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Focus on... Argentina

VitalStatistics

Population: 40,666,000
Monetary unit: Peso
Capital city: Buenos Aires
Major languages: Spanish
Major religions: Roman Catholic c. 70%3; Protestant c. 9%; Muslim (mostly Sunni) c. 1.5%; Jewish c. 0.8%; nonreligious/unknown c. 16.2%; other (significantly Middle East–based Christian) c. 2.5%
Ethnic composition: European extraction 86.4%; mestizo 6.5%; Amerindian 3.4%; Arab 3.3%; other 0.4%.
Age breakdown: under 15, 25.9%; 15–29, 24.9%; 30–44, 19.2%; 45–59, 15.4%; 60–74, 9.8%; 75–84, 3.6%; 85 and over, 1.2%
Life expectancy: male 72.9 years; female 79.6 years
Education: Percentage of population age 15 and over having: no formal schooling 3.7%; incomplete primary education 14.2%; complete primary 28.0%; secondary 37.1%; higher 17.0%. Literacy (2007): percentage of total population age 15 and over literate 97.6%
Urban/Rural split: urban 91.4%; rural 8.6%
Income per household (USD): -
Broadband internet users (%): -

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Introduction

The Argentine economy is growing rapidly. Its GDP rose 9.3% in the third quarter of 2011, according to Bloomberg, and the country's PR industry is reaping the benefits of this overall growth. “The public relations industry in Argentina is growing and developing rapidly,” reports Raphael Salazar, marketing director at petfood company Royal Canin Argentina.

He adds: “To a large extent this is driven by the uptake of social media by people and marketing departments, but many corporates are also looking for PR professionals to help convey their messages of social responsibility and sustainability.”

Indeed, many industry insiders describe Buenos Aires as a regional hub for creative and digital industries and report that the country's PR industry is notable for its tech-savvy, creative approach.

There is much work for PR professionals to do in Argentina, and business is often beset by problems. For example Facundo Etchebehere, public affairs director at Danone Argentina says: “Our PR industry is developing dynamically, and in recent years many companies have started to develop PR departments, often as a way to creatively tackle government regulation of business.

”Much of the growth then has come through in-house roles. Gaspar Rodriguez, PR coordinator at LG, says: “Most large companies have now set up PR departments. This is a crucial step forward, as it means people are aware of the full range of PR activities, and no longer see it as just a spin-off from the marketing department.”

Others point out that most of the in-house jobs are at relatively junior levels within those corporates, and that few companies have PR representatives at the C-suite level. In the next five years, if the industry continues to grow as it has in the past five years, we can expect to see this change, and for Argentine businesses to make PR a strategic priority.

Media

“National print media is the most important channel in Argentina,” says Luciano Kloboucek, advertising chief and community manager at Manpower Group Argentina. “It is the news source that the public most values. However, social media is becoming more and more important.”

The two most influential daily newspapers are La Nacion and Clarin. Other print publications

include Página 12, and business and finance titles Ambito Financiero and El Cronista Comercial. On television the key channels are Channel 13 and Telefé. On radio it is radio 10 and Mitre. Beyond this it is a complex picture. Argentina is a federal country with 24 provinces and each one has its own local media.

Major Brands

US companies have a strong presence in Argentina, and in the minds of many observers it is the FMCG giants like P&G, Unilever, Coca-Cola & PepsiCo that lead the way in PR.

However Etchebehere at Danone Argentina

points to a couple of local brands that are doing well. “One to watch is Mastellone which produces dairy products, and then there is sweet manufacturer Arcor. Both have produced some impressive PR work in recent months.”

Agencies

Kloboucek at Manpower Group Argentina comments: “The story over the past few years has been the rise of boutique agencies, providing personalised attention, and then the stalling of this trend as companies began to demand PR firms with expertise, skills, and contacts beyond the local market. Right now we're seeing a lot of mergers between these boutique agencies, as they try to

combine both personal service with the necessary scale.”

Of the global groups, Edelman, Burson Marsteller, and Hill + Knowlton Strategies have a strong presence in Argentina, as does Spanish firm Llorente y Cuenca. Notable local agencies include Urban PR, Colombo Pashkus, Feedback PR, Muchnik, Alurralde, Jasper & Associates.

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