Saturday, April 9, 2011

One form of Brazilian Advertising

In my recent trip to centro, I was enthralled by the advertising I encountered. The most frequent one was the person standing on the sidewalk yelling, "dentista!" I heard probably 4 or 5 of these within a 3 block radius, which leads me to believe that either a) people in Belo Horizonte are really in need of dentists or b) this must be a really effective form of advertising. At one point, I had to stop and watch a guy. He was wearing headphones, and totally rocking out to the music, and every 16 counts or so, he would yell "DENTISTA!" I really think he was making the most of a monotonous job.
I told my husband that it must be hard for the shop owners in the vicinity, but then again I think that Brazilians have some magical power to block out annoying noise, which perhaps is accompanied by the ability to produce it....hmmmm....

Other advertising encountered:

-the people yelling "cellularcellularcellular" selling cell phones.

-the cell phone accessory seller (two different products, two different sounds), yelling many things I couldn't understand.

-and my personal favorite, the man selling "widgeo gaymes" or video games.

Yelling and loud noise in advertising is not exclusive to downtown. Just 2 weeks ago I finally was able to figure out a certain sound that I'd been hearing for months in my neighborhood. It was a loud, high pitched whistle followed by shouting. I was walking Sebastian to futsal practice, and I heard it and saw the man! He's the knife sharpener! He sets up his machine on the sidewalk, blows his whistle and yells, and people come for business. I think that there is also a recycling guy that yells, and there are "picole" (popsicle) vendors (they usually have little bells on their carts), and I hear other noises, but I've yet to identify what it is that these people are selling.

I wonder if there are any vendors selling earplugs...


  1. Ha! This is so funny!
    We have the guys yelling H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Taxes on the intersection near our house, it's tax season here, so the street advertisers are all out... :)
    There are laws in Brazil against Dentist or Lawyers from advertising, so the guy yelling Dentist could get his boss in trouble if he get's caught...


  2. I have an English student who is a former musican/singer and now runs a "Sound Branding" company. She honors beautiful sound and abhors noise. One of her corporate giveaway swag items for trade fairs and conferences is earplugs.

  3. The sounds of Praca da Sete and every other corner in BH. Part of me sort of kind of in a really not really kind of way misses it. Part of me is completely thrilled that I don't have to walk in BH's centro anymore. You forget about the freaks holding bibles and screaming stuff nobody understands, but that, I guess, can't be considered advertisement.