Whatsapp launches first brand campaign, an epic film inspired by Carnival

The messaging app’s inaugural foray into advertising is based on a real story of disaster ahead of Brazil’s national celebration.

20 February 2020


Last week Whatsapp announced it now has two billion users, and has recently said it plans to introduce advertising on the app. No doubt to offset that controversial move and remind people of the values of its platform, the company has released its first ever brand campaign, an epic seven-minute-long film based on real events in Brazil and aimed at the Brazilian audience.

Made by São Paulo-based agency AlmapBBDO and directed by Ian Ruschel with production by Iconoclast, Fica só entre vocês (It’s between you) centres on the preparations for Carnival, and tells the story of a samba school whose warehouse full of giant, elaborate floats – the results of months of creative work – was destroyed in a fire. Early in the film, the main protagonist is shown to have a rivalry with a man from another school, yet when everything is lost, his rival calls on the community (via Whatsapp) to band together and help the school recover from the disaster. The cinematic film finishes with the tagline: “Rivals in public. Friends in private.” It aims to drive home the platform’s USP: private communication and group collaboration.

The story is based on several true stories, including that of Independente Tricolor, a samba school from São Paulo that faced a similar situation in 2019, and rebuilt thanks to donations, shelter and sharing of resources from competitors. The AlmapBBDO production involved a team of 200 people, and the participation of the local community to “convey the emotional connection and solidarity of the people, who mobilise and communicate daily through WhatsApp,” the agency says.

Whatsapp chose Brazil for the launch as it is one of the platform’s main markets, but it also plans to launch other locally centred films in different countries, all tied to the concept “It’s between you”. Each will focus on “cultural moments” in these places, like Carnival in Brazil, and aim to show how Whatsapp participates in people’s personal lives and collective experiences in these regions. Some of the creations will be co-productions between countries. BBDO México, BBDO Berlin, BBDO India, and BBDO San Francisco are also involved in the mega campaign.

The full film is on Facebook and Instagram, and a shorter version will run on TV, digital channels and cinemas.

GalleryAlmapBBDO: Fica só entre vocês for Whatsapp

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AlmapBBDO: Fica só entre vocês for Whatsapp

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny became online editor in June 2021, overseeing the website’s daily editorial output.

Jenny is currently on maternity leave.

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