WhatsApp is launching its first major brand campaign.
WhatsApp wants to relay its purpose as more than a messaging app, and chosen Brazil for its first seven-minute campaign ad based on real events. The ad, “Fica só entre vocês”, takes place during Rio De Janeiro’s Carnival celebrations, showing a community using WhatsApp to coordinate costume donations for a dance school whose warehouse burned down right before the festival. The tagline appears at the end reading “Rivals in Public, Friends in Private.” Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, will be running the ad on its platform and on Instagram—both leverage large global audiences, according to a Gartner report on the topic— making it simple to circulate the campaign. In addition to social promotion, WhatsApp will also be broadcasting the commercial on TV.
Brazil was chosen for the brand’s first large-scale campaign because of WhatsApp’s popularity in the country. Connecting the campaign to Carnival, one of Brazil’s most celebrated and cherished traditions, could help WhatsApp receive higher engagement rates and connect more with Brazilian consumers. That said, the brand has a complicated history with Brazil—WhatsApp was banned in the country in 2015, blocked by carriers after an ordeal in 2016l—and then exploited during the 2018 presidential election. Despite these snags, WhatsApp, with its two billion global users, still accommodates millions across Brazil.
WhatsApp is reminding customers of the emotional connections that can be forged and fostered through the app, and the poignant appeal could resonate with users across Brazil and around the world.