afaqs!

Cannes 2011: Metals shine on the brave

By Prajjal Saha , afaqs!, Cannes | In Advertising | June 21, 2011
A chocolate brand, ROM, from Romania announced that it would replace the national flag on its packaging with the American flag. This act of bravery by the brand and the agency floored two juries at Cannes, helping it win two Grand Prix -- in Direct and Promo & Activation.

The brave shall win. It was indeed a brave campaign which got Romania its first Grand Prix at the International Festival of Creativity, Cannes. Against a background where a Lion was rare for a Romanian agency, McCann Erickson, Bucharest, has won not one, but two Grand Prix in a single shot. The jury was impressed with the brave act undertaken by the brand.

& #VIDEO3 & #Picture this: The chocolate bar ROM, has donned the Romanian flag in its packaging since its inception in 1964. However, lately, the brand had hit a slump, losing its relevance with the young consumers. The Romanian youth were going through a phase of negativity and considered that everything about Romania was wrong. This thinking also affected the brand.

One fine day, ROM announced that it would change its packaging and replace the Romanian flag with the American one. The brand bombarded the media with annoying messages. The campaign gained momentum and soon, turned out to be a national debate. The youth reacted both online and offline. While they objected to this change in the social media, they took to the streets in the form of a flash mob.

A week later, the brand re-announced that it was just joking and no change would take place. However, these seven days achieved wonders for the brand. They not only invoked the patriotic feeling among Romanian youth, but also changed the fortune for the chocolate brand. The campaign got EUR300,000 worth of media coverage, and there was 79 per cent increase in market share.

The campaign has bagged two Grand Prix in two separate categories -- Promo & Activation and Direct. The juries for both Direct and Promo & Activation were floored by the bravery act showcased by the agency, as well as the brand.

Alexander Schill, global chief creative officer and partner, Serviceplan Group and president of the Direct jury this year, says, "This campaign wasn't possible without the approval of the client, which showed lots of courage in accepting the idea."

It was risky because if the idea backfired, the situation would be messy -- in fact, the brand could even be dead for ever.

Schill adds, "The Direct Lion jury sat with a bullet and looked for ideas that directly hit the heart,and not the mindof the consumer."

This campaign did so.

Warren Brown, creative founder, BMF, and president of the Promo & Activation Lionsjury voices a similar opinion. He says, "The ad was cheeky and people, especially the younger lot, prefer brands that don't take themselves too seriously."

He adds, "Even then, it was a very bold and confident act. The best part was that if the idea had to work, it had to work quickly."

To view other interviews from Cannes 2011, click here.