Mauritius joins the BalticBest. Interview with Vincent Montocchio

We are delighted to welcome a new jury member of BalticBest from Mauritius – Vincent Montocchio, who is the Managing Director of Circus Advertising & Chief Creative Officer of PUBLICIS GROUPE AFRICA.
BalticBest welcomes the agencies from Mauritius to take part of the competition!
Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. Owing to its geographic location and centuries of colonialism, the people of Mauritius are highly diverse in ethnicity, culture, language and faith. It is the only country in Africa where Hinduism is the religion with the most adherents. Mauritius is highly ranked for democracy and for economic and political freedom. Mauritius is the only African country to be in the "very high" category on the Human Development Index. According to the World Bank, the country is classified as a high-income economy.
Please describe the agency landscape of Mauritius?
It’s a very competitive space for a small country. All the major networks are present – Ogilvy, McCann, FCB, Publicis, DDB, Carat, to name a few.
My agency Circus! was founded in 1995. Currently, it employs 70 people and is the leading agency in Mauritius and in the whole Indian Ocean region.
Big, global brands usually push their global or regional ads to small markets and do not let small agencies from small countries create original ads. Is this also the case in Mauritius?
No, this is not a case of Mauritius at all. All International brands let us create specific content, in 90% of the cases. Maybe except for cars – the big launches are all global. But Pepsi lets us create one big local campaign per year, the same applies to KFC and yogurt brand Yoplait – all ads are created locally.
Here is one Pepsi ad we have created as an example:

Please describe the consumers of Mauritius.
Mauritius is really unique – it’s a mix of different cultures: European, African, Chinese, Indian.
Although Mauritius is geographically part of Africa, Pan- African campaigns usually cannot be used. We do not have many African-looking people here.
What is characteristic to Mauritius, is the contrast between modern and traditional. For example – the art director of our agency is a young woman, she has tattooes and piercings, but you can see her during Hindu festival in traditional dress.
There is a struggle between modern and global, Eastern and Western here.
We have really managed to keep our unique Mauritian culture while each community keeping its roots – Indian or Chinese or African or European.
What is the most famous brand from Mauritius?
Apart from the tourism- related brands (airline and hotels) it’s the Phoenix beer.
What are the main business challenges for the ad agencies and marketers?
Contrary to the global trend of in-housing, we just won one big business from the financial services sector. They used to do everything in-house. Now they moved everything to us: research, branding, social media, PR, etc.
They have realised that they need outside expertise, but they will still keep a lot of execution in-house.
The biggest problem is short-term thinking and paying not enough attention to branding. Advertisers tend to believe they can live without traditional media; as a matter of fact, digital communication (mainly social media) suffered less during COVID. They are right to think that digital advertising is crucial as it promotes engagement and interaction and comes at a relatively low media cost.
However…digital media alone is not enough to build consistent and solid brand awareness. The whole communication ecosystem works together, one feeding the other. Digital communication can hardly work in isolation or replace the impact of traditional media.
Social media may be cheaper, but it is cluttered with thousands of messages. Each week, we scroll kilometers of content and it would be an error to believe that a simple presence on social media would do the job. More than anywhere else, if you want to exist on social media, you have to emerge through creative and engaging content.
This year, Balticbest is using Adform platform for entries and judging. Please submit your work HERE.
Submission deadline: 16.08.2021
Shortlist published: 21.08.2021
Awards announced: 25.08.2021