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Luiza está no Canadá – the weird ad from Paraíba that became viral

January 17, 2012 23 Comments

culture  Luiza está no Canadá   the weird ad from Paraíba that became viral

A Facebook photo of Luisa - who is in Canada

Instant Youtube success: Gerardo Rabello, a social columnist from João Pessoa, capital of the state of Paraíba, announces a new construction project and says it is so great that all the family will attend the launching ceremony, apart from his daughter “Luiza, who is in Canada”. The phrase, mysteriously, became viral. In only two days, dozens of “comments” and mockumentaries about it were published on Youtube.

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  • João Tadeu Costa says:

    Hi, I’m from Brazil,and when this guy made a comment “Luiza, who is in Canada”, sounded like “I’m extremely rich” and that’s why people in Brazil make this phrase viral.
    Is not common in Brazil you mention details about his private life on an commercial.

  • CM says:

    I’m not sure if he is trying to sound like he’s extremely rich, I think it’s more showing off that his daugher is travelling abroad. Parents tend to be proud like that, but you usually say it to your friend at a party and not on a TV AD.
    Anyway, who is the agency that approves a commercial like that, and who is the development company that would pay someone to say it on their commercial? Completely not relevant to their message wich is recommed the investiment and not announce to the world that Luiza is in Canada.

  • Alessandro says:


  • Marco says:

    I read about the story of this comrcial, João Rabelho got the script already like that, he said that when read that had to say the famous phrase, he that i was something normal…

  • Dandara says:

    Look, I’m American and I live in Brazil and is unbearable! Everything on TV and the Internet, is completed or interrupted with Luiza is in Canada. Seriously! This is ridiculous!
    The parent uses a teenager girl with 17 years to be promoted in a commercial (which is not common in Brazil, a country of middle class) saying of the girl is in another country.
    So I say, Brazil is emerging for more than just sinks and does not rise.
    Luiza is just another “Rebecca Black” Brazilian. The difference? Luiza bores me and you did not fight to be the what is. It’s just a joke of market consumer. LUIZA, I HATE YOU IS NOT A MORE IN CANADA FOR THE HEARTBREAK OF WE, POPULATION OF BRAZIL.
    … And it happens that you wait for the return to school next month. Poor thing, will suffer mercilessly bullying.

    • I should also point out that the meme is a good example of why meme’s become old very quickly and how they warp (rather than evolve) into news.

      The first folks reporting on Luiza’s whereabouts were net nerds who had seen the original commercial first-hand on You-Tube and found it corny beyond belief. They were making arch comments to their friends, who had also seen it. This is precisely the same sort of crowd who loves to wax enthusiastic about the Trololo Guy*. Thus was the original iteration of the meme born and it was funny, if not hilarious.

      Then legions of script-kiddies and Brazilian adolescents who fancy themselves to be Anonymous got ahold of the meme and started spamming it into everything, making old meme old, very quickly.

      Following this, the Brazilian NORPS** saw the script-kiddies’ net graffiti, wondered what was up and had to have everything explained to them. This effectively killed any remaining humor that the meme once had.

      Finally, the Old Media got ahold of the Luiza story. The Old Media speaks to people who hardly use the internet at all and whose understanding of memes is on the level of a flatworm’s understanding of brain surgery. The only framework the Old Media has for dealing with this sort of thing is to treat Luiza as some sort of minor instant celebrity. And that, friends, is precisely how Globo is dealing with this little bit of internet arcana right at this very moment.

      *If you don’t know who the Trololo Guy is, google it. Remember: there is no such thing as brain bleach.

      **NORP = Normal, Ordinary, Responsible Person. The vast majority of internet users who go on-line simply to check e-mail and send each other pictures of their cats – see expanded definition here: Going on the comments above, most people posting here seem to be NORPs.

    • moronio says:

      Your Engrish is good for an Amelican.

  • A. says:

    I’m Brazilian and I just found out who ‘Luiza’ is because my mom posted about it on Facebook, and then she said if I googled I’d know who ‘Luiza’ was, and I just watched the ad, I think it is just non sense, why are people making such a big deal about this?

  • Folks, there’s another reason this went viral and it has little to do with the fact that the guy is bragging in an off-handed fashion about his daughter’s international travels.

    It has to do with Brazilian cordiality and family values and also with Brazilian sarcasm when cordiality is taken too far.

    Rabello is basically telling us that “Look, I’m putting my family’s good name behind this project”. This is a traditionalist, kitchy and smarmy sort of thing to do. Maybe it goes over well with the folks from Paraiba, but to the large number of Brazilians living in São Paulo and Rio (the dominant force on the lusophone internet), it sounds like a corny homily to 19th century values. The ad is thus irksome to begin with.

    Then, to top it all off, Rabello explains to us all why one of his daughters won’t be attending this mighty social event of the Paraiban summer. As if we knew his children by name. As if we would wonder why we wouldn’t see Luiza at the event. As if we all lived in the same tiny little backlands village and even knew who the hell Gerardo Rabello and his spawn were.

    As if, in short, we gave a tremendous fuck.

    Urbane, networked Brazil thus responded in false cordial style, dripping with fake bonhomie and neighborly concern.

    Suddenly, we all needed to know where Luiza was. What she was doing? Was she eating well? Did she have a boyfriend yet? Was he Canadian…? We demanded that the government investigate why Luiza was still in Canada and worried whether the heartless gringos would deport her. (Certainly not Luiza! Such a nice moça de família!)

    And, of course, we’re all breathing a hearty sigh of relieved satisfaction now that she’s come home to the pátria amada.

    People who didn’t get this meme or are taken it at face value as a form of instant celebrity manufacture don’t understand the depths of Brazilian sarcasm when it combines with false cordiality. There’s a reason why “cair na boca do povo” is understood to be a bad thing in Brazil.

    Brazil, um país de todos (menos Luiza, que está no Canadá).

  • Me says:

    Deve ta trampande de limpeza no canada

  • Seriously, I run a pousada in Joao Pessoa (that’s Portuguese for a small hotel by the way)and believe me this is beginning to drive me nuts.

    I’m hearing the phrase from every guest, Brazilian or not, coming into our place.

    What you have to love is the Brazilian resilience to these things. They go on forever.

  • By the way, if you want to get your guests to just up, just tell them this in English when they comment on Luiza:

    “Old meme is old.”

    If the don’t get it, raise an arch eyebrow and suggest they Google it. Better yet, tell them to look it up on Encyclopedia Dramatica.

    • Regina says:

      Thaddeus, sorry for not commenting early on your analysis, always cool. Busy here.
      It is so interesting to see how this viral thing works. As you pointed out, memes die fast. In the first 24 hours after I posted this, I had over 3000 visitors (at least six times the average) – almost all of them for Luiza. Very few people read the lesbian post (posted that day) or the ayauasca one, published the day before – way more relevant and deep, in my very personal point of view. Now, some four days later, Luiza’s post is getting less than 100 visitors a day.
      Now, the Brazilian cordiality thing…I am not very sure if I buy that. I definitely thing it is more of a small-town/local elite/snobbery thing.
      Have you got my suggestion to transform these comments in a post? I would love that!

      • The comments are already up in post form on our blog, Regina, and you’re more than welcome to report them.

        As for the cordiality bit… Read Sérgio Buarque de Holanda’s analysis of the Brazilian as the “cordial man”. Most people I’ve interacted with on the net were neither offended nor impressed by Luiza’s geographical status: they found it to be the corny sort of detail one would expect to hear from a neighbor or friend. Given that Rabello is neither, they acted accordingly in very Brazilian fashion by mocking him, copying his fals bonhomie.

        The NORPS who came in later and took the meme seriously didn’t get this at all.

  • LUcas says:

    lol! who is that person. I’m a brazilian and canadian, never mind. I’m just interested about it…

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