When people say Brazil, the standard images spring to mind – never-ending beaches, the Rio Carnival, the Amazon forest, great metropolises and football.
Without a shadow of doubt, football is a major part of life for most Brazilians, a sport that epitomises the population’s joie de vivre. You only have to watch a match played in the yellow/green national colours to see that the footballers have a permanent smile on their lips, a trait seen nearly everywhere.
The dribbling of Garrincha, the class of Pelé, the power of Ronaldo, the imagination of Ronaldinho and the speed of Neymar – but all these players have one thing in common, they enjoy playing the way the Brazilians like it, a football that is more visual than tactical. The entire population is still hurting from one of the most stinging wounds for a football fan – being knocked out of a World Cup played on home ground. It happened just a couple of years ago in 2014 when Brazil lost the semi-final against Germany, the team that went on to be crowned World Champions on a Rio night.
Brazil ended the competition fourth, an utter debacle for a team out to win the sixth world championship title in its history. The yellow and green team hasn’t won it since 2002 and the hunger for redemption is huge but it won’t be hard to return to its past glory for a country that, throughout history, has always got back on its feet after a fall and never bowed its head in the face of adversity.
Brazil is the world’s fifth largest country and occupies 47.3% of South American soil. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, it has been the scene of interminable migratory flows over the centuries from Africa and Europe, including the Portuguese who made it their colony until 1822, the year of independence. From the years that followed to the present day, the influx of migrants has never ceased and Brazil is home to many people of Italian, Polish, Ukrainian, German, Central African and even Japanese origin. This flow has generated an eclectic community composed of people from all corners of the world and who have given rise to a mosaic of traditions and cultures that is unique.
The same can be said of Pirelli which opened its first factory in Brazil 87 years ago. This almost 100-year presence has enabled it to carve out a prominent space in the country. Via its tyre manufacturing and 600+ one-brand points of sale all over Brazil, Pirelli has built up a brand and an image that are stamped on the collective imagination.
Pirelli’s presence does not end with the manufacture and sale of its products nationwide; it is also linked to another overriding Brazilian passion: car racing. Many Brazilian racing drivers have written important pages in Brazilian sporting history, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa and the unforgettable Ayrton Senna. Engines continue to attract fans to the Brazilian championships and one example is the Porsche GT3 CUP Brasil, of which Pirelli has been the sole supplier for 10 years now, since the birth of this competition in 2005.
Pirelli is strongly rooted in Brazil as a country and was a major sponsor behind the restoration of one of the seven wonders of the world: Rio de Janeiro’s statue of Christ the Redeemer. Struck by lightning, the damaged statue simply had to be returned to its original splendour in time for the 2014 Football World Cup. And it was.
Now, Pirelli arrives in Brazil once again, travelling not by sea or air but via the Internet. With more than 150 articles published in its first six months, 500,000+ links and nearly one million pages visited, pirelli.com has become Portuguese, another point of contact between a company and nation that have been narrating and continue to narrate stories of success, passion and innovation for 87 years.
Always with a smile on their lips, like those children playing football.