Romanian Chocolatier Uses Reverse Psychology, Wins 2 Cannes Grand Prix

  |  June 21, 2011   |  Comments

Elaborate hoax triggered a powerful patriotic backlash.

Cannes, France-- Romania won big here on Monday when McCann Erickson Bucharest took home two Grand Prix Cannes Lions for work on behalf of Kandia Dulce's Rom chocolate bars.

The campaign sought to bolster Romanian national pride during an economic crisis that has demoralized citizens, especially youth. It took the form of an elaborate hoax in which the company appeared to rewrap its patriotically packaged chocolate bar with an American flag - a symbol of superior economic might.

"Things were not good for a chocolate with a national flag on it," McCann stated in its campaign video (embedded).

Romanians were predictably offended and rallied online to defend their national symbol - both the flag and the chocolate bar. Ten Facebook Causes were created simultaneously, and 20,000 people joined the causes over a period of four days, according to McCann. YouTube and blog activity also spiked. Over the course of the campaign, Rom's Facebook "like" base rose by 300 percent in six days.

Supporters even went so far as to organize a flashmob to bring back the old Rom. One week after the packaging stunt began, the chocolate bar did indeed return to its Romanian garb.

The Grand Prix were given in the Cannes Lions Promo/Activation category, which reward advertising geared toward triggering an immediate engagement, and the Direct category, for direct marketing.


Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

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