There is a music and dance show production company in Havana that has made it to the top of the list for a wide range of the city’s young people. It is P.M.M (which stands for Por un mundo mejor, or “For a Better World”), a project whose initial purpose — according to its creator, Héctor Díaz Yáñez — was to throw parties.
With this very attractive goal, and by overcoming different obstacles that cropped up along the way, P.M.M has demonstrated that its slogan, “The ones who move Havana,” is now a maxim that probably few question.
In line with the most vanguard tendencies of the contemporary performing arts, the company has attracted the public with shows that combine live performances by dancers, musicians, models, circus artists and DJs with audiovisual screenings using the latest technology available in Cuba: lasers, screens (of different sizes and types), pyrotechnics, special effects and light shows.
A conversation with Hectico DJ, as P.M.M’s director is known to his fans, was very revealing.
How and when did the P.M.M project develop?
I was a DJ. I used to do the famous “Morro Parties,” which were also known as House Parties, and which became so popular in Havana that a lot of people wondered how a DJ could attract so many people. That was when it was proposed to me that I should involve other artists in my shows.
It seemed like a crazy idea at the time, but over the years I’ve realized that it was how the idea of creating P.M.M came about. I looked for dancers and circus artists, and we were able to attract a much bigger public. That’s when the idea occurred to me that it was time to merge and create a company.
At that time (2005), the phrase “For a better world” was very popular, and I thought it would be a good name for our company. Of course, it was too long to be catchy, so we decided to call ourselves P.M.M.
In 2006, we became affiliated with ESCENARTE, the marketing agency for the National Council of the Performing Arts (CNAE). Subsequently, by decision of the council as part of a reorganization of its marketing activity, we became part of ACTUAR, a talent agency for the performing arts.
I found it amazing that a brand should become so popular all by itself. I remember that during those years, P.M.M put together a publicity campaign, unprecedented in our country, which placed you in the public arena. Many people who were unaware of P.M.M now know you exist.
At first I didn’t think much about it, but a number of friends told me I should conduct a promotion campaign. We have marketed the brand so much that it could be said that P.M.M has become what it is thanks to that publicity campaign, which we carried out along with our shows and the development of the company itself. Of course, the key to success was not in the campaign; we were very clear from the start that the most important thing was to ensure that the brand was backed by a guarantee of quality.
We used messages, fliers and stickers, etcetera. It’s been a hard and complicated task, because this is a road that still hasn’t been developed in Cuba; for example, promotional surveys are one of our pending projects.
Recently we launched the “P.M.M Passport,” which is exactly like a travel passport. It uses “visa pages,” which are stamped when a customer enters a show, and which allows the customer to enjoy the show for free. The passport is not sold; it is acquired by attending our presentations a certain number of times, but it ends up being a marketing tool, because a lot of people want to get one of these passports and they go to more and more parties to do so.
P.M.M holds shows almost daily. Your work with artists from different genres, bringing together some of the top dance music stars, has resulted in record audiences and cover charges at nightclubs in the Cuban capital. How is the company structured to attain these results?
At first it was just a dancer, an emcee and me. But now we are a gang of 109. We organize by team: one for technicians (set builders, lighting and sound technicians) who ensure the activites, and various groups of dancers, models, circus artists, emcees and DJs.
P.M.M. does not just do parties at nightclubs. We also organize shows in public plazas and parks, and we support the activities of different institutions. For example, we recently used our screens to support live broadcasts of the National Baseball Series, which is definitely one of the most anticipated and beloved parties on the island.
To ensure that what happens onstage every night at our shows is attractive, we are extremely careful with the pacing and we pay special attention to how the script is planned, by using solid, systematic table work that helps us see ourselves as a single whole, well-balanced and in harmonious equilibrium. These aspects may have been our secret key to success.
Our hallmark is to make parties happen for people in any group — big or small, more or less commercial. P.M.M’s tagline is “Party and Happiness.” That’s what we work for.