Advertising in Post-Hurricane Puerto Rico

On September 20, 2017, a devastating category 4 hurricane struck our beautiful island. The following morning we woke up full of uncertainty and disbelief, with no electric power or any means of communication.

The business of advertising involves every type of communication, from the most basic, elementary forms to the more sophisticated productions. The duty to communicate on behalf of businesses is what drives us to figure out innovative ways of recreating age-old concepts, time and time again. The communication challenges we faced three months ago could have been as destructive to our industry as the hurricane itself.

However, it is in the toughest times that we can truly see what people are capable of. The case of our agency was an extraordinary one. Our generous clients from Univision Enterprises extended an invitation for us to join them in Florida while communications were reestablished in the Island. Three of our full-time employees agreed to being temporarily transferred to the city of Doral in order to resume creative and online operations. The rest of our team worked hard from San Juan (thank you Axis Studios for providing us with such a convenient temporary workspace) to support local clients, keep in touch with suppliers, and maintain active efforts and running. Processes during these few months were slow and difficult, and we certainly had our work cut out for us.

It was quite a shock to really take in just how much we take technology for granted, when we as a digital industry depend on it for essentially everything we do. Everything, that is, except for creativity, which we have always known to be our strongest value proposition as an agency.

We quickly realized that, for large agencies that function as intermediaries, business was abruptly halted. The fact that the power grid was on the floor and telecommunications were choppy had literally cut every single link of their production chain. But agencies who offer creativity as their fundamental product were not hurt so deeply by the lack of technology. And as a creative agency with a smaller operation, we were fortunate enough to have the agility and flexibility to accommodate and really tap into our resources within a difficult scenario.

Hurricane MarĂ­a brought a new reality to our Island, and along with it, some interesting insights on potential opportunities. As we reflect on a year full of learning experiences, we are excited to see what lies ahead. We wish you a new year full of optimism, innovation, and endless growth.