The McCann Time Capsule: Rio’s Championship Role in our History
With the world currently focused on Rio de Janeiro and the Olympics, it seems fitting to look back at the championship role this Brazilian city has played over time in McCann’s world
It was late summer—75 years ago—when McCann made the modest internal one-line announcement that the “Coca-Cola Export Sales Company has appointed us to handle the advertising of Coca-Cola in Brazil, where arrangements are being made to launch this product early in 1942.” That win in Rio would be the start of McCann’s longtime global relationship with Coke, a client for which it has created some of the industry’s most famous advertising, including McCann New York’s 1971 “Hilltop” spot (“I'd like to buy the world a Coke") that the “Mad Men” TV series so symbolically concluded with.
But it was also five years earlier in Rio—in 1936—when McCann established its bona fides as a truly international agency by naming Armando Sarmento as the first native Brazilian to head a U.S. agency subsidiary in that Latin American country. Years later Sarmento would move to New York where he would become president of McCann International and then, in 1964, president of McCann Erickson USA, undoubtedly becoming the first Carioca to head a major U.S. agency.
No wonder he has a street in Rio named after him.