It is Black History Month, and every day this month, The Message will be sharing Gavin Barrett’s short profiles of Black professionals from across the industry—marketing, advertising, PR, media and production. Barrett writes the profiles as a way to “fight invisibility,” an exercise in representation for an industry where representation must get better.
Say olá to Márcio Da Silva, founder and creative director at Beach Chair Marketing. As a kid, Márcio was drawn to newspaper, radio and TV, and would challenge himself to improve them. Soon enough, he realized he wanted to make a living telling stories that showcased products and services.
Márcio loves creating content that elevates a brand, connects and adds value by shaping perceptions or by teaching audiences something they didn’t know. Five years in, he points out that channels and disciplines are evolving rapidly, so expecting everyone to be a perfect fit in terms of experience is unrealistic.
He doesn’t have a side hustle, he says, because “I want to be the best at what I do, that’s my side hustle, passion project and hobby 24/7/365.” That dovetails neatly with his personal motto: Always be the hardest working person in the room. Márcio believes in being a great listener and being kind at all times. “I want to be the person a younger me yearned for,” he says.
Márcio has found it extremely hard to break into the industry. ”To be honest a part of me feels like I am still not fully ‘in the industry’,” he says. He wants to see more equal opportunities for people of colour, from entry-level to senior positions. Only acceptance allows people to be themselves regardless of background, accent or culture, he says before using a Mad Men reference to make his point. “Every Dawn Chambers should be accepted for her talent and not feel like she won’t be accepted for who she really is,” he says, and adds: “There’s no room for real-life Don Drapers.”
Márcio admires BPTN founder Lekan Olawoye because he is a catalyst for the rise of Black talent in tech. “I see him as a visionary, ready and willing to break barriers, never taking no for an answer, doing the best with what he has,” Márcio says.
Márcio uses any discrimination he faces as fuel to rise above stereotypes and to prove that another person’s bias will never define him or his abilities. These moments remind Márcio that racism is very much still present in our society, and sometimes even in those we least expect it from. He wants his team to be inspired by great ideas, without being biased by who authored them and he’s stepping up for those behind him.
His advice for young Black talent? “Be brave, be resilient, believe in yourself and be yourself. Never let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.”
Beach Chair produces nearly 100 graphics a month, for small businesses ranging from Mnandi meat-pies to Macedonian movie promoters. Along with the examples and results he sent in, Márcio shares a story. While working on a client’s LinkedIn page recently, he recommended a brand-building focus. “We made very few promotional posts, and put a lot of thought into each topic,” he says. It worked. The page grew by more than 400 followers with just organic content.