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Ofelia de Souza Case Study Header placeholder

Ofelia de Souza:
a cinematic tourism campaign

Have you ever found yourself watching a film over and over again, each time discovering new details or unforeseen hidden meanings? When the Porto & North of Portugal Tourism Board (Conventions Bureau) reached out to us to create a new promotional film to target the M&I segment we felt this approach could lead to something unique. Join us in a “behind-the-scenes” of our latest campaign of 2021: “The Majestic Adventures of Ofelia de Souza”.

Do you recognise the immense joy when you suddenly realize a hidden layer of meaning that was, until that precise moment, unbeknownst to your mind? There’s something particularly rewarding in these moments of surprise, where details that went by overlooked suddenly reappear loaded with meaning. Understanding this aspect of the human mind is also paramount to understanding the total amount of hours that a considerable number of Youtubers dedicate to in-depth analysis of film aesthetics, details and storylines. Just enter “MCU analysis” on Youtube’s search and lose yourself in the latest analysis of a Marvel Cinematic Universe trailer. If you feel this inner thrill as you observe layers of meaning unveiling before your eyes, you should probably contact us after this Case Study.

Exploring these non-linear narratives with a detail-oriented approach, where art and cinema merge with advertising is something that fuels our creative drive. After all, we strive for work that is food for thought: that answers to business goals while adding a spark of inspiration to the world.

We’ve seen this approach neatly accomplished in inspiring campaigns from the fragrances and perfumes industry, fashion and even car industry (for example, go check Gucci or Audi). So why not explore it in the Tourism sector?

“To be great, be whole: nothing that’s you should you exaggerate or exclude. In each thing, be all. Give all you are in the least you ever do.”

Ricardo Reis, Portuguese poet

In “The Majestic Adventures of Ofelia de Souza”, we tried to fulfil this Pessonian statement by Ricardo Reis (one of Fernando Pessoa’s heteronyms). We wanted this film to portray the best of Porto & North of Portugal while welcoming the business tourism segment (M&I) in a way where all the region’s unique selling points are embedded in the subtleties of the film’s details. We wanted to take the viewers on a journey to experience the richness of the region, guided by an engaging story and someone empathetic and charismatic.


  • Promotional Film:  creative concept; character design; script; storyboard; pre-production and production; direction; art direction; merchandising design; 
  • Brand Strategy: insights and recommendations for brand activation across digital channels;
  • Digital Campaign: digital advertising strategy; landing page design and development; copywriting and guidelines for social media; content for social media; brand activation through AR filter on Instagram;
  • Campaign Launch Exhibition: exhibition circuit definition, layouts and visuals including photo spot with LED; exhibition layouts and visuals including photo spot with LED lettering; final artworks, assembly and decor;
“The Majestic Adventures of Ofelia de Souza” guide the viewer through the best that Porto and the North of Portugal have to offer to the business tourist, guided by the experienced travel planner and soul epicurist, Ofelia de Souza.

Targetting the BUSINESS TOURISM industry

The world has endured a recent troubled period that disrupted the socio-economic plan; the tourism industry was particularly impacted, but it seems to be in the wake of recovery with frankly positive prospects.

When Porto and the North of Portugal Tourism Board (Porto CVB) reached out to us in late 2020, the brief’s goal was to create a promotional film to target the Meetings & Incentives (M&I) segment to generate awareness of the region’s attractiveness for business tourism. A special emphasis was placed on the concept of “bleisure” [1], which, although being around for more than a decade, has been gaining momentum over the last couple of years. For example, in 2018, an Expedia Group study found that more than 60% of business trips were extended for leisure purposes [2]. 

Our minds started bubbling right away with ideas but translating the briefing into something that felt right took more than expected.


With several years of experience in the tourism and hospitality segment, we have quite familiarised ourselves with the various (and sometimes overtly similar?) approaches to advertising in this industry. Additionally, we knew beforehand that we would probably need to display an extensive list of venues and locations.

So how could we do this without playing safe or mimicking other approaches? If this film was intended to present the best of the North of Portugal, it should do it in a way that reflects its essence, without falling into the trap of being blatantly obvious. So we needed to find a creative concept that would serve Porto CVB’s business purpose, our creative benchmark and make everyone deeply involved in the project. 

Reshaping minds and adventuring in bold new ideas

In hindsight, it is interesting to look back and understand the non-linear process that brought Ofelia to life in the first two months of the project. It started with a totally unrelated concept that was repeatedly turned down by the client. Oh, dear! – for the sake of brevity, let’s just say that it involved a lot of dancing.

Our initial brainstorms with the Marcom team of Porto CVB were met with a lot of openness to ideas and years of experience in the region, removing roadblocks while at the same time highlighting the project’s constraints. We all had one thing in mind: to move away from a final result that would look corporate and seen before with an unending sequence of venues and locations. And the list is quite large, considering the amount of great touristic products the region has to offer!

Instead, we intended to embed all these elements into a captivating narrative, using storytelling to create an appealing visual universe and aesthetics, empathising with the viewer through a central character. This was a cornerstone moment in the film concept development: to put the project’s constraints aside for a while and focus exclusively on who this character should be.


While delving into the development of the main character, we realised that she should be directly presenting the story in order to grab the viewers attention. But who could this person be? We wanted someone with a lot of life experience, who had travelled more than half the world, someone who enjoyed the pleasures of life – and, most importantly, the viewer should feel immediately drawn towards her charisma.

Agreeing on a name and personality happened very naturally when the project’s creative director mentioned the life story of her grandmother, Mrs Ofélia: a bold woman, a teacher, and a traveller who loved (and still does!) to eat, drink and enjoy life. An epicure!

Inspired by the sudden opportunity to pay homage to Mrs Ofélia, a burst of questions took over our minds, ready to be translated into actionable creativity:

  • How would grandmother Ofelia look like in the fillm?
  • What if we used Mrs Ofelia’s voice to share knowledge about the region with the M&I decision-makers?
  • Would it be interesting if Ofelia had an Iris Apfel’s aesthetic, with a bit of Miranda Priestly (from “The Devil Wears Prada” movie) and Madame D. (from “The Grand Budapest Hotel” movie)?
  • What if the visuals of this ad took place in a cinematic world inspired by the Wes Anderson universe?
  • What would be the colours of these scenarios and how would they be decorated?
  • What if the scenarios where this story takes place were, by chance, the venues and locations required by the client?

These triggered us to pinpoint the concept and kick off the storytelling. At a certain point, even we were curious to see where these new story guidelines would take us!

A basic structure for the script was put in place as the character’s personality developed further: the invitation to travel according to her expert advice, sharing the secrets of old buildings and confessing the ambition to step on big stages; indulging in moments of passion and the delight of drinking good wine and eating opulent and plentiful delicacies. And, finally, a closing scene: “pastel de nata” and Port wine, topped off by the punch line “Trust me darling, I know!” – yes, “pastel de nata” (Portuguese custard tart) is a cliché, but one chosen to resonate easily with non-Portuguese audiences.

The script structure came to life, considering from the start a handful of carefully selected locations and venues that best showcase Porto & North of Portugal. It was sprinkled with humour and some movie references – after all, we’re 80s/90s kids that love to add our personal tone to everything we do.

Ofelia’s voice became clearer than ever. She revealed an erudite, epicurean, eclectic and irresistible character, whose language uses pompous and impressive English expressions that add to her charisma.

Now, we just needed to make sure we were fully aligned with the Marcom team of the client. Our Porto & North ambassador is a 70-year-old lady, drawing inspiration from grandmother Ofelia and other iconic personalities while featuring in a scene where she asks a painter to draw her like one of his lovers! What could possibly go wrong?

To be fully honest, despite being quite confident in the concept for this project, there were still lingering doubts on how it would be received. Additionally, the Covid19 pandemic required us to pitch the concept remotely. But as we navigated through the film’s aesthetics with the client, while our CEO used his best falsetto performance to recite Ofelia’s script, we ended that Zoom call with a round of applause! From that moment on, we knew that everyone was on board to make Ofelia happen.

The next stage in the project’s development was the creation of an animatic that could dynamically illustrate each scene’s rhythm, perspectives and scales – an excellent tool to bring everyone on the project, from the internal team to client and partners, aligned on expectations.

a classic diva rocking

The concept for “The Majestic Adventures of Ofelia de Souza” focuses on a strong and magnetic character – Ofelia de Souza (initially Ofélia da Fé, but we changed the name for phonetic reasons – we wanted to ensure that a foreign audience could understand the character’s name correctly). As she breaks the “fourth wall” to capture the viewers’ attention with her striking looks and charismatic, direct speech, she also leads the viewer through a unique travelling experience, providing hints on how to explore the best of this Portuguese region.

But we wanted to make sure that this character could live well beyond the campaign period, so we developed an extensive background for her, including an enriching academic and professional life path related to Anthropology, Philosophy, Journalism and a considerable amount of miles travelling around the world. Her interests and passions complete a biography that supports her peculiar speech and professional role as an expert event-planner advocating Porto and the North of Portugal as the best destination for organising events. Ofelia de Souza has a particular tone of voice that combines wisdom and irony with elegance. She is the personification of the North of Portugal, an ambassador of its people’s strong personality and resilient spirit and a representative of the quality, vanguardism and ambition of the entire region as a business and entrepreneurship hub.

There is also a hidden agenda of ours with Ofelia: we wanted to break stereotypes and, therefore, sought eclectic and bold inspirations to build a persona that intimidates and welcomes at the same time. Ofelia’s advanced age contrasts with her freshness and joviality; she is a fashionista rising above prejudices and taboos.

CINEMA-INSPIRED aesthetic style: Ofelialism

Defining the film aesthetics was a fundamental part of the project development, and we wanted to try to push boundaries here too. “The Majestic Adventures of Ofelia de Souza” shows an intense visual mood characterised by an opulent colour palette that perfectly combines nostalgic and modern, granting Ofelia’s settings with a rock-meets-classic ambience. The film’s visuals coat classic yesterday with bold tomorrow in a dynamic and daring combination embodied in Ofelia de Souza’s persona – we called this unique imagery Ofelialism. This specific imagery lures viewers’ minds into an attainable and sumptuous world turned casual and achievable by Ofelia’s nonchalant gestures and words. Her dazzling wardrobe and flashy hairstyle and accessories change across the film, portraying parallelism with Porto and North’s dynamics and the region’s ability to transmute and evolve without losing its essence. 

Once again, we sought references from our favourite artists. Wes Anderson’s aesthetics inspired the symmetrical rule we can observe in almost every scene – a challenge readily accepted by the Director of Photography, Pedro Matos. But we also paid tribute to other cinematic classics, like the scene “Paint me like one of your Portuguese girls” from James Cameron’s Titanic and the staircase dance that brings Todd Phillips’ Joker vibes to the setting.

Teams involved in the film’s styling & art put in their complete dedication to achieving the desired level of detail. As a personification of Porto and North, Ofelia had to showcase the region’s products interestingly and differently. Therefore, several regional stylists and suppliers provided many of the items we see in the sets and the same with Ofelia’s outfits and accessories. As a result of such detail-oriented direction by stylists Vera Deus and Jordann, viewers’ attention gets caught in every scene, and people are tempted to repeatedly rewind the film to discover yet another detail.

Ofelia’s charisma resides significantly in her style – her outfits and accessories strike the eye boldly and reinforce the character’s magnetism. The fact that she presents several different looks throughout the film showcases Porto and North’s dynamic fashion industry and its creative potential. Ofelia’s hairstyle brings drama to the character.

It’s her brand look that merges the classic style with rock vibes making a strong personality statement. It almost feels like her hair is a character by itself, transporting the magic pen with which Ofelia signs her papers. It even resembles the characteristic “O” in her name! The hairstyling was an incredible piece of art by the hairstylist Zé Carlos Taipa. Ofelia’s make-up by Tinoca (@tinocamakeup) is elegant and adequate to her age yet with a hint of irreverence. It all combines to achieve a coherent and balanced look.

Ofelia de Souza is an aged lady with a charismatic personality that led a full life of travelling to different places and meeting other cultures and people. We wanted to portray all of that in the film and used “easter eggs” to do so. Several objects were chosen by Joaquim Szktutnik and Raquel Gouveia, from Snowberry, to be “hidden in plain sight” as references to Ofelia’s biography, such as the monkeys and hippos as a remembrance of her safaris, her slippers say “Boss not bossy”, the yellow telephone evokes her first job at a post office, and many other small (or big!) details we fitted into some scenes.

Filming experience in Porto and North of PortugaL

Producing, directing, and editing “The Majestic Adventures of Ofelia de Souza” proved to be an exciting and challenging task whose success relies on important partners we brought to the project, namely New Light Pictures, Snowberry and Vera Deus.

Ofelia actress Kimberley Pearl behind the scenes of the film shoot by KOBU Creative Agency
Actress Kimberly Pearl on set

After designing the character, writing the script, and defining the imagery, the teams had to pull all the stops to match the concept and achieve the desired result.

Casting the perfect actress was a priority as it was crucial to find someone who could grasp Ofelia’s distinctive personality and her particular savoir-être. Luckily Kimberley Pearl had precisely what it took to embody such a memorable persona.

The rhythm became even more frantic from then on. Location scouting took place in Porto, Gaia and Braga under a structured plan and predetermined time range. From then on, all the necessary arrangements for filming had to be put in place: contacts to access venues and hotels, authorisations to record in public sites, schedules coordination, selecting decorative items, specific pieces of jewellery and clothes, and, of course, solving some hiccups.

Thanks to impeccable preparatory work and perfect coordination between teams, shooting days went according to plan. 

Despite the long process – the full project took nearly 6 months to put together, when we started editing and post-production we were quite optimistic about the end result and how faithful it would be to the initial sketch. We even decided to add the Joker-inspired staircase scene during the scouting stage, which we shot in World of Wine in Gaia. The same happened with the shopping fever moment we captured in the elevator scene. That hotel elevator made us fall in love and it fitted perfectly fit the film aesthetics!

Ofelia de Souza model pose for commercial film shoot by KOBU Creative Agency

LauncH event and exhibition

In October 2021 it was time to present our newborn to the world! The launch event happened in Porto, and specialised national and international M&I media, as well as some associates of Porto CVB, were invited to attend. The event was also live-streamed on the web.

We carefully designed and implemented an exhibition to complement the campaign’s launch, showcasing the project stages from its inception to post-production; the event was hosted by Porto Tourism Board President in an amazing venue – Furnas da Alfândega do Porto. The proper lighting set the ambience, and the purple carpet outlined the way through the exhibition, where we shared the adventures of developing such a project. An Ofeliam photo spot where we could read in purple neon lights, “Trust me, darling, I know!” worked as a prompt to share the Instagram AR filter where the user got Ofelialized with her fantastic hairstyle, glasses and lips!

The launching event and exhibition was an emotional moment for us because it was the project’s culmination, and it marked the climax of several months of utter dedication.


KOBU’s involvement in this project was extensive as the strategic implementation of the campaign was carefully designed together with the Marcom team of Porto & North of Portugal Tourism Board. That allowed us to immediately move forward from the instant the film was launched and use each and every aspect of it to leverage the promotional objectives through the selected channels.

The initial campaign results couldn’t be more promising: during the first month of the campaign, the film gained more than 3.5M impressions across channels around the world.

Awards and Recognition

“So many brilliant places in this short video alone!”
is one of the many positive reviews the film got since the campaign launched.

Besides the many media mentions, the reception to “The Majestic Adventures of Ofelia de Souza” has been incredible and, we must admit, heartwarming. It is great to see the audience engage with Ofelia and recognize the effort that was put into bringing her to life.

In March 2022, “The Majestic Adventures of Ofelia de Souza” was recognized at Japan’s World Tourism Film Festival with

  1. International Grand Prix
  2. First Place in Tourism Products (Mice)

In December 2021, the film was awarded at the Vegas Movie Awards with:

  1. Excellence Award for Best Advertising Film
  2. Prestige Award for Best Costume Design
  3. Best First-Time Director
  4. Best First-Time Producer
  5. Best First-Time Screenwriter

Other awards:

Creating “The Majestic Adventures of Ofelia de Souza” was a long and arduous process, but the end result couldn’t have made us more proud.

In the words of Sofia Castro Lopes (Director of Marketing Management at Porto & North of Portugal Tourism Board – Convention & Visitors Bureau): “Ofélia, or shall I say, Kimberley Peal and the video she starred for Turismo do Porto e Norte should be seen as a success story. It results from a well-planned and targeted marketing strategy paired with excellent teamwork and communication between client and agency. It is a true example of pushing boundaries on originality, on an iterative rethinking process leading to our initial goal: to exceed the expectations of our buyers and potential buyers in the M&I segment and even our own, as clients; we weren’t looking for a traditional destination film. We wanted to create a character and storytelling that could last as an identifying element of Porto and North for its creative and, at the same time, captivating side. The first time we saw the final script, it was clear that this would be the way forward. I congratulate KOBU and all partner teams for their coordination skills and commitment to this project. Without them, we would not have been able to complete this challenge. Congratulations to KOBU for their resilience and incredible ability to creatively reinvent themselves by delivering us Ofelia de Souza. Such joy!

This promotional film is an alternative approach to business tourism advertising that reveals how we can combine work and leisure to tackle the industry with an upscaled and irreverent approach. The final result is a film that displays a complete and enriching experience that simultaneously alludes to an aspirational lifestyle while depicting the region’s most valuable assets for the M&I industry. And all this through the voice and looks of a brilliant ambassador.

Ofelia de Souza ends the film daring the viewer:

Now that you know what I know, and now that we both know, where your next business trip will be, bear in mind two more things: Port wine is not a shot, and don’t forget to add cinnamon to your “Pastel de Nata”.

Ofelia de Souza

And as we reach the end, immersed in nearly four minutes of Ofelia’s hints and her visual universe, it’s easy to miss that not even once has the name of the region she’s promoting been explicitly mentioned.

After all, most beauty (and mystery) lies in the unspoken.


Let’s close with some backstage


By KOBU Agency
Production Company: KOBU Photon
Filmmakers Production: New Light Pictures
Concept & Director: Sandra Lopes
Producer & Art Director: Mónica Loureiro
Executive Producer: Nuno Tenazinha
Written by: Sandra Lopes, Isabel Evaristo, Mónica Loureiro
Director of Photography: Pedro Matos
Editor: Patrício Faísca
Ofelia de Souza: Kimberley Pearl
Ofeliette: Diana Silva
Ofelier #1: Paulo Oliveira da Silva
Ofelier #2: Francisco Rodrigues
Painter: Dario Sá Nogueira
Film Production Partners: Glitterati, Snowberry
1st AC / Follow Focus: Patrício Faísca
Drone Op: Ricardo Flôxo
Sound Director: André Ferreira
Director Assistant: Pedro Santos
Graphic Design & Illustration: Beatriz Varela, Brígida Guerreiro, Pedro Santos, Sónia Duarte
Colorist: Patrício Faísca
Sound Master: André Espada
Wardrobe Stylist: Vera Deus
Wardrobe Assistant: Jordann Santos
Hairstylist: Zé Carlos Taipa
Make-up Artist: Tinoca
Make-up Assistant: Cidália Faria
Set Designer: Joaquim Szkutnik da Rocha for SNOWBERRY
Set Designer Assistant: Raquel Gouveia for SNOWBERRY
Music: The 5th Season by Nono, The Peaceful king by Francesco D’Andrea, Still Life by ANBR, French Waltz by Ilya Truhanov, Roads Signs by Nicolas Major

Special Thanks
Styling: Decenio, Diogo Miranda, Elements, Gonçalo Peixoto, House of Filigree, JJ Heitor, Lion of Porches, Luis Onofre, Meam, Nuno Miguel Ramos, THE design, VAVA eyewear
Art: Aqueduto Eventos, Bairro Arte, Bloom Flores, Catering do Palácio Freixo, Centro Ciência Viva Vila do Conde, Olga Noronha, Palace Catering, Remate Protagonista