Death spiral down the economic toilet

We interrupt our ongoing coverage of Internet Marketing in Puerto Rico to present you with this brief message from our sponsors. Well not really, we wish (hint, hint) but we are going to examine how doing the same things that got us into this mess, will fail to get us out of it. I'll illustrate this by examining the new Banco Popular campaign "Junto Se Puede." First off, let me share my admiration for BPPR wanting to unite us, for together we shall overcome, unfortunately it just won't be done by feel good jingoistic commercials.

According to recent news coverage, BPPR announced that they were spending $1 Million on the new "Se Puede" campaign. In my opinion, spending that kind of money for commercials that aim to make us feel "united" is a waste of money. Just like their last ad campaign, the new commercials contain iconic images which demonstrate why we should feel "united". My question is, "Other than lining the pockets of the agency responsible for the ad campaign, how is this going to grow our economy?"

Most folks in public relations and marketing would state that these quasi-public service announcements are plain old good business. The justification for funding such, usually large, campaigns involves creating good will and promoting a positive brand image. Who can blame them, at $2.25 a share, the board of directors of BPPR would probably consider offering free oral sex to any stock holder if they thought it would rebound the stock price.

The problem with this effort, is that it will not directly contribute anything that can, how did David Chafey put it, oh yeah "...get [us] back on our feet...]. It should be obvious to everyone at this point, that we can not advertise our way out of Puerto Rico's economic recession. That my friends, is trying to use an old strategy on an old problem. We need new solutions, new strategies.

If I would have been given the green light to spend $1 million dollars, I would have dedicated the money towards the research and development of new products and new businesses. However, unlike the failed "Llave de tu negocio" program, I would only fund R&D for products and businesses aimed at a global market. The only way for us to get back on our feet is to create products, that create new small businesses, that grow into big businesses.

Believe me, I know, first hand, the challenges involved in pursuing this goal, but it really is the only thing that will work. In the end, if we don't eliminate the obstacles for startups and begin to create new wealth, we will be stuck in an endless pattern of repeating the same mistakes that got us into this mess.

As it stands, it looks like we're destined to do more of the same as our economy slowly spirals down the toilet. Just last weekend, Coors of Puerto Rico announced a new $500,000 campaign to promote recycling. Our society continues to crash around us and we throw up more feel good advertisements. Unemployment is still on the rise, crime is on the rise, the underground economy is on the rise, while the arts are being slashed everywhere (in both public and private sectors). Why couldn't Coors have taken that money and funded 50 startups aimed at producing products from recycled materials?

Flickr Creative Commons Contributor: Lynda W1