Title: American Rom
Advertiser/Client: Kandia Dulce
DM/Advertising Agency: McCann Erickson Bucharest, Romania
The brief from the client:
Romania’s ROM chocolate bar is the traditional Romanian chocolate. Launched in 1964 with the Romanian flag on its wrapper, it had an ageing, nostalgic consumer base and was losing ground with the young generation. In a category in which success means continuously attracting younger fans, ROM’s nationalistic values were a disadvantage. Young Romanians are disillusioned and cynical, with only 12% describing themselves as patriots. They prefer ‘cool’ American confectionery brands like Snickers and Mars. ROM—the chocolate bar bearing the Romanian flag—needed to gain appeal to youngsters with few national values.
ROM (as in ROMania) was a traditional chocolate bar carrying a load of nationalistic values along with the Romanian flag on it. We wanted to stir a debate among young Romanians about the national values and remind them how much they love their national chocolate. We knew that although young Romanians tend to be negative about themselves and their country, their patriotism returns when challenged. This ‘reactive patriotism’ underpinned our ground-breaking campaign that challenged young people’s national ego in order to re-establish ROM as a cherished Romanian symbol.
The creative solution to the brief/objective.
Our solution was not to fight the likes of Snickers and Mars, but temporarily join them. We replaced the Romanian flag on ROM’s package with the American one, announced the change in media and prepared for people’s response. The campaign was directing people on ROM website and Facebook page, to dialogue with the brand. Within hours, people reactions hit the Internet by the thousands. We moderated the conversations and monitored public reactions 24/7. When ‘the snowball’ grew big enough, we revealed that ROM was back as Romanian as ever, and concluded with an anthem dedicated to ROM and his fans.
The campaign reached 67% of Romanians and generated €300,000 of free publicity. Online response was phenomenal: in six days, ROM’s website had 75,000 unique visitors; Facebook fans rose by 300%; supporters launched petitions and even organised a flash-mob in the capital. All brand image indicators have exploded, especially “ROM is a brand for me”, which more than doubled, with a 124% increase. ROM outperformed the market, with a 20% growth (compared to 8.2% category growth) in the most relevant channel, hypermarkets. Most importantly, ROM ousted Snickers to become Romanians’ favourite chocolate bar, with a 79% increase of the indicator.