Marcelo Benez is the executive commercial director at Folha de S.Paulo, Brazil, and is the president of INMA’s Brazil Division Board of Directors. Those in the advertising departments at news media companies don’t get as much love these days as those focused on audience, so I wondered what Marcelo is working on.

From his vantage point at the largest news media company in Brazil, here are his visions of opportunity and late-night concerns as he starts 2019.

Marcelo Benez highlights events, brand content, partnerships, multi-platform projects, and new platforms as revenue-generating opportunities at Folha de S.Paulo.
Marcelo Benez highlights events, brand content, partnerships, multi-platform projects, and new platforms as revenue-generating opportunities at Folha de S.Paulo.

INMA: What is Folha de S.Paulo’s biggest idea/initiative for the coming year?

Benez: For 2019, from the advertising point of view, revenue diversification with innovation is the most important initiative for Folha de S.Paulo. 

INMA: What do you see as the big opportunities in 2019 and how are you taking advantage of them?

Benez: There are several opportunities in 2019 to invest in events (Folha’s Seminars), brand content (Folha Studio), partnerships, multi-platform projects with market surveys carried out by Datafolha’s Research Institute, new print and digital special advertising formats, among others.

Examples of seminar topics include: Urban Mobility Forum, International Meeting of Journalism, innovation in Brazil, women in power, sexual exploration of children, clean economy, and technology against cancer.

As far as branded content, we will be addressing topics that can engage Folha de S.Paulo’s audience with a combination of information and service, such as in these cases:

INMA: What are some of the most significant partnerships you’re looking forward to being engaged in during 2019?

Benez: A series of multi-media content called “Tudo Sobre” (in English, “all about”), covering some topics in a deeper way, such as:

INMA: Are there any print or digital special advertising formats unique to Folha de S. Paulo?

Benez: Yes, for example:

  • Folha Digital: Decolar.com on Black Friday.
  • Gol Brazilian Airlines and Folha de S.Paulo’s Seven Columns edition.
  • Brazilian retailer Casas Bahia ran a multi-page ad placed before the front page on Client’s Day.

This multi-page print advertising campaign by retailer Casas Bahia is part of a Client’s Day advertising promotion.
This multi-page print advertising campaign by retailer Casas Bahia is part of a Client’s Day advertising promotion.

INMA: What success within your company are you most proud of at this moment?

Benez: The innovative combination of using technology and journalism to engage the audience has been a powerful way to break readership records and to retain our standing as Brazil’s largest newspaper.

In the second half of 2018, during the last national election race in the country, for instance, Folha de S.Paulo’s Intelligence Core launched the unprecedented “Match Eleitoral” (Election Match), a unique tool developed by Datafolha’s Research Institute and Folha’s newsroom to help electors to choose their best candidates from among almost 2,000 for deputies and senators.

Candidates answered important questions, and then Datafolha compiled the answers. The tool matched up the elector with the candidate through answers in a multiple-choice questionnaire about political, economic, and social stance. After answering 20 questions, Match Eleitoral automatically compared the elector’s opinions with candidates’ answers.

As a result, this new service offered by Folha de S.Paulo exceeded 1.3 million complete tests, accumulated more than 5.2 million page views, and helped Folha de S.Paulo reach its highest audience ever (up from an average of 30 million monthly unique visitors to 64 million unique visitors in October, when Brazil held its elections).

Besides all this, users could also compare information and use filters in their results, refining or changing their search, as well as surfing through each candidate’s profile.

INMA: What keeps you up at night?

Benez: The things that keep me up at night are the transformation of the news media industry, new reading habits of the new generations, and major challenges of the advertising market. I usually say that Charles Darwin’s theory has never been so evident, in the sense that those news media companies that are able to transform themselves will survive and the rest will go out of business.