As Argentina struggles, TV ad producers flock to Chile

Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:14pm EDT
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By Gram Slattery

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - When the creators of an elaborate 2013 Cadillac commercial began to scout for shooting locations three years ago, they began in Argentina, where varied landscapes and creative talent had long attracted ad producers.

But when it came time to import the equipment needed for the three-minute spot, they collided head-on with the country's byzantine import regulations. Argentina demanded hefty deposits on all vehicles, cameras, and lights, and producers were unsure when - or even if - their imports would make it through customs.

The solution? Move to Chile.

"Now, we're not filming many projects in Argentina. Many of our clients don't want to go back there," said Cristobal Sotomayor, a partner for Buenos Aires-based Goodgate Films, which produced the spot.

According to producers and executives, Sotomayor's experience is far from unique.

Repelled by onerous tariffs, economic malaise and unorthodox policymaking, advertising producers are souring on Argentina, where protectionist policies have expanded significantly in recent years.

Observers say even creative industries that have long been a point of pride in a country known for tango and theater are not immune.

The shift is also a vote of confidence for neighboring Chile, where producers can import merchandise quickly without tariffs, and where the government is widely considered predictable.   Continued...

A cameraman works with a digital film camera during a shoot in Santiago, Chile, August 25, 2015.  REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado