Banco Popular De Puerto Rico Case study THE RACE OF A COUNTRY by J. Walter Thompson San Juan

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Industry Banking & Financial Services
Media Case study
Market Puerto Rico
Agency J. Walter Thompson San Juan
Associate Creative Director Johanna Santiago, Fábio Seidl
Art Director Andrés Justo
Copywriter Pablo Torres
Producer Noro Sebastian
Released May 2013


Cannes Lions 2013
Promo and Activation Lions Product & Service; Financial Products & Services Bronze

Credits & Description

Type of entry: Product & Service
Category: Financial Products & Servcies
Product/Service: BANK

VP Marketing Strategy: Antonio Duarte-Pino (Banco Popular De Puerto Rico)
Developer: Álvaro Susena (MDI Interactive)
Digital Account Executive: Karla Márquez (JWT San Juan)
Account Executive: Karla Colón (JWT San Juan)
Account Executive: Coraly Sánchez (JWT San Juan)
Digital Account Director: Auribel Chaar (JWT San Juan)
Direct Marketing Director: Erika Van O'ordt (JWT San Juan)
VP Regional Planning Director: Luis Pedro Toledo (JWT San Juan)
VP Account Director: Juan Martínez-Paz (JWT San Juan)
Video Editor: Mizael Morales (JWT San Juan)
Sound Engineer: Carlos Dávila (JWT San Juan)
Producer: Noro Sebastián (JWT San Juan)
Interactive Art Director: Daniel Vicente (JWT San Juan)
Interactive Art Director: Juan Carlos Montes (JWT San Juan)
Art Director: Andrés Justo (JWT San Juan)
Copywriter: Pablo Torres (JWT San Juan)
Interactive Creative Director: Manuel Torres (JWT San Juan)
Associate Creative Director: Lizette Morazzani (JWT San Juan)
Associate Creative Director: Johanna Santiago (JWT San Juan)
VP Regional Creative Director: Jaime Rosado (JWT San Juan)

Describe the brief from the client
Banco Popular is the largest bank in Puerto Rico, an island going through a 7-year economic slump. In order to succeed as a business, Popular needs to help Puerto Ricans spark a recovery.

2012 was an Olympic year. So the bank sponsored Puerto Rican athlete Javier Culson, who was chosen not because of his ability, but because of his event: the 400 meters with hurdles.

By making the country see the hurdles Culson jumps as the obstacles the country needs to overcome, Popular invited Puerto Rico to run with Culson, giving his race a completely different meaning.

Promotion Development

As part of an integrated campaign to redefine the race, Popular turned the entire island into a track by placing 10 giant hurdles in different locations. Each one symbolized an obstacle the country needed to overcome in order to progress: pessimism, conformity, indifference, ignorance, laziness, violence, egoism, dependence, dishonesty, and obstinacy.

People could circle the island while checking-in at each of ten hurdles for the chance to win a trip to the London Olympics and watch every race at Olympic Stadium. Every check-in at a hurdle was shared as an obstacle that had been overcome.


Thousands checked-in and shared obstacles from hurdle locations all around the island.
The promotion’s imagery of an island-wide racetrack set the tone for an integrated campaign that redefined the race beyond the sport and in terms of the country.

The audience captured by the promotion was kept through the campaign’s climactic moments, including Olympic award ceremony, when the CEO of Popular, who is synonymous with the brand in Puerto Rico, awarded the medal on live TV.

Even while the final result was bronze, 4 million Puerto Ricans looked beyond the sport and viewed the outcome as a triumph.

Relevancy to Product/Service

Puerto Rico is right in the middle of a deepening economic crisis. As the largest bank in Puerto Rico, Popular needs to do whatever it can to help spark a recovery.

The 2012 Olympic Games and hurdler Javier Culson provided a unique opportunity to inspire Puerto Ricans to get up, run, and leave behind obstacles that hinder progress.

By redefining Culson’s race, the bank also kept alive a movement it had sparked in 2011 by remaking and changing the message of a very popular Puerto Rican song.