Brazilian's 'Dot-coms' Invest in Carnival

SAO PAULO (03/06/2000) - It won't be like the Super Bowl in the U.S., but Brazil's Carnival is catching a lot of attention and investment from Brazil's "dot-com" Internet companies. It's been two years since local portals like UOL Inc., ZAZ/Terra and Zip.Net have been covering the famous festivities, but this year they are betting more in terms of advertising and marketing.

The origin of Carnival comes from the festivities held right before the 40-day Lenten period before the Catholic celebration of Easter. Lent starts this Wednesday, and tomorrow is Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the culmination of festivities.

Rio de Janeiro's famous Marquês de Sapucaí Avenue, supplying the main stage for the samba festival's parade, will have two special stands (camarotes) sponsored by two portals, sharing space with big companies like Brahma, the largest beer manufacturer in the country, and Rede Globo.

One of portal sponsors is iG, the first Internet free access ISP in Brazil, owned by Banco Opportunity and the private equity fund GP Investimentos. They have declined to divulge what they spent on the event, but they expect to host 350 special "VIP" guests during the three days of the party. The producers have already confirmed the presence of musician Caetano Veloso and his wife Paula Lavigne, Calvin Klein, Phillip Glass, Adriane Galisteu and many other artists and singers. iG only gives numbers for its marketing budget for the whole year, which is 30 million reals (US$17 million).

Zip.Net, which was recently acquired by Portugal Telecom SA for $368 million reals, will participate in the samba parade in partnership with Brahma, whose stand is always full of celebrities. They will cover the event and interview celebrities, and offer streaming live transmissions from the Zip.Net home page.

Brahma is expecting to host almost 3,000 people during festivities over the three-day parade and celebration period. Zip.Net is investing almost 500,000 reals in the event.

Uiverso Online (UOL) is going to monitor the Carnival in Rio and Salvador. In Salvador, the capital of Bahia, they are sponsoring one of the most famous "trios elétricos" (a truck, on which a band plays, and people follow). In addition,, a Latin America auction site, is sponsoring the "trio elétrico," of singer Ivete Sangalo.

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