Campaign details

Advertiser: Discover Puerto Rico
Brand: Discover Puerto Rico
Agency: Ketchum
Country: United States

Campaign Summary

In September 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico just days after Hurricane Irma struck the Island. It was a pivotal moment in Puerto Rico's history, a disaster that millions watched unfold in the media. The world saw an island with no electricity, a broken infrastructure, and a mounting death toll. To prospective tourists, the island appeared all but decimated. The destructive images redefined the once inviting, beautiful island and its people.

Our agency was brought on to guide Puerto Rico from its worst disaster to one of the fastest recoveries in tourism history, engineering a comeback story for the ages. Strategically targeting socially conscious travelers, we convinced them that one of the best ways to help Puerto Rico recover economically was to visit – to travel with purpose. "Meaningful travel" became our motivating message to rekindle tourism and wage an effective "Come Back to Comeback" campaign. We debunked myths about the Island's condition, aggressively promoted tourism, and validated the destination with third party accolades.

By December 2017, Puerto Rico was open for tourism. By the six-month mark post Hurricane Maria, tourism had come roaring back. But now Puerto Rico had to prepare for another hit. We knew that news outlets and their social media feeds use calendar milestones to revisit disasters, recycle negative images and bring political issues back to the forefront. Rather than celebrate the progress of the tourism industry, one-year anniversary coverage of Hurricane Maria could hinder the tourism industry's hard-earned efforts over the past 12 months.

In partnership with Discover Puerto Rico, a non-profit established by the Puerto Rican government to market Puerto Rico as a destination, we needed to create a story of progress and hope that would steer positive media coverage of Hurricane Maria one year later. It needed to show the improvements the proud island was making, and fuel tourism ahead. And, we had to succeed in the eye of Hurricane Florence barreling toward the United States. To head off the widely anticipated barrage of negative media coverage expected around the first anniversary of the hurricane, we rallied media and audiences everywhere to instead #CoverTheProgress, and spotlight the tremendous recovery of Puerto Rico and its resilient people who now welcomed visitors back.

Marketing Context