Marketing in Brazil Guide

5 min

518 points

In this article, I will talk about marketing in Brazil. Namely: why you shouldn’t “attack” your direct competitors, how much you need to earn to avoid paying taxes, and how the Nivea brand encouraged children to use sunscreen.

Spoiler: very high salaries and a stable economic situation in Brazil should not be expected

Average user in Brazil

If we are talking about the average user in Brazil, then this is a very sociable and socially active person who enjoys getting together with family or friends to play football, have a barbecue, or dance/sing.

In Brazil, personal relationships are usually formed first, which helps build trust between specific people, and only then are business relationships and strong ties between companies created. But across the country there is a fairly large stratification of society, I think everyone has heard about the criminal slums of Rio de Janeiro or at least watched “City of God”.

What is important to remember if you are advertising in Brazil: avoid magenta and black – these are mourning colors that are not accepted in advertising communication. It is also better to use images of people in groups: as I said, Brazilians are a very socially active nation, and appealing to family values is important.

The characteristic features of the Brazilian user

  • Emotional shopping propensity.
  • Family values orientation.
  • The need to build personal relationships in the beginning.

All ad campaigns are launched in Portuguese as 99% of the population speaks Portuguese and only 5% speak English well. But don’t confuse Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese – they are quite different languages.

About 51% of Brazilians regularly shop online, especially when it comes to shopping with smartphones. Another ¾ of Brazilians prefer to pay for purchases in installments. This payment option increases the purchasing power of consumers and therefore increases the average transaction cost for each customer.

Brazil was named the Social Media Capital of the Universe in 2013 by the Wall Street Journal. Because Brazilians are one of the most active Internet users in the world, they spend more and more time on social networks every year: in 2017, the average daily time spent on social networks was about 4 hours.

But remember the main thing: international payment systems are not very popular here. Consider this when implementing payment options on websites and social networks.

For example, payments via WhatsApp have not taken root in the country. In July 2020, Mark Zuckerberg announced the introduction of a payment system through a messenger. They predicted a great future for the new functionality since it is very convenient for small businesses to communicate with customers via WhatsApp. But a few days later, the Central Bank of Brazil announced the suspension of transfers. The main reason was the preservation of a competitive environment and transparency of payments.

Features of the advertising market

Brands in Brazil, especially large ones, try to adapt to the local population’s lifestyle and raise issues relevant to them in their advertising campaigns. So, for example, did the Nivea brand in its video and promotional materials.

As part of the campaign, they created baby dolls that burn in the sun if they are not smeared with protective cream. In it, in a playful and understandable form, they explained to children who do not like to smear something on themselves, why they need to use sunscreen and what the risk of refusal from it is.

In 2019, advertising revenues in the country, according to various estimates, ranged from $ 12.5 billion to $ 15 billion.

The most popular channels for promotion are television, pay-TV and digital. It is worth noting that television in Brazil accounts for more than 53% of the country’s total advertising market.

Brazil is the leading advertising market in Latin America and one of the largest in the world. As mentioned earlier, compared to the rest of the world, Brazilians are the most active mobile users in terms of app usage – 29 apps per person per month. The most popular mobile operating system is Android, the category is Social, and the leading mobile application is WhatsApp.

Here, people under the age of 25 are usually more receptive to advertising, especially on the internet. Brazilian consumers are also heavily influenced by comments on social media, so if there is a significant amount of negative product reviews in there, they are unlikely to make a purchase. Word of mouth works very well here, and in most cases, the Brazilians do not leave neutral feedback – everything is either very cool or immediately disgusting.


The e-commerce industry is growing steadily and Brazilian consumers shop online more often than in-store. And in principle, digital is developing quite actively in them, as in many other countries. The Internet penetration rate here is about 66%. And the dominant search engine, of course, Google, has more than 95% of the market.

According to the Brazilian E-Commerce Association, about 63% of online shoppers seek advice on social media before making any purchase. More than 60% of companies in the country are investing in a paid advertising strategy in order to increase brand awareness and increase sales. Of that percentage, 98.5% of businesses invest their money in Facebook advertising, which, while being cheaper than Google AdWords, is a great option for SMBs.

Brazilian Advertising Laws

An interesting fact about the advertising law in Brazil: it is forbidden here to “attack” directly your direct competitor, as in the United States, for example. That is, you will not find references to McDonald’s, like in Burger King.

By law, children and adolescents must not appear in advertisements promoting firearms, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, fireworks, and lotteries. But in general, alcohol is not prohibited from advertising, even on television.

You can advertise alcohol, but there are a lot of restrictions and rules. In Brazil, there is a special organization Conar (Brazilian Advertising Self-Regulation Congress), which spells out the rules for promoting not only alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and so on, but also all other types of advertising.

But cigarettes and gambling cannot be advertised. Gambling is generally banned in Brazil, but government lotteries and horse race betting are allowed and are properly organized at racetracks. Cigarette advertising was allowed until 2000.

Social Marketing in Brazil

Among social networks, the classics never fail: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube are the leading ones in the country. According to the We Are Social report, as of 2017, there were 122 million active social media users in Brazil, which is more than 87% of all Internet users in the country. But Brazil does not have its own social networks.

The country has the third-largest Facebook user base in the world after India and the United States. Almost 18 million people use Twitter, making it the sixth-largest user base.

Prices for advertising services in Brazil vary widely. But to give you at least a rough idea, I will say that running social networks on a turnkey basis can cost 15,000 reais per month (about 199 thousand rubles) – not very cheap, to be honest. And one animated post is created on average for 4,000 reais (almost 53,000 thousand rubles).

So it is more profitable to order comprehensive support from a specific agency. But all these prices for services refer to “strong” companies, of course, everything can be done cheaper from smaller agencies or freelancers.


Brief information about taxes

Brazil has a rather complex and intricate taxation system, as confirmed by research from the World Bank. But, for example, a deduction of 8% on an employee’s salary is not taxed. These include contributions for social security, health care, and medical expenses.

There is no value-added tax (VAT) or capital tax. But if you are a non-resident foreign emigrant staying in the country on a contract basis with a duration of fewer than 6 months, then you will pay taxes at a rate of as much as 25%.

Brazil has a progressive tax system, so your tax payments will increase as your income rises.

Everyone pays taxes, including freelancers. It should be noted that the freelance industry is quite developed in Brazil, and they are looking for employees using the Upwork freelance exchange, on LinkedIn or Behance.


The Brazilian advertising market has both significant advantages and obvious disadvantages. The only question is what you are ready to put up with when moving on a job offer or when scaling a business. If you want to expand your company, master foreign advertising markets, and are ready to communicate not in English, but the USA, Asia, and Europe are quite competitive countries for you, then choose Brazil.

Despite the very average salaries and “translation difficulties”, the advertising market is developing quite rapidly here and there are many opportunities for growth, business scaling, and building a good career in South America.

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518 points