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Banco do Brasil Advertising Shows Internal Opposition in the Bolsonaro Administration

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The Secretary of State yesterday disavowed an order from the Secretariat of Communication of the Presidency (Secom) so that all advertising material of the public administration, including that of state-owned companies, had to be analyzed beforehand.

Secom’s order came a day after President Jair Bolsonaro ordered to suspend publicity from Banco do Brasil. Hours later, General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, minister of the Secretariat of Government – to which Secom is subordinate – issued a note saying that the measure hurts the State Law, “because it is not for the direct administration to intervene in the content of advertising strictly marketing of state-owned enterprises.”

The case exposes the confrontation between the new head of Secom, Fábio Wajngarten, and Santos Cruz. The businessman, who took over the secretariat two weeks ago, is close to the councilman Carlos Bolsonaro, the president’s son, and his appointment was celebrated on social networks by writer Olavo de Carvalho, guru of bolsonarismo.

The determination to control the commercials was given by email from Secom’s Secretary of Publicity and Promotion, Glen Lopes Valente. The newspaper Estadao found that the justification for canceling the order was that an email can not overlap with a normative instruction.

Normative Instruction No. 2 of 2018, which regulates advertising campaigns, requires that only institutional pieces be forwarded for prior analysis of the Planalto. This means that state-owned companies have the autonomy to choose material that promotes their products or services. Today, there is only the recommendation to inform Planalto about the media used to run the campaigns and, eventually, the content of the piece is communicated.

Former special secretary of Communication in the government Michel Temer, Márcio de Freitas affirmed that the praxis in the marketing campaigns was to do only an analysis of the cost, but not of its content.

Officials from the state-owned companies heard by the report assessed that the requirement for prior analysis could be stopped in court. They also said that interference would risk affecting business activity. In the e-mail sent to state-owned companies, Secom says the recommendation wants to “maximize the alignment of all advertising action” of the Executive. Secom also informs that a new regulation will be made.

The Bolsonaro Administration’s determination to control advertising pieces came a day after the decision to suspend a Banco do Brasil campaign for young audiences came to light. The piece, which disclosed service of opening a current account on the cell phone, was removed from the air on the 14th at the request of Bolsonaro himself. The episode also led to the departure of the director of Communication and Marketing of the bank, Delano Valentim, who is on vacation.