The idea of “Echar Pa’lante” is presented in UPRM

By: Marcos J. Barreto

On September 20, 2012, the Center of Business and Economic Development of the Business Administration’s faculty, in collaboration with the Marketing Student Organization, invited Banco Popular officials to talk about the history of the social campaign “Echar pa’lante” and the importance of research, motivating future professionals to find productive ways to urge an economic growth.

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Jaime Nazario (right at podium) and Mariel Arraiza (far left) talking about “Echar Pa’Lante” in an auditorium of the Business Administrations Department of the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez. Nazario was setting up the presentation so he and Arraiza could start the chat.

Mariel Arraiza, vice president of marketing and business knowledge at Banco Popular of Puerto Rico, and Jaime Nazario, senior vice-president at Banco Popular, were the primary speakers.

They briefly discussed how Banco Popular started out “Echar Pa’Lante” and how they used publicity as a marketing skill to promote their movement.

What is “Echar Pa’lante”?

    “Echar Pa’ lante” means “to move forward” or progress. It is a movement created and administrated by Banco Popular of Puerto Rico that tries to call out and unite companies, and individuals to show them that the recipe for a successful Puerto Rico is hard work, education, discipline and productivity.

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The “Echar Pa’lante” logo. Its name comes from the frequently used phrase in Puerto Rico that means “to move forward.”

This campaign promotes a serious, honest and nonpolitical debate about the problems that halt Puerto Rico’s economic progress, and gives the public solutions and tools to nourish our personal and collective development.

The Beginning of “Echar Pa’lante”   

     The movement was proposed as a way for Banco Popular to interact with the citizens of Puerto Rico in these times of economic crisis. The company wanted to use music to try to send a message that would motivate Puerto Ricans to reflect on progressing in life. They were struck by the idea of changing the lyrics of El Gran Combo’s classic song “Y no Hago Más Na’ (translates to “and I do nothing else”),” who’s original lyrics were opposite to the message that the company intended to give out. This high valued salsa band refused to do any modifications to their song, so the bank had to think of another way to get its song.

The second option was to write the lyrics and get another band to play it, but the modified lyrics were presented to El Gran Combo and they were enthusiastic about the idea, and accepted to sing the modified version.

The song was aired on most Puerto Rican radio stations and became the most aired song when it first came out to the public in August 2011.

Using Publicity as a Way to Market “Echar Pa’lante”

     This year, Banco Popular used sports, featuring Puerto Rican  Track Athlete Javier Culson to market “Echar Pa’lante,” since the Olympic Games were about to take place.

Since the company considered that Culson had the highest chances of winning a medal in London 2012, they decided to use his race as an advertisement that compares Culson overcoming the obstacles in the race, Puerto Rico can overcome its obstacles that prevent it from growing economically.

How to Achieve Success in the Area of Marketing?

After the Arraiza and Nazario discussed the main topics, they answered audience questions. When asked about the key to success is, they voiced different opinion.

“If you have a functional team that is willing to work, a source of support, and a source of an innovative motivation, there you will find success,” said Arraiza.

Nazario, on the other hand, emphasized passion. “That is all you need to obtain success. You are young, if you have innovative ideas but you bosses are some old geezers that like to keep things done in a certain way, challenge them, because there is where progress sprouts,” he said.

As the inspiring speakers concluded the talk, the Marketing Student Organization honored them with some parting gifts as a token of appreciation.

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