A look at the status and identity challenges that Puerto Rico faces.
A couple of weeks ago, a decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences reignited a discussion on a sensitive matter: Puerto Rico's identity.
The Oscars rejected the Puerto Rican film "América," not allowing it to compete in the Foreign Language Film category. The decision was based on Puerto Rico being a U.S. territory, therefore ineligible. Interesting to note is that the category refers to the foreign language film, not foreign country.
This is just another example of the status and identity challenges that Puerto Rico faces.
An Island of Dichotomies
There's plenty of discussion around Puerto Rico's (political) status. So I won't focus on that aspect. At the end of the day, this is a marketing column.
Puerto Rico is a commonwealth and also an unincorporated territory of the U.S. Full of dichotomies; it represents a challenge for marketers as well:
The American Influx
There are more Puerto Ricans living in Florida than in San Juan. Population mobility goes both ways (from Puerto Rico to the U.S. and vice versa). Puerto Ricans stay in touch with their homes (travel for holidays, money remittance, etc).
Economy and business in Puerto Rico are mostly influenced by the U.S. (actually, it has the same currency - the American dollar).
If you get to see the retail landscape, you will find most of the most important American icons: Kmart, Macy's, Gap, Walgreens, etc.
Though Puerto Rico's average income is lower, materialism is at the same level as America. For many retailers, some of their Puerto Rican stores are within their top performing overall U.S. stores.
Puerto Rico is a clear bicultural market, influencing and being influenced by the U.S.
Opportunities for Marketers
When working with clients, I'm surprised that many U.S. companies don't always include Puerto Rico as part of their U.S. Hispanic efforts. I encourage companies to do so, taking into consideration the following implications:
Puerto Rico represents a great opportunity for marketers:
Will Puerto Rico become the 51st star of the American flag one day? No one knows. What's for sure is that Puerto Rico deserves the recognition as a star of Latino marketing.
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Gustavo Razzetti is EVP, Managing Director of Lapiz, the Latino shop of Leo Burnett. He has 20+ years of experience in integrated marketing communications in U.S. and Latin American markets.
A change agent, with the expertise of transforming agencies into digital at the core shops, Razzetti has become one of the leading voices when it comes to understanding the new market dynamics of US Latinos.
Former Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer at Grupo Gallegos, president of GlobalHue NY and CEO of Euro RSCG Latino. Razzetti's career is marked by extensive experience working with top consumer brands such as Comcast, Walgreens, Verizon, NestlÃ©, Chivas Regal, General Motors, Coca-Cola, and BBVA, and 200 others. He also served as CEO of Euro RSCG both in Puerto Rico and in Argentina. Prior to that, Gustavo was CEO and founding partner of WhyNet - the no. 1 interactive agency in Argentina.
Strategist by conviction, digital pioneer by choice, leader by evolution; Razzetti has received recognitions that include Effie awards, Gran Prix AMBA, Euro RSCG's CBI Award, and Strategic Planning Director of the Year, McCann Erickson. Many of the campaigns he strategically led won Cannes, Clio, New York Festival, London, and FIAP awards, among others.
On a personal note, Gustavo loves scuba diving, bicycling, gourmet cooking, and fine wines.
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