As prices surge, inflation rises and customer service languishes, Brazil’s consumers are growing increasingly anxious about the cost of living. But while Brazilians have battled many frustrations over the years, for the first time they are turning to the Internet as a platform for airing grievances, commiserating and mobilizing the crowd.
With prices climbing steadily higher ahead of the World Cup, some residents of Rio de Janeiro have set up a Facebook group, Rio $urreal – Não Pague [Don’t Pay], focused on “exposing and boycotting the extortionate prices being charged by bars, restaurants and shops,” as The Guardian reports this week. (“Surreal,” a reference to the craziness of current costs, is a pun on Brazil’s currency, the real.) The page has garnered more than 179,000 likes, and what started in Rio has now expanded to São Paulo, Brasilia and Belém. As we explain in our recent report “The Brazil Opportunity: A Guide for Marketers,” there’s also BoicotaSP, another Facebook outlet where consumers identify businesses or brands they believe are exploitative, with the list serving as a database of places to boycott. And Reclame Aqui (Complain Here) is a website where Brazilians can post complaints about brands, products and customer service.
Brazil’s newly empowered “citizen consumers” are engaged and ready to challenge both government and business, aided by digital tools. As Brazilians take a more active role in shaping their world, they will not only fight perceived offenses committed by marketers but also expect brands to work with them to make things better. Heineken’s Delegates app, for instance, allows users to comment on bars they patronize and suggest ways to improve the experience.
Photo Credit: Rio $urreal