In the spotlight: ABA Brazil’s Sandra Martinelli

In the spotlight: ABA Brazil’s Sandra Martinelli

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Meet Sandra Martinelli, Executive President of the Brazilian Association of Advertisers (ABA)

Article details

  • Author:Sandra Martinelli
    Executive President, ABA Brazil
13 December 2019

I was born and raised in... Poços de Caldas, a city in the countryside of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. I then moved to Santos, a coastal city in the state of São Paulo, where I began my journey of a big-city life. Today, living in São Paulo of 12 million people and numerous skyscrapers, I feel a particular joy to see the journey that led me to the most fulfilling jobs I’ve ever had: being ABA’s Executive President, and being a happy wife and mom of the most amazing 13 year old girl.

I studied to become... a public relations executive and started my career at Ogilvy PR as an Account Director. Later, I obtained a master’s degree in Business Administration and post-graduate degree in Marketing & Communications and became Marketing Director at Unibanco. After that, I was Head of Integrated Marketing at Santander and then Strategy Director at Grey.

 When I started in the marketing industry... it was very segmented and siloed. We had a very strict line that divided the work of advertisers, agencies and media owners. Today, collaboration and partnership are key to successfully impact business and society.

As an association, ABA lives and breathes this reality every day, in the form of one of our most important pillars: “collaborative protagonism”. This mindset encourages us to take the lead on important issues and invite other industry associations, agencies, tech platforms, the media and other stakeholders to come together and work with us. We are proud to be part of such a strong synergy and network that involves all different players and I’m personally happy to see this positive movement in our industry.

 My proudest career achievements are... the variety of recent initiatives ABA has been leading to put into practice our purpose of “mobilizing marketing to transform business and society”.

This year, ABA was recognized with a WFA President’s Award, which celebrated in a very special way the launch of the Portuguese translated versions of the WFA guide to progressive gender portrayals in advertising, the Global Media Charter and GDPR guide for marketers. Going up on stage to receive this award was one of the highlights of my career.

A very specific challenge in the marketing industry in my country is... the upcoming Brazilian data protection law (LGPD), which will impact advertisers and likely pose some compliance challenges.

To support and help prepare companies with the changes and challenges they will face, we created the ABA Manual for Compliance with LGPD which was launched in July this year. Created by our Legal Committee in partnership with Pinheiro Neto Advogados, a legal consultancy with expertise on the new law, the guide provides a thorough explanation of LGPD and a compliance checklist for marketers.

In October during WFA’s LATAM Regional Meeting in Buenos Aires, we have launched the English version of the guide to support international companies with marketing activities in Brazil to understand the new rules for handling people’s personal data.

Our 2020 priorities…

  • As part of ABA’s 2025 Strategic Plan which will be launched next year, we will launch several initiatives that will impact the Brazilian market and society meaningfully and strengthen our association’s leading role in critical issues in the country.
  • LGPD will be an important topic for us in 2020, since it will involve the transformation of different aspects of our market and various players will have to work together in order to make the transition smoother for everyone. Our Legal Committee have already started planning a second edition of the ABA Manual for Compliance with LGPD together with several industry associations and experts and we hope to launch it during the first semester of 2020.
  • Diversity will remain as one of our main priorities not only for our Counsel and Board, but also for all our nine committees. There is still a long path for the industry to transform itself and achieve more state-of-the-art advertising that reflects the real world. This will require a deep mindset shift within companies’ internal teams and organisational culture. Brazil has an immense amount of homework to do, but we have seen things slowly change for the better. In ABA we see more companies understanding their responsibility as influencers and engaging in local initiatives. ABA has either led or supported 11 different projects in 2019 and we trust this number will only increase in the years ahead.

If I could change one thing about the industry today... it would be how much we focus on selling products and services instead of building people’s trust by seeing them not as consumers but as human beings and engaging with them by tapping into the causes they believe in. ABA Summit 2019, our biggest event this year, addressed this and was named after a recent WFA guide “Better Marketing: Putting People First”. We were honoured by the presence of WFA CEO Stephan Loerke and ANA CEO Bob Liodice who both shared case studies and proof points that doing better marketing involves brands having “purpose” as a mantra. It is our responsibility as marketers to lead changes in the industry, which ultimately will impact society in a very positive way.

At the event, ABA’s Branding & Content Committee also launched the Portuguese version of the Better Marketing guide.

What most people don’t know about me is... that for 20 years I tried to have kids and this dream only came true in my 40s. At that age, being pregnant is considered very risky, not to mention a bigger challenge as compared to younger moms. Today, 13 years later, I see my daughter Antônia and she is a daily reminder that miracles do happen. She is also my source of strength to keep working on helping create a better society with more empathy, responsibility and respect.

One thing about my country... Brazil has for many years impressed Cannes Lions festival with its creativity. In 2019, our country brought home 85 Lions. ABA is proud that many of these Lions were awarded to our members and partners’ creative efforts.

Want to know more about Sandra and ABA Brazil? Get in touch with her here.

This is part of a series of monthly interviews with heads of 
national advertiser associations in WFA membership.

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