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Understatement of the Day: Cuba Isn’t Dubai

Pretty much the only advertising in modern Cuba

Ad Age today says that some American brands shut out of the Cuban market for more than 60 years should have no problem getting traction once the embargo is lifted.

Familiar names like Coca-Cola, Gillette, Palmolive, Cheerios and Colgate managed to stay front and center in many Cuban consumers’ minds through a combination of pre-revolution nostalgia and family supply runs to Miami. Newer brands like Nike, Juicy Couture and Calvin Klein have gained traction via visiting tourists and exposure to U.S. advertising in the weekly “paquete” of pirated entertainment that reaches the island.

Anyone expecting a gold rush in the immediate aftermath of the opening, however, will be sorely disappointed. “There are 11.2 million people on the island, but this should not be confused with Dubai,” says John Kavulich of the U.S.-Cuba Trade Council in New York. “An extremely limited number of people have access to enough Cuban pesos or American dollars to buy American products.”

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