The Power of Words

Two marketing professionals in Brazil set out to prove words have the power to inspire positive change in people's lives
April 30, 2013 6:26 am Last Updated: April 30, 2013 7:19 am

SÃO PAULO, Brazil—It was like any other morning at the busy intersection by the Camargo Street near Butantã in the greater São Paulo on March 22. Vehicles were congesting the street as people rushed to get to work, making the line ups behind the red light longer as it got later into the morning. 

But one thing was different for Thiago Martins da Silva, a street vendor of 9 years who spends his mornings selling candy to occupants of the vehicles at this busy intersection as they wait for the light to turn green. 

That morning he sold all of his candy in less than 3 hours, a record time for da Silva who typically spends over 5 hours to finish his stock. 

The record sell time was thanks to a change in the otherwise ordinary packaging of his candy: All of his candy that morning were sold in packages with labels containing funny phrases and matching illustrations.

The initiative was part of a project created by two marketing professionals who set out to prove that words have the power to positively influence people’s lives.

Friends Will Ferrari Jr., 27, and Alexande Freire, 24, who both work as advertising editors, documented their project in a YouTube video that gathered around 100 thousand views in just a couple of weeks. (See video below)

“The world has many opportunities and many examples of words that change people’s lives. We just wanted to create another possibility,” Ferrari Jr. told Epoch Times.


In coming up with the phrases, Ferrari Jr. and Freire explored various themes that would leave people in an uplifting mood. They decided to avoid phrases that could arouse pity or a guilty conscience in the customers. 

“We wanted people to smile at the time and to continue smiling after the light turns green,” says Ferrrari Jr. 

“It is a new fact of the business world: it’s win-win. If everybody can win, why not do it?”

The phrases were short and funny. 

“I sell candy to create a happy world, you’re happy, I’m happy, and your dentist is very happy,” read one phrase. “Candy is $100. If you smile, I’ll give you a $99 discount,” read another of the phrases. “I spent a fortune printing color, and you won’t buy a little candy?” read another. 

After coming up with the phrases, they needed matching illustrations, and so they enlisted the help of illustrator Guilherme Cruz. 

The packaging was then ready with humorous phrases and designs to bring joy to the buyers and profit to the seller.

The next step was to find the right seller, someone who they thought would deserve to take advantage of the project. 

“We walked the streets of Sao Paulo, and it isn’t so hard to find a vendor,” Ferrari Jr. said. “When we met Thiago [da Silva], we were captivated.”

The team then documented da Silva’s candy sale on the morning of March 22 and posted the video on YouTube.

Non-intrusive Marketing

Ferrari Jr. explains that the “Candy Project” reverberated naturally to people on the Internet, which he says is an instance of non-intrusive marketing. 

“The Internet provides a lot of this. When someone views an advertisement there, it’s because they were looking for it. If someone was looking for it, it stopped being intrusive, and became entertainment,” he says. 

“This project, speaking in terms of advertising, is a part of that process.”

Da Silva, Ferrari Jr. points out, has already been selling his candy for years. What the project did was allow him add a touch of fun in the lives of his customers, himself, and others involved in the project. 

“The impact on the Internet, social networks, was positive that way and in no time we were intrusive.”

Attitudes That Help

Ferrari Jr. was happy with the response to the video and the comments people gave about the project.

Eduardo Cabral, creator of the website, a popular Brazilian blog about communication, called Ferrari Jr. and Freire´s project “creativity welfare.” 

“The power of the phrases made by these advertising editors made many people, through laughter and enjoyment caused by the [resulting] mood, look into their pockets and find some coins to help the respected Thiago [da Silva], thereby reducing his workload to only 3 hours,” Carbal wrote. 

What’s more, it left project creators Ferrari Jr. and Freire gratified knowing they have taken the project from theory to practice and made a positive change in someone’s life.