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Bringing Brazil’s Carnival to the world

By Lauren Pachaly

Consumer Marketing Manager, Brazil

Our consumer marketing team here in Brazil has a slogan: Go where the passion is. And in Brazil, there are few things people are more passionate about than Carnival—an annual spring festival that incorporates parades, music and dance in an enormous, nation-wide celebration. This year, our team of five decided to tackle a huge challenge: take the party global by launching a Carnival channel on YouTube and live stream a full six days of coverage to the entire world.

When we began the project in October 2010, we knew we had to work quickly and efficiently if we were going to have this ready five months later—especially since we were such a small team with big goals for a brand new project. One of our biggest obstacles was figuring out how to bring the true Carnival music experience to YouTube—not just a few shows here and there, but really capturing all of the celebrity performances, parades and spontaneous street dances that occur all over the state of Bahia during the six days of celebration. We quickly realized we were going to need a lot of support on the ground in order to coordinate all of the logistics, such as camera placement, so we enlisted the help of more than 100 freelance professionals. Another challenge was orchestrating video translations so people in other regions could share in the excitement in their native language, which we did by asking Googlers to put their 20 percent time toward the endeavor.

On more than one occasion, I thought we were in way over our heads, but when I saw the famous Brazilian singer, Ivete Sangalo, streaming live on YouTube in a performance broadcasted to more than 15,000 cities in 200 countries worldwide, I knew we’d connected the world with the passion of the Carnival.

Despite the chaos involved in organizing the live stream, the results of the project were well beyond our expectations. During the six days of Carnival, people from 200+ countries watched more than 11 million views of the live stream and 21,000+ subscribed to the YouTube channel. As a small team with big goals—and the resources and freedom to achieve them—we aim to remain as nimble and efficient as we were during Carnival, with people’s passions as our guide to projects that will have the biggest impact.