Puerto Ricans are leaving the island in record numbers, and moving to the U.S. mainland. So far, this is a fact that comes up mostly in news reports and political discussions, but airline JetBlue has joined in the conversation, as shown in the video above.
“Very little has been said about all the grandparents and grandkids who have been separated,” the Spanish-language ad says after a brief recap of the issue. Then four tearful families talk about how difficult the separation has been, singing and talking about Puerto Rico as well as about their distant relatives.
The touching ad takes a happy turn at this point, as they announce that they will be flying the stateside families to Puerto Rico to see the older generation still living in Puerto Rico. The ad featured four families living in Orlando with grandparents still in Puerto Rico, and JetBlue reunited the families for a weekend in Puerto Rico.
Jet Blue may be more aware of the problem than most mainland companies, because they have been breaking sales records on one-way tickets out of Puerto Rico.
Jet Blue has a strong history of public service, and there is no reason to think that they were not sincere in their desire to help the families get together. “Helping to strengthen the bonds of affection and connect families is our greatest reward,” El Vocero quoted Giselle Cortes, international director of JetBlue, as saying. JetBlue also provided an educational event with Dr. Conchita Lopez, an expert in family relationships, who shared communication techniques for families divided by distance.
However, this is clearly an ad campaign, with social media support for the video directed toward people of Puerto Rican heritage. JetBlue is the top airline serving Puerto Rico, and viewers of the ad should be inspired to buy a ticket to visit their own grandchildren. The ad, by Puerto Rican agency Lopito, Ileana & Howie, may be just the first big campaign appealing intentionally to the growing diaspora.
JetBlue is a DISGRACE. Why? Because it has effectively TAKEN SIDES in Puerto Rico’s political status debate! How? In two ways. First, by treating this U.S. territory as a “foreign” destination (note that it’s the “international” — not the “domestic” — director of JetBlue who comments on the airline’s Puerto Rico policies). Second, by hiring a perennially pro-colony, anti-statehood ad agency (Lopito, Ileana & Howie) to produce the TV spot. Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood political party ought to be vigorously denouncing JetBlue’s obvious partisan bias, but the chances are that NOTHING will be said or done.