Alice McKenzie is an Account Manager at Saatchi & Saatchi London. A kind and energetic soul with a Nothing is Impossible glint in her eye, and who better to send to Recife (a city perched on the Eastern tip of Brazil) in collaboration with TIE and D&AD to be the woman on the ground in helping local charity Solidare develop a brand strategy and sustainable place in the local community.
“I have been a Recifense for three weeks now and I think I’ve earned the right to call myself that. I’ve conquered so much, the public transport, the early starts, people even tell me (at times) that I’m actually speaking Portuguese.
It really has been a month of firsts. This past weekend, I dipped my toes in the Brazilian sea, I drank coconut water from a real coconut, I celebrated my Brazilian granny’s 87th birthday, I scoffed Churrasco and I bought the Seleteiras their first ever sewing machine.
None of this would have been possible without D&AD and Saatchi & Saatchi who have loaned me for a month to charity Instituto Solidare to help build a brand and marketing campaign to promote beautiful products made out of rubbish by women in the local community.
The brand is Seleta & these women are the Seleteiras; a unique group of passionate, fun-loving and resilient artists looking to develop their talents and skills to raise a sustainable income and create a better future for their children.
They come together every Thursday at Solidare for their weekly workshop run by local artist and designer, Livia. It is the happiest moment of their week and the very fact that many of them eagerly turn up half an hour early is proof enough. For them, Seleta is not only the hope of keeping a roof over their heads, it’s a chance to make friends, have some fun, get creative and escape an otherwise difficult and monotonous cycle for one afternoon a week.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been juggling 2 hour commutes, different time zones and my pigeon Portuguese to bring together the ideas, skills and experience of a handful of people at Saatchi with the fresh, enthusiastic and creative minds of local agency Ae! (a group of university students here in Recife) to together introduce Seleta to the world with a bang.
Conveniently as I’m just starting the day, the team at Saatchi & Saatchi London are already half way through theirs and so I can normally expect an email or two to get my brain in gear, “have I done this or that, have I thought about this, have I seen this?” or more excitingly last week, a sneak peak at the latest logo design and creative ideas – which hopefully you’ll see soon too! While the students have morning classes, I have a few hours to digest any comments, catch up with the Saatchi team and prepare for our afternoon session.
Despite the obvious obstacles in our way, we’ve formed a beautiful collaboration and with just one more week to go, we’ll be working closer than ever to get things up and running! I can’t wait to share it with you all.
Thank you Saatchi.
Thank you D&AD.
Thank you Aê!
Thank you Solidare!
Thank you TIE!
I’ve loved every minute so far and thankfully it’s not over yet!”