SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—What happened in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in September of 2017—with broadcast and cable television lacking a power grid—can be considered a “test market,” according to Andres Claudio. Among other changes over the past year, media agency Hearts & Science Puerto Rico now does more “real-time” media planning as people continue to migrate from cable TV to digital media.

These and other impacts on the media community in Puerto Rico will be the topics of discussion during a special session at Beet Retreat 2018 from Nov. 28-30. Claudio, who is General Manager of Hearts & Science on the island, will be joined by other industry practitioners to share their on-the-ground experiences before and after Hurricane Maria.

In this video interview with Beet.TV conducted on the island, Claudio says his agency is using more radio and outdoor, in addition to being more creative in the way it buys TV. “We are emphasizing the importance of digital and social media as well, because people are connected now and they are using more of those vehicles to be able to understand what’s going around,” Claudio says. “Brands are maximizing that opportunity in creative ways to find all their options on how to become relevant within those communities.”

A big change for Hearts & Science is the realization that it had to become more flexible in the way it does planning. “It’s more real-time planning based on the situation. We are maximizing the resources the best way we can by looking at day-to-day involvement of the community.”

As counselors to its clients, the agency “now are more on board with their businesses as well. We take into consideration what’s going on and we decide what to do next in a better way,” Claudio says.

He considers Puerto Rico to be a test market “because everything happened very quickly. After that situation, I guess we learned that it’s important to be prepared, to have plans and be ready to move on in cases of a disaster and how you maintain your brands and messages across the market without loosing your leadership and your strategies.”

When the full extent of the impact of Hurricane Maria became clear, it galvanized the media community to get involved so as to move forward as an industry. “And that’s all we did. We got together, we helped each other.”

Consumers on the island “are now more connected than ever,” presenting advertisers with “great opportunities on TV, streaming video as well. Many people are moving from cable TV and traditional TV to other devices for content. We have been finding ways to connect with those different communities now with different opportunities,” Claudio says.

Joining Claudio for the Beet Retreat 2018 special session titled Lessons Learned: Hurricane Maria’s Impact on the Media Industry of Puerto Rico, will be Jose Cancela, President and GM, Telemundo Puerto Rico & NBC Puerto Rico; Melissa Burgos, Marketing Director USVI/Puerto Rico, AT&T Mobility; and Freddie Hernandez, General Manager, Procter & Gamble Puerto Rico. The session will be moderated by Phil Cowdell, President of Client Services at GroupM, who has been deeply involved with Puerto Rico relief and recovery.

The session will conclude with a briefing by Olga Ramos, President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico. She will present data on the impact of the storm on the island’s youth and her organizations’ efforts to improve their future.