Nexus won the IPRN Project of the Year competition in 2013 and as part of that the agency is awarded a bursary to assist in financing a week’s working visit to an IPRN agency. Emma Sanderson chose Carvajal Team PR in Buenos Aires, Argentina in May 2014, below is her report.
Would you like to share a Mate or Maté as they call it in Argentina?
The IPRN is all about working together and benefiting from each other’s local and professional knowledge and that is certainly what the Carvajal PR team in Buenos Aires do. Engaging and sharing ideas with each other every day is at the heart of the agency.
I was lucky enough to experience a week working out of their office in the Recoleta, in May 2014, arguably the most beautiful region in Buenos Aires. With lots of Parisian styled high rises, attractive wide boulevards and a lively atmosphere similar to New York, it is easy to understand why it is perhaps the most desirable area of the city.
Upon arrival at their office I was incredibly touched by the warm welcome I received from the whole team. Being based in London it had been some time since I had spoken Spanish and I was unfamiliar with the Argentine pronunciations, however despite this I learnt a great deal both professionally and culturally, as well as brushing up on my Spanish skills.
In spite of being a relatively young agency, Patricio Carvajal, an inspiring leader, and his team of professionals have an impressive and extensive client base spanning across industry sectors, from luxury cruise ships, to Rolex and Radio Taxis. Similarly to Nexus, the team work on a matrix system across the client accounts, matching individual skill sets to client needs.
After a special introduction at the weekly company meeting from the whole team, I had the fortune to choose which accounts to delve further into. I was particularly keen to find out more about Discovery as it is one of their biggest accounts and I have little PR experience of the entertainment industry.
The Discovery Channels have a large broadcast following in South America and it was interesting to learn how the different agencies for Discovery across the continent coordinate together for big annual stunts, aired live, to generate even stronger punches with the media and indeed consumers. The team was kind enough to involve me in their client meeting with Discovery. It was particularly fortuitous that the client’s office was in the same building as La Nación, the second largest national newspaper in Argentina. I also felt very privileged to witness the work on the Motorola Solutions account and participate in an interview between FORBES Magazine and the Country Manager for Motorola Solutions, another of Carvajal’s clients.
Patricio, Founder and Director General of the agency, invested a lot of time in my visit and informed me about the key national print and broadcast media, which I enjoyed reading. I also learnt about the general financial economy in Argentina and the effect it has had for different clients, particularly on the motorcycle industry, affecting two of Carvajal’s clients.
We discovered many similarities between our agencies and indeed with the media. Just like the UK experienced five years ago, the nature of media has changed a lot in Buenos Aires with publications reducing the number of staff and relying more heavily on freelance journalists. Interestingly, a law has now been passed monitoring this: freelancers are only allowed to write up to 24 articles for a particular media title per year; if they go over this then they will be counted as staff so commissioning editors have to have a watchful eye.
Perhaps most importantly of all though was the team sharing their special Mate with me – a hot herbal Argentine drink, their national infusion, served in an ornate cup with an equally ornate silver straw. Whilst known as a drink that represents a special ‘coming of age’ and a regular pastime with close friends, I felt honoured to join in the sharing of this special strong brew and so pleased that the team presented me with a set to make my own mate back in London. Mate is a unique drink which I can’t help but feel inspires and incites the wonderful camaraderie found in the Carvajal team. It opens communication and provides a conducive atmosphere for sharing ideas – perfect for any PR network of professionals. For me, that is what PR is all about, sharing and engaging.