18 Jul 2018 - Ouro Branco, Brazil - Gerdau Ouro Branco steel plant. © Bernal Revert/ BR&U

Winner of the Excellence in Communications Steelie Award 2023

Gerdau, Brazil’s largest steel producer, has one of the production models with the lowest environmental impacts in the world, with 70% of its steel production being recycled.

However, the reputation of Brazil’s steel industry has often been negatively affected by incidents involving tailing dams. Additionally, the industry has struggled to appeal to new generations as an attractive and modern career choice.

To dissociate itself from this image and reinforce its reputation as a sustainable, modern, and inclusive company, while promoting steel as a key material in society, Gerdau implemented a robust 360° communication plan, which included a unique partnership for a B2B company, while also aiming to connect directly with the general public.

Gerdau supplied steel, a 100% recyclable material, to build the World Stage at Rock in Rio Brazil 2022, the world’s largest music and entertainment festival, which hosted over 700,000 people and was broadcast in Brazil by major television and internet networks.

The stage, standing at 30 meters high and 104 meters wide, utilised 200,000 tonnes of steel and featured performances by 28 renowned artists, including Coldplay and Guns N’ Roses.

It was the largest stage ever built since the event was first launched in 1985, and it is designed for infinite reusability.

To announce this partnership, Gerdau adopted an innovative press conference model and maintained massive media mobilisation and digital actions for over five months. Gerdau invited Brazilian superstar Ivete Sangalo, the vocal artist who has the record for most
performances on the World Stage, to serve as the sustainability ambassador for Gerdau.

Leveraging her visibility among her 25 million followers on social networks, this highlighted Gerdau’s low-carbon steel production model.

The strategy of associating Gerdau steel with Rock in Rio, an event with over 140 million spectators, solidified Gerdau’s position as an industry leader while humanising and decommodisising the company’s and steel’s image.

Gerdau became one of the ten sponsors of the festival with the most unprompted mentions in the media, and the company had two spokespersons among the top five with the most appearances in major media outlets, ahead of brands like Coca-Cola and Heineken.