05 JUL 2010: Cuba’s been all about the beach. We Canadians should know. It’s been our favourite sun destination as we continue to hold the No. 1 international visitors’ spot. So, when a Canadian ad agency was asked to take on the monumental task of rebranding the country, well they oughta know, right?

Last week Toronto’s Brandworks International and the Cuba Tourist Board rolled out its latest Cuba ad campaign: Autentica Cuba.

On hand were Cuba Tourist Board’s new director, Ruben Jimenez, Jorge Soberon, the Consul General of Cuba; Maria Elena Lopez, Cuba’s Vice Minister of Tourism as well as brass from travel companies and the press.

Brandworks principal Michael Clancy says the international campaign involving one six-minute film, three 30-second TV commercial spots as well as a separate print and web campaign really started with a phrase from a Lonely Planet Cuba Travel Survival Kit: “This is one of the last truly unspoiled countries…”

Unspoiled it is

The TV spots showcase original music as a vintage Cadillac drives by Havana’s Capital building and cuts to a sold-out baseball game with a salsa dancing concessions gal and raucous spectators twirling in the stands.

Brandworks hopes the images will inspire people to put themselves, and their families “in the picture.”

You’ll also spot Cuban cowboys horseback riding by perfectly bulbous shaped ruddy hills. That unique location is the Pinar del Rio in the lush Vinales Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are wonderful examples of a cultural Cuba ready to explore that remain authentic. Sure Tropicana with all its nightlife glitz is big but so are the jazz clubs, galleries and the world famous Ballet Nacional de Cuba.

Don’t know how zip-lining and parasailing, or for that matter three smiling kids in water goggles at an all-inclusive make for an authentic Cuba. That part remains unclear, but, as long as they’re having fun…

A new logo or “WordmarK” as Clancy called it, was also introduced, designed to represent the stars up above, the sea below, and Cuba riding the waves in between, also ties in the country’s love of baseball.

Summing up, Clancy asked “So, what’s so authentic about Cuba?

And answered his own question, “Everything!”

To watch the campaign visit www.autenticacuba.com

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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