Neymarketing: The one-man brand from Brazil

March 6, 2015

Ben Lyttleton – Goal, 3/5/2015

There are six players in the Rich List Top 20 who are under 30, but only one under 26. That man is Neymar, 23, who comes in third with an estimated net worth of 135 million euros ($149 million). That huge figure is not just a reflection of his football talent – although Brazilians see him as the best player in the world already, his confirmation of that status might be a few years away – but rather a perfect storm of contributing factors to create the optimal earning template.

Timing is the most important element of the ‘Neymarketing’ success story. His talent developed and blossomed at a period in Brazil’s history when its economy was on the up, increasing by four percent a year between 2002 and 2010. That allowed him to stay at Santos, his club in Brazil, for longer than other Brazilians normally would before moving to Europe. Neymar’s commercial pull encouraged sponsors to pay his Santos salary, and he only moved in 2013 because it was felt he needed a season facing European opposition to prepare for the challenge of the 2014 World Cup on home soil.

That was the other significant factor of timing for Neymar: the World Cup. Every company wanted to be part of the biggest competition in the world, and it so happened that the home side’s best player and star turn was an advertisers’ dream. Even if the economy was not as strong as it had been, Brazil is a country of over 200 million people and they all need toothpaste, a bank, deodorant or car batteries (he was the face of all those products).

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Schumpeter: Brazil’s business Belindia

February 26, 2015

The Economist (print edition), 2/28/2015

BRAZILIANS make up almost 3% of the planet’s population and produce about 3% of its output. Yet of the firms in Fortune magazine’s 2014 “Global 500” ranking of the biggest companies by revenue only seven, or 1.4%, were from Brazil, down from eight in 2013. And on Forbes’s list of the 2,000 most highly valued firms worldwide just 25, or 1.3%, were Brazilian. The country’s biggest corporate “star”, Petrobras, is mired in scandals, its debt downgraded to junk status. In 1974 Edmar Bacha, an economist, described its economy as “Belindia”, a Belgium-sized island of prosperity in a sea of India-like poverty. Since then Brazil has done far better than India in alleviating poverty, but in business terms it still has a Belindia problem: a handful of world-class enterprises in a sea of poorly run ones.

Brazilian businesses face a litany of obstacles: bureaucracy, complex tax rules, shoddy infrastructure and a shortage of skilled workers—to say nothing of a stagnant economy (see article). But a big reason for Brazilian firms’ underperformance is less well rehearsed: poor management. Since 2004 John van Reenen of the London School of Economics and his colleagues have surveyed 11,300 midsized firms in 34 countries, grading them on a five-point scale based on how well they monitor their operations, set targets and reward performance. Brazilian firms’ average score, at 2.7, is similar to that of China’s and a bit above that of India’s. But Brazil ranks below Chile (2.8) and Mexico (2.9); America leads the pack with 3.3. The best Brazilian firms score as well as the best American ones, but its long tail of badly run ones is fatter.

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In Brazil, ‘Surfer Angel’ Is Considered for Sainthood

February 24, 2015

John Lyons – The Wall Street Journal, 2/23/2015

RIO DE JANEIRO—Praying for waves? Have faith: the Catholic Church is considering a surfer for sainthood.

The would-be patron saint of good vibes is Guido Schäffer, a Brazilian priest-in-training who was 34 and about to be ordained when he drowned while surfing near here in 2009.

After he died, locals started calling him the “Surfer Angel” and made pilgrimages to his tomb. Some left engraved stone plaques thanking him for answered prayers. Others left molds of feet and heads indicating body parts healed through his intercession.

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Brazil-US Relations: Common Ideas, Little Dialogue

February 20, 2015

Monica de Bolle – The Huffington Post, 2/20/2015

It is unfortunate that Brazilian-American relations have become strained in recent years. This sense of frustration is further enhanced by the fact that the two largest countries in the Americas have very similar agendas when it comes to tackling inequality and income disparity. President Obama’s proposals towards “middle-class economics” and the recently released Economic Report of the President for 2015 highlight just how close the two countries are in their thinking about these issues and on how to make economic policies work more equitably for everyone. And yet, rather than coming together, the distance between the two countries has widened.

President Dilma Rousseff’s newly reelected government has vowed to rebalance Brazil’s economy – plagued by fiscal disarray and mounting inflation – in a way that preserves the legacy of the PT (Brazil’s Workers’ Party) achieved over last twelve years: the impressive social inclusion that has raised millions from the lowest ranks of the income distribution to the middle class. Aided by the macroeconomic stabilization of the 1990s and the unprecedented favorable external conditions that dominated the economic landscape between 2004 and 2010, the PT governments have set in motion their own version of “middle-class economics.” Remarkable social mobility took hold, and many were able to raise their overall quality of life as a result of targeted cash transfer programs such as “Bolsa-Família,” as well as specific programs aimed at allowing working mothers to remain in the marketplace and programs to help small and medium entrepreneurs tap into credit markets, among many other initiatives.

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Brazil has the best nutritional guidelines in the world

February 20, 2015

Julia Belluz – Vox, 2/20/2015

The way we talk about nutrition in this country is absurd. And you only need to look as far as Brazil to understand why.

Yesterday, a US-government appointed scientific panel released a 600-page report that will inform America’s new dietary guidelines. These guidelines only come out every five years, and they matter because they truly set the tone for how Americans eat: they’re used by doctors and nutritionists to guide patient care, by schools to plan kids’ lunches, and to calculate nutrition information on every food package you pick up, to name just a few areas of impact.

But this panel and their guidelines too often over-complicate what we know about healthy eating. They take a rather punitive approach to food, reducing it to its nutrient parts and emphasizing its relationship to obesity. Food is removed from the context of family and society and taken into the lab or clinic.

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Carnival spectacle tainted by violence in Brazil

February 19, 2015

Chris Wright – Business Insider, 2/15/2015

Tens of thousands of people flooded Rio’s streets Sunday to watch samba dancers in dazzling costumes defy downpours and bare sparkly flesh in a fantasy Brazilians dream of year round.

An estimated crowd of more than 72,000, from great-grandmothers to babes in arms, swayed and cheered on their favorite samba school in hours-long parades in Rio’s annual party to end all parties.

There was thunder, lightning and driving rain pouring on thousands in viewing stands open to the sky. Many wore disposable rain ponchos.

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Brazil scales back Carnival festivities as drought and weak economy persist

February 12, 2015

Bruce Douglas – The Guardian, 2/11/2015

Severe drought and an ailing economy have forced cities and towns across Brazil to abandon or scale back their plans for Carnival, which is due to start on Friday.

In Brasília, the capital, the local authorities have cancelled the samba school parade for the first time since 1983, in an attempt to plug the R$4bn (£900m) hole left in the accounts by the previous administration.

“It was a really unpleasant surprise,” said Geomar Leite, the president of Brasília’s Union of Samba Schools, said. “We had all the programme ready; the music, the costumes. We feel really frustrated.”

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