Agencies race to plant their flags in Cuba

Llorente & Cuenca and Weber Shandwick both made moves to establish a footprint in the country this week.

Havana at night. (Image via Wikimedia Commons, By Crisijuan0 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0)
Havana at night. (Image via Wikimedia Commons, By Crisijuan0 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0)

NEW YORK: Llorente & Cuenca and Weber Shandwick are both moving forward with establishing offices in Cuba, they said this week.

Both firms are among the first PR agencies to pursue operations on the island since the U.S. and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations last year.

Llorente & Cuenca, which is headquartered in Spain, said Thursday that it has started operating in the country. The firm is working with Consultores Asociados, a state-owned Cuban company, and is focused on counseling international companies that want to set up or conduct business on the island.

Llorente & Cuenca appointed Pau Solanilla as GM of its Havana office.

Weber Shandwick said Friday that it has obtained a license from the U.S. Treasury Department allowing it to proceed with establishing operations in Cuba.

The Interpublic Group agency has begun discussions with the Cuban government and is moving forward to set up a presence on the island. It also submitted an application to Cuban authorities, but is waiting on a response, it said in a statement.

In December, Moscow-based Rose Marketing announced plans to become one of the first marketing services firms to launch in the country, with PR as one of its services. It also claims to be the first independent marketing agency to launch in the Soviet Union in 1989.

WPP, the biggest marketing services holding company in the world, said last July that it planned to appoint an executive in Cuba. One of its PR firms, Burson-Marsteller, launched a service for companies planning to enter the country the same month. The Cuba Specialty Team helps clients with strategic counsel on the political and economic environments in Cuba, as well as the U.S.

The U.S. and Cuba formally reestablished relations on July 20 after a freeze of more than five decades.

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