2021 Brand Experience & Activation


Short List
Category G08. Market Disruption
Entrant McCANN Bucharest, ROMANIA
Idea Creation McCANN Bucharest, ROMANIA
Idea Creation 2 MRM Bucharest, ROMANIA
Media Placement UM Bucharest, ROMANIA
Additional Company McCANN Bucharest, ROMANIA
Name Company Position
Catalin Dobre McCann Worldgroup Romania Chief Creative Officer
Ioana Zamfir MRM Romania Executive Ceative Director
Ion Cojocaru MRM Romania Content Director
Alexandru Vasile MRM Romania Social Media Creative Director
Laura Belc MRM Romania Experience & Design Creative Director
Adina Stanescu MRM Romania Group Creative Director
Laura Catea MRM Romania Web-designer
Cosmin Voicu MRM Romania Cosmin Voicu
Andrei Florian McCann Bucharest Strategic Planer
Madalina Ciocan MRM Romania Social Media Manager
Andreea Sofrone MRM Romania Group Account Director
Ana Smarandescu MRM Romania https://hitplay.vodafone.ro/finala
Tiberiu Munteanu McCann Bucharest Head of AV
Alexandru Platon McCann Bucharest Senior AV Producer
Alina Carasol UM Romania Group Account Director
Cristian Ene UM Romania Digital Media Planner
Cristina Grofu UM Romania Social Media Specialist
Monica Nastase UM Romania Media Planner
Ramona Radu UM Romania Content Specialist
Corina Nica McCann Bucharest Corporate PR
Alex Budin MRM Romania Head of Technology
Radu Muntean Multimedia Est Director

Please tell us about the cultural insight that inspired the work

As other confectionery brands were cancelling their marketing and communication plans, trying to get through the pandemic while keeping low, ROM did something completely different. It went full swing ahead in the launch of new ROM Buzz, but also tackling a trending theme in a completely surprising way. We took the pain hurt of cancelled events and decided it was time for a change in TOV- a lighthearted approach that would bring a smile to people’s faces and engage them in super fun proposals. This made the brand a stand out once again, adapting its usual challenger strategy completely to the cultural context consumers were living in.

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

With its small budgets and big ambitions, Rom always managed to activate the national spirit and gather people around different causes. The launch of new Rom Buzz in the ROM Authentic portfolio is a challenger brand strategy at its best. At a time where plans were being cancelled or postponed due to the uncertainty of the COVID situation, ROM managed to transform the worst moment for a launch, into a unique communication opportunity, managing to make a relevant point to its audience and ultimately grow consistently in share of market.


ROM is a small Romanian chocolate brand wrapped in the national flag since 1964. Along the years, it used provocation and challenger spirit to awaken patriotic feelings in Romanians- most notably by changing the iconic flag on the packaging with an American one, or influencing google search to clean up our national reputation. Situation: In the midst of 2020 cancellations, the brand decided to go ahead with its business plans and launch its new hope for over the top sales- new chocolate wafer filled with iconic ROM filling, ROM Buzz. Brief: Make this launch be the year-saver in terms of sales, while also attracting Gen Z, that was unattached and unimpressed by a brand banking on Romanian nostalgia. Objectives: Grow 1% in Share of market Make Rom Buzz a top 5 product in the Rom portfolio Increase in younger target preference Keep to the brand provocation and patriotic DNA.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

In times when people were sad for the cancelled events, we chose to use a bold TOV, to disrupt the conversation and bring a smile to people’s faces in times when they needed it. Enter ROM- the official sponsor of cancelled events. The campaign featured several movies in which a ROM representative pitches organizers all kinds of crazy sponsorship ideas that advertised the new product and its ingredients, from chocolate filled arenas meant for Wimbledon, to crazy national flags at the EURO football tournament, to their own mascot, the Rom Buzz man, for Comicon. These targeted cancelled events could visit the campaign website getsponsoredbyrom.com and find a package that was right to them. ROM activated people to play a role in the mission to help the small Romanian brand sponsor for the first time a big international event. They could join and spread the outrageous and fun offers.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

The cultural context was undeniable. The majority of international sports, cultural, music events have been cancelled for 2020, and with them all advertising and sponsoring budgets from big brands. Target research should us that for younger audiences, the Romanian origins of a product aren’t important, as they see themselves as global citizens. They invest all their money and time into experiences. But 2020 their whole life had been turned upside down, robbing them of all their enjoyment moments (hanging out with friends, parties, graduations, festivals, sports. Breakthrough moment. To make ourselves relevant, ROM Buzz seized the opportunity and found a way to put Romania on the radar of young people, in less than ideal situation. ROM Buzz offered to sponsor the events that it could never afford before– the CANCELLED ones. We knew this could have the effect of a big sponsorship without even signing any actual contract.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

Confectionery products were down severely in performance in the overall market, affected by a decrease in impulse shopping (treats at the office or on the go), hit also by the disappearance of get-togethers where in the past people used to buy sweets as gifts. Rom was severely down in sales as well, Although the new product was a novelty in terms of taste and recipe, we had to market it to a generation that lacked the occasion to buy it and was financially and emotionally struck by the pandemic. For the new launch, we had to do something that was incredibly aware of the context, while sticking to ROM brand DNA- that of provocation and patriotic pride.

List the results (30% of vote)

Rom Buzz became the brand’s most successful launch in history. We aimed at 80 tons sold but we managed to sell 155 tons in 5 months (out of 164 forecasted for the whole year) thus exceeding our objective by 93.75%1 The last 5 months saw our 1% SOM objective become 3.4% SOM in the Coated Wafers category; 3 times more than we hoped for. With such a good performance, ROM Buzz not only made it to top 5 best sold ROM SKUs, it propelled it to top 33. The campaign managed to sign more than 11 local sponsorships, for which we paid in chocolate, not money. It was also a media success, with 4,842,677 page engagements in Facebook and Instagram, 43% view rate (25% benchmark) and 79,1% of the target audience reached. The much desired Gen Z-ers paid attention to the campaign, contributing to an overall positive sentiment.