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M&M’s Blog goes behind the headlines to offer a running commentary on the business dynamics within the international media and marketing industry. The M&M editorial team joins forces with industry experts and local market heroes to balance a bird’s eye view of global trends with the importance of local insight.

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How brands can position themselves to appeal to Argentinians in one of South America’s most challenging yet rewarding markets


Argentina is a market ripe for disruption. Covering over two million miles and with 24 distinct provinces, its differing geographies and climates mean that somewhere in the country at any one point, there are many opportunities for brands to engage with new audiences. Cultural hooks such as the nation’s love of football, asado barbeque, tango and local music provide a stage for occasion-based marketing campaigns whilst research shows that family is the most valued aspect of life, where friendship plays an important role for happiness. The impact of immigration in previous centuries generates a combined profile: figures from a survey by TNS show that almost 9 out of 10 are proud to be Argentinians, but 64% also hope for the country to be close to Europe, showing a receptive environment for global brands established in Western markets.

However, Argentina has been a challenging market for international brands. In 2012 a number of luxury retailers such as Ralph Lauren and Escada left the country due to import barriers, currency controls and soaring inflation. Inflation and the economy remain key concerns for locals and one in four Argentinians believe that now is a bad time to buy durable goods. This economic uncertainty does however mean that brands looking to gain a foothold in Argentina can capitalise on the current mood. There is an attitude amongst Argentines that their cash would be better spent than saved and with commodities continuing to rise in price, there is a growing appetite for promotions and offers in stores. 

In the current landscape, low cost brands and outlet offers are thriving and newcomers need to be prepared for a climate of competitive cost-cutting or being strong enough to transmit value for money. Brands that are prepared to embrace this are much more likely to succeed. Yet on the flipside, local concern about the economy means that glamourous marketing campaigns selling an ideal of commercial success will likely lose out. Brands would do better to hone in on Argentinian values of family and friends, positioning their offering as a wholesome and value-driven option. 

Many brands have enjoyed success in Argentina due to a strong and enduring profile which has resonated with the local mindset. Ford Motor is one example of an international brand which has used strong marketing campaigns about families, agriculture and the country’s rural beauty that have tapped into the Argentine identity and secured a loyal following as a result. Its TV commercials, such as the Ford Ecosport in 2007, are compelling for Argentinians who identify with these physical places.

Brands like Toyota have also played the game: their 2014 advert for the Hilux sport is filmed in a recognisable landscape to the sound of local music to generate a closer proximity to Argentinian consumers.


Similarly, Coca-Cola has grown its customer base in Argentina through its active association with football. In 2014, they made a commercial called ‘El Abrazo’ which recalled one of the most iconic moments in Argentina’s football history when Victor Dell’Aquila ran onto the field after the match and gave a symbolic hug to Alberto Tarantini and Ubaldo Fillol, two of the football players responsible winning Argentina’s first World Cup title.

 

Soft drink suppliers have generally experienced strong success in Argentina, despite the country’s strong presence in the wine world. Argentina is ranked 7th in the world for wine consumption and is the 5th largest producer of wine. Yet despite the excellent local Malbec, when asked, 56% of Argentinians hadn’t drunk alcohol in the last 30 days. Certainly, there is a change in habits, in the past 4 decades, consumption of wine (per capita) fell by 70%, challenging the industry to work more on quality and premium offers for both local and international markets. Argentina wines got several worldwide awards, mostly in the varieties of Malbec and Chardonnay. 

The enduring popularity of mate, a traditional South American drink made by an infusion of dried leaves of yerba mate which contains caffeine, could be in part the reason why soft drink brands have thrived in Argentina. Fruit flavoured water (Aquarius) and fruit-flavoured drink Tang are increasingly popular as they have developed a variety of flavours to suit local preferences. 

It is clear that there is need for global brands to balance an international approach with recognition of local tastes. Soup brand Knorr, owned by Unilever, produces corn-flavoured soup for its consumers in Argentina. Similarly Dove, which has a strong footprint in Argentina, has launched a new ‘Dove Curls’ hair product along with a #LoveYourCurls video. 

Hashtags and social media campaigns are increasingly the best way to engage with consumers, as Argentina has become a mobile centric market, where social networking sites are the primary means consumers use for engaging with brands. Outside of social media, they are not very receptive towards emails, online discussions, online customer service, or branded communities.

Saving money and gaining access to exclusive products are the primary motivations for engaging with brands in the digital space, although this varies somewhat by category. For example, access to product information is more highly valued by technology consumers, whilst in the financial services sector, the desire is for a service that can make life easier for the consumer.

The stories of brands that have succeeded in Argentina prove that the desirability of foreign commodities has to be balanced with an acknowledgement of the ever-changing values of population in the midst of economic uncertainty. Brands that can anchor themselves to core, long-term values such as family, friendship, the countryside and expressions of happiness, will be the ones who experience success.

By Mercedes Ruiz Barrio, regional commercial director for Latin America at TNS and Ana Valdespino, marketing lead, Latin America, TNS Mexico

 

 

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 Comments (2)

  • Adam Walker 12:48 25 February 2017
    Very interesting article! Can somebody write my paper for money?
  • Sharon Johnson 05:55 30 March 2017

    I'm from Argentina. It's hard to say since they are everywhere. Travel to South America. Years back, I remember there used to be Argentinian clubs in NY and south FL. Maybe also in other states write my essay for essay Bliss. Maybe chat rooms in South America. Here is Florida, there are stores that sell Argentinian products such as wine, meat, pastries, and foods. They usually tend to carry newspapers and have gatherings/clubs within the area. Hope this can be of some help.

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