Andrea Di Baja: “LATAM Is Ready for the Next Digital Revolution”
Our ongoing series continues with Argentina’s business development director, who shares her thoughts on the value of curiosity, LATAM’s potential, and why joining forces with Extreme Reach has happened at precisely the right time.
If there’s something Andrea Di Baja doesn’t know about advertising in Latin America, there’s a fair chance it isn’t worth knowing.
Extreme Reach Argentina’s business development director can draw on a storied career as a producer (agency-side, production-side, and post production) as she helps clients navigate a rapidly changing advertising landscape today.
For Di Baja, it all feels so natural doing what she describes as ‘what I was born to do.’ Working in advertising, however, happened in a way, by chance.
“I’ve always had an enormous amount of curiosity about life,” she says. “As a result, and in the best possible way, nothing ever felt certain. I thought for a while that I would work in architecture or psychology before I discovered my love for the media world. I’ve learned that no matter what I’m doing, what truly motivates me is the opportunity to solve problems.”
With production, all that you need to get started is common sense. The rest you can learn on the job.
That curiosity, which Di Baja still retains today, is both a great foundation for her own career and a place of common ground with colleagues and clients alike. “You find that most people working in this sector are passionate about a lot of different things at once,” she explains. “That’s a big part of what makes it so vibrant and interesting. And it’s helpful, because our world is one which is constantly in a state of flux and evolution.”
The role of a producer felt like the perfect first step for Di Baja. It was something of a happy accident. “When I applied for my first job, it was as an account manager with an agency, but the company didn’t have any vacancies in that department,” she notes. “However, there was an opening in production. I took that job and never looked back.”
What served Di Baja well then, and continues to do so now, is an attitude well-suited to solving problems. “With production, all that you need to get started is common sense. The rest you can learn on the job,” she says. “In terms of what I do today, the most valuable skill being a producer taught me was the ability to link concepts together in my head, connecting disparate ideas to formulate an out-of-the-box solution.”
In With the New
As a business development director in Argentina, Di Baja is part of one of the world’s most culturally rich, diverse, and interesting regions. In fact, that’s a point that she is keen to emphasise.
“If I could give one piece of advice to brands looking to work in the LATAM region,” she says, “It would be to remember that Latin America is not one country, nor is it defined purely by geography or language. There are thirty-three countries in LATAM, and only nineteen speak Spanish. Even amongst those, there are remarkably different cultures, economic realities, and rules when it comes to advertising. It’s a phenomenally rewarding environment in which to work, so it’s worth taking the time to understand the relevant nuances across the region.”
Success in Latin America, then, is most likely to come for those marketers that adopt a local approach. It will also likely rely on an understanding of the trends currently transforming the region, a subject that excites Di Baja.
Latin America is not one country, nor is it defined purely by geography or language.
“It’s a bit of a cliché, but in terms of trends, we can broadly imagine markets in Latin America as a year or two behind the northern hemisphere,” she observes. “But there’s not as much of a gap as there used to be and, thanks to globalization, it’s continuing to shrink. I started working with Adstream in 2012, at which point many people here didn’t believe me when I told them we could deliver their spots digitally! So we’ve come a long way.”
It’s that same ongoing digital revolution that is motivating Di Baja and her team today. “This is why coming together with Extreme Reach has been such a fantastic boost,” she explains. “The digital infrastructure - and the capabilities for clients - are absolutely peerless. We’re able to solve more problems for our partners now than ever before, which is a wonderful thing.”
In terms of the growth platforms, Di Baja identifies both TikTok and Twitch as particularly exciting playgrounds for LATAM marketers in 2022 and beyond. “Both have remarkable qualities,” she says, “in that Twitch has a lot of very dedicated users and the TikTok audience has amazing diversity. In fact, most of my friends have the app and love to share videos for recipes and other lessons!”
The benefit of joining up with Extreme Reach, then, is the ability to solve more problems across more channels for more clients. And, as she points out, the benefits of doing so can have positive ramifications across wider society.
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Above: In Facing the Hater, a real-life social media ‘hater’ meets the people to whom he sent negative messages. A potentially hostile scenario is diffused thanks to a new relationship and understanding based on empathy.
“I’d say my favourite ad over the past few years is a campaign called Facing the Hater for Sprite,” she says. “They’re not the only brand to focus on social good in their communications, but this was such a remarkably powerful campaign that it left a big impression on me. If we can help to deliver more like it in the future, the world will be a better place.”
And that, for Di Baja, is what her long-held passion for ‘solving problems’ is really all about. Throughout 2022, expect her and the ER Argentina team to continue helping to make the world a better - and more creative - place.