J. Walter Thompson's Innovation Group Releases "The Promise of Cuba"

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The report is the first of its kind to examine opportunities for private enterprise, independent media and digital advertising created by this uniquely unplugged marketplace



One of our interviewees told us that ‘Cuba, for Americans, is like a full moon for werewolves. They’re drawn here and they don’t know why.’

The Innovation Group, the futurism and trend forecasting consultancy of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, and Mirum, the global digital agency, today released "The Promise of Cuba," the first major agency report since the normalization of US-Cuba diplomatic relations to explore emerging opportunities for North American brands in the country.

The report will be presented today in a panel at South by Southwest Interactive. In addition to a 78-page PDF, the report includes a 20-minute video shot in Cuba, which premieres today on jwtintelligence.com. The video, also called The Promise of Cuba, covers the nation’s economy, focusing on growth opportunities in tourism and technology, and will be excerpted at SXSW.

"The Promise of Cuba" comes at a time when the general US public has never been more interested in the island, with President Barack Obama planning a historic visit to Cuba on March 21st and 22nd.

Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of the Innovation Group, said, “One of our interviewees told us that ‘Cuba, for Americans, is like a full moon for werewolves. They’re drawn here and they don’t know why.’ Much depends on whether the US Congress keeps its embargo on Cuba in place, but this is not stopping far-sighted brands from Airbnb to American Airlines as they prepare to reap future profits in an emerging market like no other.”

With support from the Mirum Agency, in January a team of five agency researchers spent 10 days in Cuba interviewing more than 40 Cubans about their lives, the economy, and opportunities as relations with the United States improve. Interviews were conducted both in English and Spanish, using translators when necessary, and form the basis of the insights in the report.

The Promise of Cuba includes special sections on:

  • Generation Upstart: The emergence of a new Cuban generation under 30, defined by their entrepreneurialism, sophisticated understanding of consumer culture and determination to succeed despite restrictions on information and business activities in their country.
  • El Paquete: The “weekly package” — Cuba’s “offline internet” — and how it allows digital advertising to thrive even in a country that officially outlaws advertising.
  • Media Renaissance: A new crop of independent youth magazines chronicling the country’s underground arts and emerging commercial culture.
  • Key Growth Sectors: Information on key sectors of the economy that are expected to grow if trade relations with the US are normalized.

The report also explores the following topics in depth with dedicated sections:

  • The Economy: An executive summary on Cuba’s current economic situation, how it got there and the chance for rapid growth.
  • Tourism: A deep dive into tourism, which offers the most immediate opportunities for profits among US companies as US-Cuba economic and political relations are normalized. Includes reasons why Cuba may become a vacation paradise for millennials in the coming years and decades.
  • The New Cuban Consumer: The emergence of a class society in Cuba and how this is reflected in consumer culture, which includes strong awareness of US brands.
  • Technology: How Cubans have hacked their way into the 21st century, with smartphones that work without WiFi, and digital culture that thrives away from internet connections. Including thoughts on how US brands could benefit from this educated population of digital innovators.

To access the full report, which retails for $1,000, see the Trend Reports section of JWTIntelligence.com. Find a free executive summary of the report on the J. Walter Thompson Intelligence Slideshare.

J. Walter Thompson Company was founded in 1864 and has been making pioneering solutions that build enduring brands and business for more than 150 years. Today under the leadership of Global CEO Gustavo Martinez, the company has evolved to include several global networks including J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, Mirum and Colloquial.

The Innovation Group is J. Walter Thompson’s futurism, research and innovation unit. It charts emerging and future global trends, consumer change and innovation patterns — translating these into insight for brands. It offers a suite of consultancy services, including bespoke research, presentations, co-branded reports and workshops. It is also active in innovation, partnering with brands to activate future trends within their frameworks and execute new products and concepts.

The Innovation Group is part of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, a platform for global research, innovation and data analytics at J. Walter Thompson Company. It houses three key in-house practices: SONAR™, Analytics and the Innovation Group. For more information, please visit http://www.jwtintelligence.com and follow us @JWTIntelligence.

Mirum is a global digital agency that helps businesses facing major market disruption confidently pivot in new directions and take advantage of new opportunities. Created with a pioneering spirit, Mirum brings together successful regional companies that have a deep understanding of local market needs. Our principles are rooted in innovation, design, data, marketing and technology to drive business transformation in a world of constantly evolving behaviors and expectations. Mirum is a global network operating in 20 countries, with 40 offices and more than 2,200 professionals, and is a part of the J. Walter Thompson Company and WPP family. For more information, visit mirumagency.com.

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Jocelyn Weiss Malas
J. Walter Thompson Company
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