Note from BW of Brazil: Well, well…It looks like someone is moving up in the world! It’s been three years since we introduced our audience to the –born rapper Karol Conká. The artist’s style, delivery and fashion sense brought to mind a mixture of a number of internationally-known black female singers and rappers. Check out her style and come to your own conclusion about that. But since the time that we first brought you Conká her star has been on the steady rise. And this year is arguably her best year since becoming nationally known in Brazilian Hip Hop circles. 2016 has seen Conká perform at the huge Lolapalooza Festival and just last month she took center stage with pint-sized rapper MC Soffia at the Rio-hosted Olympics opening seen by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In between those two major events, Conká also found time and accepted an invitation to appear in a commercial for a global leader in the makeup industry, becoming the poster girl for Avon.
As representation, representation and representation has always been major theme on this blog since its inception, the news that Conká would not just appear, but star in a major cosmetics commercial alone was major news for black women’s groups. Numerous reports have shown us that black Brazilian women are often excluded from any sort of major media exposure outside of Carnaval time. Of course, there are a few that manage to attract media attention. Actress Taís Araújo is arguably the most successful. But we’ve also seen actress Camila Pitanga and singer Ludmilla has been getting her share of the limelight.
What grabbed my attention about Conká’s new commercial is that, as the one that is appearing on television, she is only woman appearing in the commercial. This is important because, more than a few times I’ve noticed how magazine covers or television commercials that feature black women will also make sure to include one, two or several white women to perhaps deflect attention away from the fact that a black woman is on the cover or in the commercial. Remember a previous article that revealed that in advertising, there is a fear that having a black woman present a certain product will scare away white women consumers. Also remember a past shoe commercial in which a black woman appeared for a few seconds and then magically disappeared from the ad as a flock of white women took center stage.
Such is how black women are treated in the media. But Karol is movin’ on up! Perhaps proof of her influence is that she is the latest in the ongoing search for the “Brazilian Beyoncé“. We’ve seen this search on the part of the Brazilian media for years now, but a recent article posted on the site Pop Sugar is the first time this writer has seen an American site make the comparison! Considering all of this, congratulations are in order for Karol Conká! Your star is on the rise! Keep on movin’!!
Karol Conká stars in new commercial for Avon!
By Amauri Terto and Eduardo Duarte Zanelato, with information from Rap Nacional Download and E Mais
Avon has taken to the air the campaign “Um olhar aberto te define” (An open look defines you) to launch the new mascara for Big & Define eyelashes, created by J. Walter Thompson. Aligned to the positioning Beleza que faz Sentido (Beauty that makes sense), that inspires female empowerment, the company combines the key attributes of the product – to separate, define and give volume to the eyelashes – to messages about appreciation of women and diversity in a general way.
The clip for television, which premiered on Rede Globo (TV network) and will be displayed in open channels and cable, will have the rapper Karol Conká as protagonist. As a woman conscious of her power, she’ll lead consumers to not only the benefits of the mascara, but also a provocation to people about having a more open look at the world.
“Karol is a beautiful, empowered woman, who managed to conquest her own space and be heard. Because of this, we chose to propose this reflection on the importance of having an open look at the world, to put yourself in another’s place and understand differences and multiple views that make up our society. We understand that associate the mascara to these questions is a way of showing the power of the look and eyes,” said Marise Barroso, vice president of marketing for Avon.
The campaign will also be extended to digital channels of Avon, under the name #oquetedefine with creation and production by Mutato. Karol will have the company of funkeira (funk singer) MC Carol and rapper Lay, three artists-activists very engaged in discussing, each in her own way, women’s empowerment and diversity. In addition to an exclusive video to social networks to advertise the campaign, Avon still make a series of five videos-loops in which the three artists reinforce their positions and a 12-photo essay for Instagram. The coverage of scenes from the set of the recordings was made in the brand’s Snapchat.
In video recently released by Avon, the three singers rhyme about self-esteem and confidence
Behind the look that defines Karol Conká, MC Carol and Lay
She laughs between one take and another, but seems to embody another persona when she hears “recording”. She starts repeating the text that she created to talk about female empowerment, walking to the camera as if to swallow the world to ensure that her voice – historically silenced – is heard. And then Karol Conká shines:
“Seeing beyond what the eye can see
Quality, quantity, put it in the balance,
Result of whoever has a look that defines,
Self-esteem and confidence serving as a showcase”
– Karol Conka
It is easy to perceive the power of an artist like Karol after a few minutes around her. She has the ability to talk about five topics at the same time, going to the club the night before to the importance of representation of black women in the different areas of society – and still taking pictures with MC Carol and setting up the next artistic partnership between the two.
This was the energy that dictated the mood of the recording of the campaign #OlharQueTeDefine that Mutato created and produced for Avon to launch the mascara Big & Define. Our videos, photos and GIFs complement the campaign Avon premiered last week with a TV commercial also starring Karol – created by J. Walter Thompson, the sister agency of Mutato.
The choice of Karol is due to what she has been saying; due to the significance of her discourse to Brazil 2016. Protagonist of the Tombamento movement, which preaches black aesthetic empowerment, Karol has a lot to say – and us, listening and giving space to amplify this discourse.
In the digital campaign, Karol receives the re-enforcement of two mega relevant names of funk and rap, respectively: the carioca (Rio native) MC Carol and the paulistana (São Paulo native) Lay. From the initial objective of promoting the Big & Define mascara, we understand that the three were key figures to show that it is up to each one to define their own point of view and show it to others. The result, the first of many photos and videos, you can see below:
And to go a little deeper into the impact of a campaign like this, we requested that Daniel Mattos, of our Insights team, of her point of view, engaged in discussions about female empowerment.
The point of view of Dani is so powerful that the idea is to leave here just a provocation to a conversation that will continue with more force in a few days at the n’Ø Bløg.
“Seeing black women in the Avon campaign only affirms my fight to occupy spaces that are mine by right. That I should not celebrate for them existing. But I think, much more than important in my life, this campaign is ESSENTIAL in the lives of girls who have not yet assumed their true identity because they think that their only place is the exotic mulata on television. Seeing Conka on TV and MC Carol and Lay on the internet is to show these girls that this is also their place. When ‘being a black woman’ is demystified for these girls, the construction of their true identities becomes a path a little easier to be followed.”
– Daniele Mattos
Karol Conka feat MC Carol – Toca Na Pista // Lollapalooza 2016
Source: Brasil Post, Portal do Propaganda, E Mais, Muta
The term when media puts a bunch of white women in an ad with the black woman who should sell the product on her own is called “chaperoning”.