2013 Brazilian Protests

Two for Tuesday: Advertising Caught in the Middle of Brazilian Protests

In recent months, Brazil has made international headlines with its ongoing public demonstrations in various cities across the country. Brazilians are taking to the streets in huge numbers to protest issues such as rising bus fares, political corruption and lavish spending on the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament.

Protesters often have a unifying phrase to support their cause, and Brazil’s movement is no exception. Interestingly enough, two of the slogans that Brazilians are using to gear their movement come from major ad campaigns. “Vem pra rua” (Come to the streets) and “O gigante acordou” (The giant has awoken) were coined respectively in ads by Fiat and Johnnie Walker. This Two for Tuesday, we’re looking at the how the slogans, which are far disconnected from their original intentions, are serving as a call to action for all Brazilians.

Fiat “Vem pra rua”

This commercial is part of Fiat’s recently launched campaign to celebrate the Confederations Cup soccer championship that took place in Brazil in late June. The catchy song repeats the phrase “Vem pra rua” in phrases that translate to “Come to the street, because the street is the biggest grandstand in Brazil.” As it coincided with the protests, demonstrators quickly picked up the slogan and soon the hashtag #vemprarua, originally launched on social media sites by Fiat, was trending on Twitter.


Jonnie Walker “O gigante acordou”

Brazilian protesters also adopted the tagline from this 2011 Johnnie Walker ad. Originally created to celebrate Brazil’s economic growth, the spot features a gigantic stone figure emerging from the famous Sugarloaf Mountain and ends with the phrase, “The giant is no longer sleeping. Keep walking, Brazil.” The tagline was also trending on Twitter as #ogiganteacordou.


By appropriating slogans from ad campaigns that are completely unrelated to their social causes, Brazil’s protesters demonstrate the effects of heavy consumerism.  However, both brands are attempting to distance themselves from the movement. In a statement, Fiat reported that the slogan “Vem pra rua” was created “with an exclusive focus on the Cup and on the happiness and passion that football awakens in Brazilians.” Similarly, a representative from Diageo (the beverage company that owns Johnnie Walker) stated:

“Johnnie Walker clarifies that use of the hashtag #ogiganteacordou, which has representation on social media as a result of current social movements in Brazil, has not been promoted by the brand. The signature ‘the giant is no longer asleep’ was used in the brand campaign in 2011 and 2012, and has not been broadcast since that time.”

Check out the video below to see how Brazilians combined scenes from the Johnnie Walker spot with real footage of street protests, set to the soundtrack of “Vem pra rua.”



Cover Photo Source: By Tânia Rêgo/ABr (Agencia Brasil)2013 Brazilian protests [CC-BY-3.0-br], via Wikimedia Commons

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info] Leora is a Junior Executive at SJG. She is a native Chicagoan who is currently working toward obtaining a BA from Washington University in St. Louis. Outside the office, her favorite things include reading, live music and travel.[/author]