Cuban Signs, Branding and Marketing

Truck with plain, brand-less bags of water crackers in Pinar del Rio

Truck with plain, brand-less bags of water crackers in Pinar del Río

Post-Revolution, Cuba has been run as a totalitarian state with the government controlling all production and distribution. With no competition, such a system has little place for advertising or branding. In addition, Cuba’s mass media is all state-owned and commercial-free.  Indeed, Cuba’s marketing expertise lies in propaganda. Interestingly, propaganda in Spanish translates as advertising.

Only recently have Cubans had self-employment options, planting tiny capitalistic seeds and increasing branding and advertising’s importance. Now many Cubans run their own restaurants, guest-houses, transport and other businesses. Below are selected advertisements, signs and brands from Rocío and my visit.

Jase Photoservices sign, Havana

Jase Photoservices sign, Havana

Cafetería Mahy Café, Baracoa

Cafetería Mahy Café sign and cake display, Baracoa

Poster for the 38th Festival of New Latin American Cinema on Havana theatre window; hoy means today

Poster for the 38th Festival of New Latin American Cinema on Havana theatre window; hoy means today

Havana roast chicken restaurant, Es Lo Que Hay - It Is What It Is; Rocío loved this restaurant's name as it reflected Cuba's food situation

Havana roast chicken restaurant Es Lo Que Hay – It Is What It Is; Rocío loved the name which reflects Cuba’s food situation

Cuban Bread Company Number 43 in Havana suburb Playa; this state-run bakery has no name, only a number

Cuban Bread Company Number 43 in Havana suburb Playa; this state-run bakery has no name for its branches, only numbers

"Kid Chocolate" is a multi-purpose hall in Havana named after the nickname of Eligio Sardiñas, a Cuban world champion boxer of the 1930s

“Kid Chocolate” is a multi-purpose hall in Havana named after the nickname of Eligio Sardiñas, a Cuban world champion boxer of the 1930s

Peluquería Victoria hairdressing sign in Havana

Peluquería Victoria hairdressing sign in Havana

Pearl Jam's Stickman figure appears on the sign prohibiting the bringing of outside food or drinks into state-owned restaurant Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y el Tabaco

Pearl Jam’s Stickman figure appears on state-owned restaurant Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y el Tabaco’s sign prohibiting the bringing of outside food or drinks

An Apisun Cuban honey jar

An Apisun Cuban honey jar

Garlic-flavoured Pelly Chicoticos snack packet from food stall near Fidel Castro's Havana wake

Garlic-flavoured Pelly Chicoticos snack packet from a food stall near Fidel Castro’s Havana wake

Barossini Cafe in Havana is likely named after a baseball player

Barossini Cafe in Havana is likely named after a baseball player

The top two floors of Centro Comercial Plaza Carlos III shopping centre's store directory

The top two floors of Centro Comercial Plaza Carlos III shopping centre’s store directory

Agencia KsaShop real estate agency in Santiago de Cuba

Agencia KsaShop real estate agency in Santiago de Cuba

A Santiago de Cuba house for sale sign

A Santiago de Cuba house for sale sign

Casa Tienda Dos Hermanos shop sign, Santiago de Cuba

Casa Tienda Dos Hermanos’ shop sign, Santiago de Cuba

Cigarette display at Guantanamo Bay Lookout café

Cigarette display at Guantanamo Bay Lookout café

House number 59 and 3/4, Santiago de Cuba; the original building would have been split into 4 separate dwellings with this one the third

House number 59 and 3/4 on a Santiago de Cuba street; the original #59 would have been split into 4 separate dwellings with this one being the third

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