The stinging 2-1 defeat came just as the Seleção, as the team is known, had begun to gather steam, and Brazilians dared to hope that a victory could wash away years of recession, political uncertainty – and a humiliating defeat to Germany four years ago.
“The World Cup allowed us a moment to forget our problems,” said Cristiano Conceição, who works in a furniture store and watched the game with thousands of others in a traditional gathering place for football fans, a several-block stretch of Rio de Janeiro known as the Alzirao. “Break’s over now,” he said.
Soccer is more than just a game in Brazil, where it is central to national identity. But the World Cup in Russia has been an especially welcome distraction. Brazil is just emerging from a deep, prolonged recession. It has lost confidence in its leaders as a corruption investigation revealed endemic graft among its political and corporate elite that shocked even the most cynical. Crime is rising in many cities, many Brazilians feel the last president was improperly removed from office, and the population is heading into national elections more divided than it has been in recent memory.
The Brazilian team got off to a slow start this year, and its star turn Neymar particularly came in for criticism for not meeting expectations. But as strong teams were unexpectedly eliminated – among them Germany, Spain and Argentina – confidence began to rise in Brazil that the Selecao might actually be able to win the title and purge the memories of their 7-1 semi-final loss to Germany at the last World Cup. There was a feeling that finally the tide was turning – not just on the field, but also in the country’s overall fortunes.
In the hours before Friday’s game, local media reported that Sao Paulo’s roads experienced record-breaking congestion as Brazilians left work early and rushed to get into position to watch. Bars and squares steadily filled up and people from airports to offices looked for the nearest TV to huddle around.
In Rio’s Maua Square, groups started arriving three hours before kick-off. They wore super hero outfits and draped themselves in Brazil’s flag. The atmosphere was festive and light, with the weekend and a hoped-for win on the horizon. When Belgium scored twice in the first half, the atmosphere grew tense. By half-time, with Brazil down 2-0, the crowd was on edge, though some still cried out, “I believe!”
The mood lifted when Brazil scored deep in the second half. The crowd erupted in jumping and cheers; they sprayed beer and honked air horns.
When the final whistle blew, many hugged and cried.
A reporter on the Globo network teared up as she described watching the game with family members of the players. She talked about how they never lost hope and even prayed at half-time. When she threw it back to the anchor, he then faltered.
But, in Maua Square, many were determined to keep the party going, dancing and joking as a way to relieve the pain of defeat.
On social media, that trademark gallows humour was evident. One image lamented Brazil’s inability to get over the loss to Germany four years ago. Over a picture of the German flag was written: “The enemy didn’t go away.” Below was a picture of the Belgian flag – which, like the German one, has a black, yellow and red stripe – and the words: “It disguised itself.”
“We always knew that the World Cup would not solve our problems,” said Isabela Santos, a law student who watched the game in the Alzirao. “But how sweet it would have been to win it!”
How much are they worth of? Check here the Leading players of the national football team of Brazil at FIFA World Cup as of June 2018, by market value (in million euros).
The statistic displays the leading players of the national football team of Brazil at FIFA World Cup as of June 2018, by market value. The most valuable player was Neymar, with a market value of 180 million euros.
Very few people know the awkward funny situations that happen to our researchers and interviewers when we’re conducting a study in Brazil. If those cases were put together someday, probably a book could be published. The book subject would include not only research or marketing information, but also funny facts able to produce a whole movie screenplay based in true histories.
This one happened some years ago. The interviewer asked us not to reveal her actual age. It’s ok, we understand that she is trying to look younger. Lying is not permitted ere, but we’ll allow her to cover her age for self-esteem reasons.
It happened during a study we were conducting for a large company which produced and commercialized butter. A brand new butter was created, and they wanted to assess the general responsiveness to the product. Actually it was a product placement or IHUT – in home usage test. T
he brand was not printed on the pot, and respondents should use it for a week and, then, tell our interviewers their opinion about the butter. Respondents answered the screening questions and, after qualifying for the sample, they received a butter pot to be used for a week. After this week, our interviewer would come back to apply a second questionnaire and get results to be put on the database sent to the client.
One of the respondents was absolutely unique in terms of behavior. Actually, she seemed to behave as if she had two absolutely different personalities…something like “The Three Faces of Eve“. Maybe, two different souls. But we’ll clarify that later on.
The initial interview was done with her. Things went smoothly, she qualified within the screener questions, and received the butter pot. In the second interview one week later, however, something must have happened.
Our interviewer came back as promised, but the first reaction from the respondent was asking:
“What? Who the hell are you? Which butter pot are you referring to? Are you sure I received it? What interview? How come“?
Patiently and meekly our interviewer explained: “Calm down, madam. Don´t you remember me? I’ve been here last week, you received me in your house, you answered some questions and I gave you a butter pot for testing“. The respondent kept denying.
At this point, our interviewer was intrigued, wondering whether the respondent had any psychological problem. How knows? Maybe she had Alzheimer, pathological memory slips…whatever.
Our interviewer recalled that the madam looked just a bit tired during the first interview, as if recovering from a hangover, but nothing to be concerned about. By then, she answered all questions perfectly, and entirely qualified for sampling.
Our interviewer politely continued: “It´s ok. I´ll help you remember. Your name is so and so, your ID number is so and so, we were together for about 30 minutes, we talked and you even let me enter your house. Do you remember now“?
Out of the blue, the respondent showed some hope of remembering: “Oooooooow. Is it a white little pot, no brand, with some codes on the cover“?
“Yes, yes, yes! That´s it! And according to my control, your code is B“!
“Yes, it has a big ‘B’ letter” – respondent promptly recalled.
Our interviewer went in a bit afraid, sit on the living room, and the respondent kept explaining:
“Wow! I remember now! I was wondering how come that butter pot had got into my refrigerator. I even thought my husband had bought it and put there. Oh my goodness…nowadays I can’t tell anymore when it’s me speaking through my mouth or my guiding spirit, “Pomba-Gira”. You know that I’m involved with Candomblé and witchcraft? It makes my life so exciting nowadays! The only problem is when Pomba-Gira takes hold of me and I lose consciousness. She is so unpredictable! By the way, do you know Pomba-Gira“?
Shocked and perplexed as she was, our interviewer response was “NO, I DON´T KNOW POMBA-GIRA. WERE WE INTRODUCED IN THE FIRST INTERVIEW. THIS POMBA-GIRA that sometimes grabs a hold on you…does she use butter“?
Quick facts now, just for information.Candomblé is a kind of cult or religion based on ancient African spiritual traditions, with some elements derived from Christianity, practiced chiefly in Brazil. Candomblémay be called Macumbain some regions, and it involves witchcraft, spirit possession, “incorporation” of deities and entities along with some ritual sacrifices.
Now Pomba-Gira, which roughly translated means “twisting-pigeon”. Pomba-Gira is an entity herself, personified and allegedly able to possess people. It represents female beauty, lustful sexuality and desire. Pomba-Gira is also viewed as a beautiful woman who is insatiable.
Yes, our respondent was a Candomblé follower and claimed to be possessed by Pomba-Gira during the first interview. Of course it led us to believe that Pomba-Gira herself was interested in the research and was more than eager to test the brand new butter. The respondent affirmed she was not able to remember anything, once that the entity was in control.
“Deceitful and tricky! That’s my guiding spirit, Pomba-Gira! She’s so funny”! – said the respondent, laughing out loud.
Of course this respondent was eliminated from the study, cut from the sample, and replaced with a more reliable participant. We believe that methodologies must be innovative, but certainly we are not interviewing spiritual entities yet. Maybe in the near future, when some client ask us to conduct a research about possible consuming habits and usages that only deities have. On the meanwhile, let’s play it safe interviewing humans
Many lessons were learnt from this experience. First, always make sure that it´s the respondent herself answering questions. Second, when market research in Brazil is at stake, think about reaching absolutely new consumers, from human or spiritual realms. Third, it’s better interviewing respondents from the human realm. As long as results are accurate, we’ll be more than happy. Forth, never undermine cultural behavior. A spirit may be interested in participating….
It is important to ask local experts on the most appropriate methodology for a study, not only considering lower costs, but especially how the results will probably come out if you decide for some methodology.
When a market research study is being conducted, information about people’s opinion, habits, attitudes, usage, consumption behavior or preferences is being sought. Depending on the scope of information being sought, qualitative or quantitative scopes are set to approach the individual. Marketing, in a way, is a tool to enhance people’s sense of need for some product or service. What cannot be set aside, however, is the further understanding about how culture, local praxis or collective behavior deeply influences individuals when they are playing the role of consumers.
Brazil is known as the country whose people are body-built and fit, tanned and outspoken. Rarely, or very seldom, you’re going to run into a Brazilian citizen who is withdrawn or totally unwilling to talk. This archetypical image of the Brazilians was exhaustively studied by some scholars who, for many years, tried to understand why the “ordinary Brazilian” is characterized by these behaviors.
One of these scholars was Gilberto Freyre, who emphasized the miscegenation as the main trace of Brazil: “Every Brazilian, even the light skinned fair haired one carries about him on his soul, when not on soul and body alike, the shadow or at least the birthmark of the aborigine or the negro”. Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, father of the also known musician Chico Buarque, also analyzed the ordinary Brazilian. Sérgio, in a avant-garde analysis of the commonplace Brazilian, stated that people born and brought up in Brazil environments are generally regarded as being driven mostly by personal affection, individualism, being averse to hierarchy, aloof to strict discipline, disobedient to social rules and accustomed to paternalism and cronyism. That is explained by a heritage from the Portuguese settlers, enhanced by traces of black and indigenous cultures.
Foreign marketers or research professionals, when conducting a study in Brazil, are subject to some challenges that are brought up by local culture. Not always – and actually, rarely – methodologies applied for studies in foreign countries do suit Brazil, and the lingering question remains being “but why?”
It may not be the main reason, but the so called “aloofness to strict discipline” partially explains why studies conducted with respondents who must perform tasks, fill-in diaries in a long-term study, or use products for an extended period of time, are commonly troublesome. If you’re recruiting individuals for a focus group or in-depth interview, very often recruited participants will tell you about their interest in participating, but at the data and time set for the study they eventually do not show up. That may be partially explained by the “personal affection” behavior. If the recruiter does not try to “get affectionately close” to the possible participant, in a kind of precarious friendship relation, absent participants afterwards will tell you something such as “I was contacted, I liked the person who invited me to the study….but he/she did not call me for a couple days to remind me or ask about me…and I forgot that I had been committed to attending the study. I’m sorry”. Brazilians are somewhat driven by the underlying idea that their opinion, all in all, is something that cannot be traded to enhance somebody else’s profit and, unless they get fully compensated for sharing their information, no 40-minutes or longer face-to-face interview with paper questionnaire would be possible. That, too, may be linked to the individualistic behavior that assumes personal information as something submitted to payment.
Culture, especially when we’re addressing the Brazilian consumer, determines the outcomes and even the progress of the study. That’s why it is important to ask local experts on the most appropriate methodology for a study, not only considering lower costs, but especially how the results will probably come out if you decide for some methodology. Culture determines not only the way of getting information in Brazil, but determines specially the content and accuracy of the information you’re seeking.