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Tue Jun 19, 2012, 10:45 AM

Cuba's next step on capitalist road: advertising


......HAVANA (AP) For decades there's been no such thing as a commercial radio or TV spot in Cuba. Ditto for billboards, website banner ads, and newspaper classifieds.

It can be a refreshing change from the global marketing onslaught, but the lack of traditional advertising opportunities creates a problem for the thousands of budding entrepreneurs who have embraced President Raul Castro's push for limited free-market reform.

It's one thing to open your own business, but how to let potential customers know you exist? True to Cuba's famous knack for making do, the island's small-business owners have turned to low-cost, unconventional advertising a flurry of guerrilla marketing in a Marxist society whose founder, Fidel Castro, once denounced advertising as "alienating and noxious."

Cheaply printed fliers are a popular way of getting the word out. So is more permanent swag. Customers of the Enigma beauty salon go home with pens and lighters emblazoned with its logo and phone number.

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