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How a Romanian Team Drew the Spotlight in Qatar (Without Even Qualifying for the World Cup)


ROM candy bar’s latest campaign around national pride celebrated country’s ‘National Team of Referees’

How a Romanian Team Drew the Spotlight in Qatar (Without Even Qualifying for the World Cup)

Football is the most popular sport in Romania. Unfortunately, the Romanian national football team has failed to qualify for any international championship in the last 24 years. But in 2022, the country made its way to the pitch of the world’s biggest soccer tournament—with the help of a candy bar. 

ROM, the traditional chocolate bar with the Romanian flag on it (and muse for multiple Cannes Lions Grand Prix), debuted its latest innovative national pride effort during this year’s tournament by celebrating Romania’s “National Team of Referees.” 

Though the country didn’t have players who made it to the competition, a number of its pros were selected for the side lines as referees.

“Our National Team may have blown their chances. But there are still Romanians on the field who can blow it even more—the whistle, I mean,” the campaign film says. 

The initiative was designed to promote the brand’s new protein bar. It kicked off on Dec. 1,  Romania National Day, and has encouraged people to do for the referees exactly what people usually do for players: wear their t-shirts, sing songs for them, comment their activity during the games. 

The digitally driven campaign, created out of McCann Worldgroup Romania, consisted of punchy social media content, an AR Filter in Instagram replicating real life referee cards, supporter KITs that were awarded to the most loyal followers of the campaign in dedicated contests, a PR blitz targeting key local influencers and special media projects with the top sports publications in the country. The campaign ran for the duration of the tournament.

“We wanted to send a simple message: With the new ROM bar, we give Romanians the energy to get where they always wanted to get,” said Gabi Munteanu marketing director of ROM parent company Kandia Dulce. “Even if, at times, it may seem impossible, we’ll find a way. We proved it by showing that even if we didn’t qualify with the team of players, we got to the world championships in Qatar with our National Team of Referees.” 

“ROM is the traditional chocolate bar that always finds innovative ways to activate the Romanian national pride,” added Catalin Dobre, CCO and co-CEO McCann Worldgroup Romania. “It always picks a moonshot and engages Romanians in an initiative to reach it. This time it found a way to activate the joy of football for the National Day. Even if the players didn’t qualify, we encouraged everybody to cheer for the other Romanians on the field in Qatar—the referees. Why not? They are important, they are under pressure, and they deserve to be in the spotlight. They are like ROM, the underdogs.”

ROM and McCann Worldgroup previously earned fame with the “American ROM” campaign that replaced the candy bar’s packaging, which is adorned with the Romanian flag, with that of the United States.  The effort earned two Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions, in Direct and Promo & Activation.

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Categories: Food, Sweet

McCann EMEA, Fri, 16 Dec 2022 12:55:00 GMT