Jean Paul Polo

Jean Paul Polo, Multimedia Director of Discover Puerto Rico

Discover Puerto Rico, our Destination Marketing Organization, was founded by bipartisan law in 2017. The legislators’ goal was to create an independent, non-political organization to develop a consistent global brand for our Island. Building a recognizable global brand in today’s saturated travel marketplace is no easy feat. To stand out, brands need top creative visual content to help tell their story and entice target audiences.

Content on social media not only has the power to inspire but to also shift vacation plans. In fact, 65 percent of travelers are influenced by informative content from brands or destinations, according to Expedia Media Solutions market research. To maintain an active social presence, you need new, on-brand content on a daily basis. Lots of content.

I was hired by Discover Puerto Rico in 2018 and given the ultimate responsibility to lead the team that creates the audiovisual assets that represent Puerto Rico worldwide. My past experience as Producer and Director of Digital Video for National Geographic, the largest social media brand in the world, taught me the following lessons:

1. Hire experts who passionately live and breathe your brand mission.

2. Give them the right tools to succeed.

3. Work with the local community to tell authentic stories.

4. Build scalable production models to help meet changing content demands and act nimbly.

That is exactly what we have done at Discover Puerto Rico. Right from the start, we made the conscious decision to form an in-house content team with incredible local Puerto Rican talent. Three years later, the decision has proven to be one of the organization’s keys to success. Working with some of Puerto Rico’s top photographers and filmmakers, we have amassed more than 14,000 images and 100 terabytes of quality video content, promoting our 78 municipalities. This has translated into hundreds of social videos, original narrative series and some incredible collaborations.

To date, we have produced and co-produced content seen by our target audience worldwide including: “Jimmy Fallon desde Puerto Rico” and Spain’s most watched adventure TV show, “Planeta Calleja.”

Additionally, our high-production content has given us the opportunity to establish distribution deals that places Discover Puerto Rico’s original narrative series “Sounds Like Puerto Rico” in emerging markets like the United Kingdom and Germany, and signing an agreement with PEW Charitable Trusts, creating content to help designate a NOAA Marine Protected Sanctuary on our west coast.

We have won top international awards including a Cannes Lion and received requests from a variety of Puerto Rican artists to use our content in their music videos and TV appearances. All of this has been accomplished by a content team of 100 percent Puerto Ricans.

It is disheartening to hear and see comments made by detractors disparaging our creative work, especially when we have invited them to sit at the table with us to show them our accomplishments and explain all of the above. While they are quick to falsely accuse us of using stock footage, of subpar executions and of not being Puerto Rican, they hesitate to accept our invitation. Their words and tweets have a detrimental effect on not only the work of our organization, but also on the work of the creative industries in Puerto Rico that we employ.

Knowing that visuals are extremely important for a business to succeed, our library of content is provided for free to any of our 78 municipalities or for any tourism business on the Island. Puerto Rico has struggled due to the compounding effect of hurricanes, earthquakes and the pandemic, and Discover Puerto Rico is helping all of us succeed by restarting the economic engine and bringing back the tourism sector even stronger.

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