Identified as one of the “most emblematic pursuits of Puerto Rico’s legislature in this term,” the House presented a bill establishing the island’s permanent branding to be used in all government advertising campaigns for global projection, both in tourism and economic development.
House Bill 4 proposing the “Law for the Development of a Country Brand” was submitted to a vote Tuesday, and was expected to gain approval.
Details of the measure were discussed earlier in the day during the “Marca de País” (“Country Brand”) forum, hosted by House Speaker Jaime Perelló, with participation from members of the executive branch and the private sector. Among other things, the bill establishes the appropriate processes for the adoption of a brand for the island and ensures that its use is “continuous and consistent.”
The effort seeks to put an end to the practice of changing brands and advertising slogans every time there is a change in administration, or responding to somebody’s whim. Over the past decade, the island has been promoted in the U.S. and worldwide with a variety of slogans ranging from “Puerto Rico does it better” to “Explore beyond the shore” to “The Islands of Puerto Rico.”
For the better part of the last two years, the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association lobbied for the establishment of a Destination Management Organization to act as an independent entity in charge of overseeing the island’s marketing campaigns. Gov. Alejandro García-Padilla’s administration quashed those efforts upon taking office in January.
In his introduction of the bill, Perelló explained that the goal is to establish a common platform so that public-private initiatives can be “carried out in an articulated way” to strengthen Puerto Rico’s potential in international investment markets, or in tourism and educational arenas, designating the branding to be used uniformly by everyone to promote the island.
“The bill creates a basic strategy that includes Puerto Rico’s differential values to establish the comparative and competitive advantages to position the island’s services, places and products in the global market,” Perelló said.
“This way, the message must be carried in any name, term, sign, symbol, slogan or design, or combination thereof used to identify the qualities, distinctive services and strengths of a country, so that it can be differentiated from other destinations,” said Perelló during the forum.
The bill was scrutinized during four public hearings conducted by the House Socioeconomic and Planning Committee in recent weeks.
“After the evaluation of the bill, we held hearings participated by different sectors, such as universities, tourism associations, advertising and marketing agencies, government agencies and different economic sectors,” said Rep. Luis Raúl Torres, chairman of the committee that led the efforts. “We were able to evaluate the different testimonies, conducting a democratic process in favor of the people.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Angel Matos-García, chairman of the House Industry Development Committee, said this bill will lead Puerto Rico to successfully promoting comprehensive economic development in various sectors.
“Puerto Rico has been very disadvantaged on a global competitive level. The ‘Law for the Development of a Country Brand’ seeks to avoid the lack of consistency in the strategy, and the lack of a public policy determination focused on comprehensive economic development by creating a memorable brand,” said the lawmaker who is also a professional publicist by trade.