The images are shocking and provocative because they don’t feature delicious Colombian food, but disgusting dishes, that aren’t usually seen by privileged people in the country.”

Natalia Berrio (32) - head of planning, Ogilvy & Mather / Bogotá, Colombia

Facebook Genders

Social media giant enables 54 genders for profiles in Argentina

In August 2014, Facebook enabled 54 gender options for Argentinian users’ Facebook profiles, including ‘trans’, ‘pansexual’ and ‘asexual’ among others. The new choices were agreed by Facebook and representatives of the LGBT community. In addition, Facebook will allow users to identify as ‘him’, ‘her’, or neutrally, when receiving reminders for events such as birthdays. Argentina was the first Latin American country to accept this initiative.

“It’s very important that a huge and powerful company like Facebook does something like this. It collaborates with the fight against inequality and sets the standard for other companies to act, in a country which is trying to become open and equal. In a conservative region, the initiative shows Argentina is making an effort to be a free country.”

Camila Mohr (25) - research & marketing planning assistant, BMC / Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tortrix: Embajada Zona 18

Employment initiative tackles address discrimination in Guatemala

Launched in Guatemala in April 2014, Embajada Zona 18 (“Embassy Zone 18”) is a campaign to protect the labor rights of Zona 18 citizens, who are often refused job interviews because criminal gangs control the area. The initiative’s website provides a verifiable address for jobseekers to use on applications, avoiding the address discrimination associated with Zona 18. Jobseekers can also upload résumés to the site, search for vacancies at companies who have committed to a non-discriminatory policy, and access free training courses. Embajada Zona 18 was created by snack brand Tortrix and nonprofit Area 18.

“It is incredible that a company genuinely worries about the country that consumes its products on a daily basis. This project is not only useful for the inhabitants of Zone 18, but for many employers who gain access to a whole new database of amazing individuals that want to work hard everyday to help their families, and to end this awful discrimination once and for all.”

Karen Martinez (24) – International Expansion Collaborator, IFEMA / Guatemala City, Guatemala

Ecuadorian Football Association

White seats installed in stadium to raise awareness about violent supporters

In June 2014, the Ecuadorian Football Association launched the Eternal Seat campaign to highlight the human cost of violence at matches. Two memorial seats were unveiled in the stands of Club Sport Emelec Stadium, in Guayaquil. The white seats remain empty at games, and feature the names of two fans that died at games, with a link to an online petition pledging for non-violence in the stadiums.

“The innovation is new and surprising because no one has addressed this problem [of violence in stadiums] in a more shocking way. In Latin America, rivalry between fans of opposing teams has caused many deaths; and this is the first and only idea of its kind.”

Isabel Freire (28) – head of planning, FCB Mayo / Quito, Ecuador

L&PM Pocket and FreeSurf

Brazilian publisher and fashion brand print poems in jeans' pockets

In July 2014, L&PM Pocket, a pocket-sized book publisher, partnered with the fashion brand FreeSurf to launch an exclusive collection of jeans in Brazil. The Original Pocket Books range had stories and poems from the publisher’s authors printed on the inside of the pockets, to demonstrate the convenience of pocket-sized books.

“I loved this activity from L&PM because it involves stories. It uses storytelling to demonstrate the practicality of pocket books. And it went beyond the scope of marketing itself, because besides showing the practicality of pocket books, it illustrated the importance of stories in our lives, inspiring us.”

Fernanda Budag (33) – lecturer, FAPCOM / São Paulo, Brazil

Alerta Sísmica Grillo

Earthquake early warning device for domestic use crowdfunded in Mexico

Surpassing its goal on Mexican crowdfunding platform Fondeadora in July 2014, Alerta Sísmica Grillo is a small receiver that continually monitors the government’s SASMEX earthquake early warning signal. Grillo decodes the received information and, as soon as an earthquake is detected, automatically emits an alert in the form of a siren and flashing lights. Retailing at around USD 800, Grillo is designed for domestic use.

“It’s a good innovation, since it doesn’t require a phone or internet to send the alert signal. Even though millions of Mexicans have internet access, when an earthquake happens, communication may fail. Plus, 31 out of 100 Mexicans are over 60 years old, and not many seniors use the internet.”

Alicia de la Peña (47) – PhD student / Saltillo, Mexico



Now it's your turn!

The examples and local insights above should give you a sense of the pulse of the region, and make a great starting point for you and your team to get innovating. Discuss what you can learn from them and how you could adapt what you've seen for your brand or your client(s).


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