‘Ad-Free’ Cuba far from being propaganda free
In an article in Forbes, Eric Goldman explores the lack of commercial advertising in Cuba. He surmises that the reason Cuba is "ad free" is because basically, the Cuban people cannot afford to purchase much of anything. Instead of 11-million consumers, Cuba has 11-million people living in poverty and misery under the jackboot of a communist dictatorship that owns everything and controls practically every single aspect of the economy and society:
Fantasize About A World Without Advertising? Try Cuba
Surveys routinely show that consumers hate advertising. If given the option, I’m sure a super-majority of consumers would choose a world where advertising simply didn’t exist. As it turns out, that world does exist—it’s called Cuba. However, Cuba’s lack of advertising highlights some important tradeoffs.
When I say Cuba doesn’t have advertising, I’m obviously exaggerating a bit. I just didn’t see much advertising. No billboards. No television ads (as far as I could tell—though cable channels originating outside Cuba did have ads). No Internet ads (few Cubans can even afford Internet access). No leafleting. About the only “advertising” I encountered was store signage and oral pitches.
This ad-free environment may sound utopian, but consider the principal reason why advertising is so scarce: because there aren’t a lot of things to buy, and not many people can afford to buy them. In effect, the lack of advertising is correlated with the Cuban economy’s consumer activity. With only a thin layer of consumer activity, advertising isn’t needed and rarely could be profitable.
Cuba also doesn’t have much advertising because there’s little competition in Cuba. The government effectively runs all of the retail stores (other than mom-and-pop knick-knack stands), so there’s no inter-retailer competition and no need for retailers to advertise against each other. The most visible private sector are the tourist services like privately-run restaurants and transportation. Even then, most of these services aren’t high-margin or differentiated enough to support advertising.
Continue reading HERE.
While Goldman (to his credit) was able to determine the correct reason behind the lack of commercial advertising on the island, he is completely off the mark in his declaration that advertising in Cuba is for all intents and purposes non existent. In reality, there is a plethora of advertising throughout the entire island that on a daily basis assaults the senses of both Cubans and tourists alike. That advertising can be seen on almost every street, on most of the buildings, on billboards in cities and highways, on radio, and on television.
That advertising is called propaganda:
You can see much more of this "non-existent" advertising in Cuba HERE.