March 17, 2011
Rio’s Carnival shows rising influence of social networks
Brazil as E-leader, one of our “100 Things to Watch in 2011,” is a phenomenon driven in part by the fact that social networking here is even more popular than in developed markets. At this year’s Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, its pervasive influence was clearly apparent, from costumes to promotion of the celebrations.
Beyond the famous Samba Parade at Marquês da Sapucaí in Rio, numerous groups or bands hold “blocos” during the season, an old tradition that’s being re-embraced, with more than 400 street carnivals in Rio this year. Many of the newly created blocos got a boost from social networks. About 4,000 people, far more than expected, came out for Bloco Sargento Pimenta (“St. Pepper”), a group that put a samba spin on Beatles music, because of its Facebook page and online buzz. The singer Preta Gil (daughter of Gilberto Gil, who also has a bloco), who has more than 690,000 Twitter followers, filled the streets with 400,000 revelers.
Apps showed the place and time of the blocos, while Foursquare users checked in to the carnivals. Meanwhile, an array of costumes reflected Facebook’s rise in popularity—in past years the social network Orkut reigned here—with people dressing up as their profile or as the “Like” icon, for example. A “Carnatroll” mask reflected the darker side of the Internet (“troll” referring to people who cause disruption and discord online).
Interestingly, just a few Brazilian brands leveraged the links between Carnival and social media, missing an opportunity to be relevant to Brazil’s digitally savvy consumers during its biggest party.
Photo credit: pt-br.facebook.com/people/Bloco-Do-Sargento-Pimenta
Photo credit: @diegomaia