I have spent the last week in Ecuador for work. I work with a company that sells 100% handmade Panama hats worldwide, called Ernest J French & Co. This week, we have traveled all over the country to meet several hat weavers, to place orders, to collect visual material for our social media, and to do a photo shoot for our second Look Book. This trip was my first to Ecuador so there were constantly plenty of new experiences – some good and some bad and some very overwhelming. One of the things that I noticed was the difference in advertising.
We started off in the big city of Guayaquil and here there were plenty of billboards, posters, and television advertising. The trip continued to Playas, Montañita, and Porto Lopez, which are all smaller beach and fishing towns. There is a lot more poverty here and many of the houses are not very well built nor do they have electricity, which means that billboards and television advertising does not exist. Instead, the people will advertise by painting on the outside of the houses. Below are some examples. Because the towns are so small, advertising is very limited but that is okay because most of the inhabitants are aware of what is happening in the town from the word of mouth method of advertising.
While I understand that this is a very smart way to advertise in the small towns of Ecuador, this would of course not be efficient in cities like Chicago. On the other hand, many similarities can be made. Chicago uses billboards and sometimes projections on buildings: towns in Ecuador use paintings on buildings and word of mouth. Chicago uses different PR events to introduce or reinvent products: towns in Ecuador use festivals, events, and gatherings. All of these types of advertisings are efficient. I am glad that I have gotten the chance to experience both styles of advertising in the past week.