Written by Olga Glioza
When we hear the name “Cuba” we think of the smell of sea breeze, the sound of rhythmic salsa melodies and the taste of spiced rum. Not many think of the country as a go-to destination to produce content for marketing campaigns, but that’s about to change.
Recent years of modernization and broadened access to the internet brought Cuba more opportunities for expression and inspiration, which provoked quite the artistic boom on the island. Slowly but steadily, the new creative class of Cuba is emerging. Here are a few reasons we believe the Carribean island is going to convert into a creative epicenter in the coming years.
1. Globalization is growing
The development of the Internet connection in Cuba during recent years exposed local youths to the world of social media and the need for independent creators. In December 2018, the mobile internet was introduced, and the true expansion started. Now every day we see new influencers and creatives from Cuba popping up on social media, showcasing their motherland through their style, vision and camera lens.
There isn’t a defined “market” for this business yet, and there is still a huge gap between countries where 5G connection is a common thing (as popular as influencer culture!) and communist Cuba, where you still have to buy a Wi-Fi card if you want a (somewhat) fast connection.
every day we see new influencers and creatives from Cuba popping up on social media, showcasing their motherland through their style, vision and camera lens.
An interest in fashion, beauty, and all-things-lifestyle is vivid on the island, with new initiatives popping up every day. One of them is Cuban Fashion Group, founded by influencer and author of the blog This is This, Migue Leyvaj. The main objective of this group is to establish a fashion industry on the island where the word “deficit” has been synonymous with a “daily routine” for the past 60 years.
Although, one important factor is bringing Cuban creators at the forefront of the industry: most of these up-and-coming creatives are genuinely and sincerely fired up with the idea of social media and internet-connected world, trying to find their own voice.
2. Distinctive Creative Vision
The Cuban way of living in the 21st century is definitely one-of-a-kind. The background of isolation and the mantra of “doing it the Cuban way” have shaped the vision of the local art community. At the moment, we can see Cuban creatives searching for their own distinctive style, blending international trends with local art schooling traditions. The Famous San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts is known for being the alma-mater of such masters as Amelia Pelaez, Manuel Carbonell, and Victor Manuel, and it keeps producing young talents.
The strong academic base and the ability to feel the global trends through their own cultural background usually results in bold, recognizable aesthetics of new generation of Cuban photographers.
Among the ones that stand out particularly, we recommend to check out the work of: Pop Estudio, Titina Style and May Reguera. These three photographers work in totally different styles, touching topics from fashion to social issues, but when looking at their work in the global context, there is something almost intangible, that makes them stand out as Cuban artists.
3. Money, honey
Compared to neighboring, more developed markets, the Cuban creative industry is still evolving, meaning the pricing/ artist rates can be very flexible and in most cases will surprise you with great price-quality value. Estudio 50 is a great example of this- they recently opened up as a creative hub for studio photography of every kind. Keeping the space flexible and their pricing low, they are offering production and creative direction services to brands and individuals alike.
Why Collaborate with Cuban Creators?
Even though the island nation is still struggling with getting its economy up straight, the young creatives don’t wait: they are open to the world, eager to learn and experiment, and are capable enough to bring impressive results. By working with Cuban creatives, brands can be assured that they will get in return distinctive, vibrant and bold content with great ROI potential.
How To Get Started
Do your research on social media platforms (most of the creators in Cuba don’t have an official website- so social is your best bet for scouting!) and see which photographers/models/designers fit you most in terms of their vision and the quality of work.
From our experience, we can definitely say that either you have to travel to Cuba and be there on the ground during the campaign creation or find a trusted campaign manager in Cuba, who has the contacts and is capable to coordinate the creators, models, influencers and other logistics (we can do that for you in Cuba, wink-wink!).
As the market is at the very start, there are many logistical moments that may seem a bit complicated, comparing to the developed markets, but the freshness and stylistic authenticity of the content is definitely worth the hustle.
Olga is a co-founder of G&V Public Relations, a boutique agency based between Russia and Cuba, bridging the gap between emerging and developed markets. Olga and Co-Founder Ronnier Vergara come from these respective countries, bringing their own cultural background, expertise, and vision to client projects. Say hi on Instagram & Facebook