The Festival of Media/LATAM conference was held last week outside of Miami. The conference conferred awards, convened sessions on important industry issues as it does each year. But perhaps the most important event at this year’s confab was an effort to raise awareness about the dire straits the people of Puerto Rico continue to face in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
The conference carved out time for a new initiative called Stand With Puerto Rico, designed to galvanize industry action to help the U.S. territory in its recovery efforts—efforts that will take months if not longer.
During a briefing session at the conference on the new effort, attendees heard from Congressional representatives, several relief groups (including the American Red Cross) and a number of marketer and agency executives from P&G and several Omnicom Media Group agencies on their relief efforts.
The Stand With Puerto Rico effort was orchestrated by Andy Plesser, publisher of BeetTV, who had a residence on the island and has been involved in recovery efforts from an early stage.
The goals of the effort include: Making sure the industry is aware of the immediate and long-term needs of the island; matching media, creative agencies and marketers with NGOs to further boost recovery initiatives; brainstorm creative solutions using technology, social media and traditional media; enlist volunteers to go with relief groups to Puerto Rico, and build partnerships to make the effort ongoing.
There are a number of other agencies and Adland executives contributing greatly to the Puerto Rico recovery effort. DDB Puerto Rico, for example, devised what it has dubbed the Puerto Rico Recovery Index that helps potential donors identify reliable efforts on the island that they might contribute to.
Ad Age had a report last month on efforts by GroupM’s Phil Cowdell who flew to the island shortly after the hurricane hit to help agency employees and their families. He also helped orchestrate client moves among the recovery efforts.
Kudos to all the industry players who are helping Puerto Rico recover from this horrific disaster.