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Volume 6 No. 213
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Hangin' With... Octagon Brazil President Alex Leitão

ALEX LEITÃO is president of Octagon Brazil. Leitão joined Octagon in '10 when his sports marketing firm, B2S, merged with the agency. Leitão helps develop strategic plans for companies that use football as a tool for brand positioning, sales and business development. His marketing experience in the retail, advertising, hospitality and entertainment industries spans Brazil, Latin America and Europe. Leitão has consulted with sponsors of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, including AB InBev, Johnson & Johnson, Oi, Liberty Seguros, Wise Up and Itau.

On the biggest adjustment when his firm merged with Octagon...
Leitão: Octagon saw an opportunity to combine their global expertise and experience across the FIFA World Cup and Olympics with B2S’s expertise and knowledge of Brazilian sports. The transition was an easy one. It meant that collectively we had more resources and experience to leverage in order to help our clients achieve their objectives across the biggest global sporting events.

On what other lessons Rio 2016 will take away from what is happening with the World Cup?
Leitão: We all expected this FIFA World Cup to be well viewed through broadcast media and to be one of the most social media-driven sporting events ever. Even with those expectations, I’m blown away by the numbers. We’ve seen multiple viewership and social media engagement records broken, and we’re only through the first half of the tournament. As we look ahead to Rio 2016, Octagon Brazil will be working with our clients and the community to ensure we are ready to engage with fans across the globe, and to share our experiences across multiple social media platforms.

On one difference between the marketing for the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil...
Leitão: Marketing for any of the global events is about passion, and understanding why fans are passionate about a particular sport or event. Octagon’s Passion Drivers research allows us to quantify why fans are passionate about a particular sport or event, and then allows us to work with our clients to create programming and messaging that resonates with those fans. For example, Passion Drivers tells us that Olympic fans in Brazil are more focused on the social aspects of the Games, whereas Brazil is a mature football market where fandom is tribal in nature and fans demonstrate strong team devotion. This has a significant impact on how sponsors should customize their activation programs to appeal to and engage fans during the different events.

On what Brazil companies can learn from London 2012 as they consider sponsorships for the 2016 Rio Games...
Leitão: The FIFA World Cup and the Olympics are the largest global sporting events, and companies can leverage the excitement and passion for those events by truly understanding fans and building plans around them. Give fans opportunities to engage with the property, listen and speak to them through social media and provide content-rich experiences on the ground and through digital. I’ve encouraged our Brazil-based clients to consider ways their campaigns and activations can provide memorable experiences, and leave consumers with a lasting connection to the brand.

On what his experience has been like in Brazil since the World Cup started...
Leitão: I’m very pleased with how the tournament has progressed so far. The stadiums are impressive, the operations on-site are running smoothly, and sponsors are having meaningful interactions with millions of fans at the stadiums and Fan Fests. During my recent trip to Fan Fest in Rio, I saw a sea of yellow and green, fans having their faces painted and felt an overwhelming positive energy from the local and international fans.

Hangin' With runs each Friday in SBD Global.