Nobody told me ….

Life after my TIE adventure is sad… I have been prepared so well in terms of what to expect in Brazil and how amazing and hard it’s going to be. But nobody told me that after experiencing such an amazing adventure and the best time of my life, it’s going to be hard and I am going to miss everybody!

Yes, I proved to myself that I can do things I never expected I would be able to accomplish (and I am still thinking about it everyday and wondering if this was a dream only).

I also somewho managed to learn the languge and work in Portuguese – I am still surprised abou that! I managed to present in Portuguese – really!? I wonder, has it really happened…

And I made so many friends! And this is the hardest part! They are now far away and I wonder whether I will ever see them again! I MUST!

But I am glad that I have many friends back home and I am looking forward to catching up with them! So please treat me well when I come back and apologies in advance if I am going to bore you with my Brazilian stories! 😉

Abracos and bjs!



A sneaky preview of the work and goodbye

Today I am finalising all the work. Majority of the stationary (folder, inserts, business cards etc.) have been prepared for print and proofread. A few more elements need finalising (we are waiting for logos and case studies). We also just had a meeting with two journalists so hopefully this has secured a few more free media spaces for us!

I also had my final evaluation meeting with The International Exchange. I got to the destination 45 minutes late as buses in Recife decided to ‘test my patience’ one more time 😉 It’s been great chatting to Philippa discussing the work, people and my impressions! It felt so great knowing that it’s all done now!

But I am not in a mood now – I hate goodbyes! I would prefer just leaving saying “áte amanha” (see you tomorrow) as I was saying every day!

Anyway, before I start crying 😉 as promised, below is a sneaky preview of the work. The main creative idea is based on the concept of “if the garbage would talk”. It combines cute images with a provocative message “For you it doesn’t make any difference to recycle – don’t throw away this concept!”.

It’s time to pack my documents and leave the rest of the work in the safe hands of my agency colleagues and Mark! I will miss you my blog readers – together we got to almost 4500 views of my blog! And goodbye my Brazilian experience! It was 100% worth it – 6 months of hard work paid off! Beijos and abracos!advertanimation - storyboarddirect mailfolder

It’s over

My final presentation to my colleagues at Arcos, TIE and Edificio Ecologico is done! This has marked not only the end of my Brazilian adventure but also the beginning of recycling scheme at Arcos (the first case study for my NGO). How amazing!

But I must admit that presenting in Portuguese is tough! My voice trembled and I am not sure how much my lovely colleagues from Arcos managed to understand! My Portuguese skills were terrible but I added a few jokes and they laughed – so they must have understood something!

There are too many emotions in my head now! So I will simply show you a few photos and tell you more when I calm down tomorrow! Just to say that I received such a cool present and a Google translate farewell card! How cool!

Rather long and emotional post today – last Sunday in Recife!

Today is my last Sunday in Recife! I feel emotional – it has been 4 amazing weeks and I cannot believe that it’s almost over now! I still have 2 more days at work but I know that it will be very busy as I will have my final presentation tomorrow and then my final evaluation with TIE on Tuesday. So I wanted to summarise my experience but where do I start?


I only had 30 days to understand the problem, get to know businesses in Recife, create a strategy and idea and produce as much of my campaign as possible. It’s been intense! I am used to fast turnaround but usually I work with clients, colleagues, process and language I know. Here everything was unknown and at first I worried that I might even forget how to speak English not even considering thinking and creating a strategy! And for those who know me, you know that I like following process! Well, I haven’t been able to follow any structure here! I created a nice timing plan and even updated it a few times. But every day was unpredictable and changes were happening all the time!


Everything I saw here was pretty emotional. I think that I am lucky as other TIE candidates faced more difficult social problems. But even though visiting catadores house and listening to all the stories made me very sad. Also witnessing extreme poverty every day 50 meters away from real wealth made me feel even more thorn. I am also experiencing other type of emotions. Because I had so little time here I got attached to my Brazilian family, the NGO owner and his girlfriend, my colleagues at Arcos and Philippa and Dylan so quickly. I haven’t felt like this before. I guess lack of time and requirement to adapt quickly removed all natural barriers such as being shy or reserved and needing my own space. I hope that I will be able to come back here again! I received many invites – who knows! I hope that all my goodbyes won’t be for ever!


I have been sleeping lots here! I hope that my Brazilian family doesn’t think that I am very lazy haha! I simply struggled to keep awake after 11pm as everyday tasks and work combined with the strong sun and speaking Portuguese made me sleep over 10 hours every night! Brazil is also a rather loud country – all windows are open (unless you are in air conditioned offices), music is played loudly and neighbours discuss life shouting across buildings. Also I use a fan in my room (its stuffy!) and I am not used to a never ending buzzing of it! On top of this, despite feeling safe and having no problems (touch wood), everybody continue reminding me of violence and danger. Therefore I need to be aware and pay attention! You would be surprised how tiring this state of alert can be!


The north east part of the country is boiling! Temperatures don’t go lower than 25 here! By the time I get to the office, it is already over 33 degrees! The sun is very hot and I am quite brown by now. But I needed to be careful. 2 weeks in I pretty much fainted (how embarrassing) as it was so hot and on top of this I must have got some kind of a stomach bug. 2 days later I was perfectly fine though! I am not sure how Brazilians are able to do any manual work outside!


Everything I was working on here and everything I saw was new and fresh hence very exciting! I found it quite hard to handle my emotions and I was jumping up and down and clapping my hands quite a lot. They all must have been thinking that I am a bit crazy haha! Well, being in my own also made it hard as normally sharing impressions with others help. So it was great to have a fellow TIE friend here – Dylan! Sorry Dylan for talking so much ha ha! I was simply happy to share my feelings with somebody who understands what I am going through!


I already mentioned that being here has been tough too! I haven’t cried (yet 😉 but I had a few days when I felt rather frustrated and needed lots of patience. All the work done for Edificio Ecologico is being done for free. Therefore, it hasn’t been a priority for anybody (apart from me of course!). Everybody has been amazing and tried to help so much. But for example 80% of work done at the agency was briefed by me – all in Portuguese! 75% of my plans changed and I had to adapt and be as flexible as possible. I wasn’t also able to help as much as I wanted as simply critiquing or improving creative work done in Portuguese is simply impossible!


Finally! I now understand what Ed and Joseph (who did the TIE Experience before me) were explaining saying that these have been the best moments in their lives. And that they made friends for life! I will never forget all the people I met here! And I really hope that we will stay in touch!  I am glad that I am going out soon! otherwise I might cry now 😉

I also really liked writing my blog! I will be sad to stop writing it!


4 days of work left, lots going on, all exciting!

Where do I start?? There is so much going on here that my head might explode 😉 Working in advertising is always exciting and intense but here the experience is even more crazy and life is so unpredictable!

Media – the latest developments

Media guys here at my agency partner were briefed a few weeks ago. But it has been pretty quiet till this week. Suddenly 2 days ago everything started happening. So we now have:

  • A full page advert booking on the biggest monthly businesses magazine in the Northeast – it will be published from mid-April (all for free)
  • Digital display company agreed to offer free display spots on big screens in shopping malls, lottery shops and business centres. We need a 15 second animation for this. All free again.
  • Radio – we managed to get a free minute long spot at a big radio station.
  • The biggest newspaper group in the Northeast are interested too – we are trying to arrange a meeting to tell them about Edificio Ecologico and the campaign we are working on.

Is your head spinning now? Mine is! Now we need to prepare all these materials for media. We have work in progress advert and storyboard for the animation (it needs amends though). We have no radio and newspaper materials ready yet!

Creative work

The main creative idea has been partially approved by my NGO. But it needs further amends (so I won’t reveal it yet!) and all the pieces need to be developed. We already started work on leaflets and inserts. We now need to make all the amends and develop business cards, designs for pens and recyclable bags (made of out of advertising banners – how cool). We haven’t even started working on a direct mail yet! Guys here at the agency are busy so despite me chasing, things are progressing very slowly! And I have to brief everything in Portuguese as the person working with me is busy and things move faster when I ask people here for favours! But imagine briefing production, print, studio etc. all in Portuguese – hard work!

Final presentation and recycling launch at Arcos

The most exciting part however is the finale of my work here! On Monday I will have my final presentation and initially it was only going to be with a small group of people. The plan has changed! We managed to convince Arcos (the agency I work with here) to implement the recycling scheme with Edificio Ecologico here at the agency. This will be our first new case study and we have already received a very nice testimonial!  Arcos are going to treat this as a nice internal campaign and therefore I will be presenting to the entire agency (around 50 people) all in Portuguese. Then a representative of Arcos will explain the changes and what needs to be done to recycle. I already started writing my presentation (I love you Google translate!) and I now need to correct it and practise reading! I am so excited! And nervous too! But we also need to get bins for recycling and produce stickers. All before 3pm on Monday!

Right so much to do! I’d better go and chase everybody again! And again! And again! 😉


Ewa xxx

Brazil – deep contrasts: wealthy and poor, beautiful and ugly, open and close, musical and silent!

Having lived and worked already over 3 weeks in Brazil (times goes so fast!), I am still trying to understand the Brazilian life and people! This is a country of deep contrasts: wealthy and poor, beautiful and ugly, open and close, musical and silent!

Wealthy and poor

Brazil is booming at the moment! You might have read in the news that Brazil has become the sixth-biggest economy in the world. This is visible everywhere – huge construction sites and shopping malls are everywhere, roads are full of luxurious cars and Brazilians love the latest technology gadgets and designer accessories. At the same time just next to rich neighbourhoods, you suddenly see the poorer side of the society. Sometimes poorer favelas are hidden in between high rich towers. Change is so sudden that only a bad smell of sewage wakes one up from the paradise. Despite a huge improvement brought for the poorest by Lula’s governments, there are still millions of Brazilians who live on nothing hence violence (assaults usually happen late at night in dangerous areas but also tourists and wealthy people are targeted). This is quite hard to comprehend – I was invited last Saturday to a wealthier area of Recife for a BBQ by the pool. Then I still couldn’t forget the pictures of the catadores house and other poor people I saw while driving around with Mark.

Zona Norte - wealthy areafavela north of Recife

Beautiful and ugly

Last weekend I was invited to visit a beautiful beach an hour away from Recife – called Porto de Galinhas. While driving there, we took class A dual carriage way (new and shiny better than majority of motorways in the UK). A few minutes later, the surface changed to a bumpy and dusty road with no road signs (I could never imagine driving in Brazil – it’s crazy and sometimes dangerous! Crossing streets isn’t fun either – there are many serious road accidents hence it’s important to check 5 times before crossing!) and litter all over the place. We then arrived to the beach – it was amazing! It felt like in a paradise: palms, sand, reef and the sun! We drove a bit further to see the surfers’ paradise. To get there we passed a poor area again smelly with garbage on the side of the road.

smelly canalbeautiful beach Porto de Galinhasdestroyed restaurant

Many places also have double meanings: pretty and ugly. In Salvador the most beautiful hill with a view on colourful colonial houses actually has been an area where slaves where gathered for a sale.

slaves hill in SalvadorIn Olinda the most colourful market full of local craft and tourists also has been a salves market area. And Porto de Galinhas (Chickens Port) takes its name from chickens market that were a cover for slaves market.

Open and close

Brazilians are as welcoming as I expected. I love the fact how easily everybody chats away and is really welcoming. Within days of starting my work at my agency here, majority of my colleagues chatted to me (using: Portuguese, French and English and smiling ;). I danced in the middle of the office too.

samba in the officeGetting to know people is so easy (especially that I continuously made a foul of myself by speaking as much Portuguese as I can and making lots of grammatical mistakes and demanding ad hoc grammar lessons 😉 I also never had so many random chats – like yesterday when I was trying to swim and this Paulista (guy from Sao Paulo) decided to tell me his entire life story (of course in Portuguese) in the middle of the ocean being really happy about that fact that he’s quarter Polish!

But many Brazilians are closed for the poverty too. I am not so surprised as it is easier not to see the poor. Many richer people don’t leave their wealthy areas and hence don’t really know about problems around them. Apparently, boom of the high towers that are here everywhere was linked with violence. Therefore more wealthy parts of the society ‘closed’ themselves inside secure towers with steel gates and security cameras.

Musical and silent

I spent a weekend in Bahia – a region south of Pernambuco. Capoeira, samba and all other music was everywhere on the streets! Here in Pernambuco there are lots of artists and musicians too. While travelling yesterday I listened to famous artists and rappers only from here Northeast. I also listened to random samba and drums rehearsals in the middle of the street in Olinda and Salvador! At the same time, while walking around you suddenly pass scarily silent roads – usually tiny and narrow. This is a sign – don’t go there unless you are local. Luckily I am perfectly safe and I haven’t witnessed anything dangerous – touch wood!

samba in Salvador