McCann launch the campaign to encourage voting in the 2019 Romanian presidential election
Ahead of the 2019 presidential elections in Romania on November 24th, when Romanians will elect their new President, ROM, the iconic Romanian chocolate bar that features the Romanian flag on the package, launched a groundbreaking campaign presenting a fake Presidential candidate – Toma Corunt.
The ROM campaign, overlapped with the official launch of the campaigns by the real Presidential candidates. While most of the candidates were unveiling promises and big plans to ensure a bright future for Romania, ROM’s Toma Corunt stood out with an unapologetically aggressive attitude and out-in-the-open plans to act fraudulently. His campaign ad featured him surrounded by his expensive cars, villas and art, hinting that if his dirty tricks got him so far in life, his plan is to do the same when elected President, since Romanians are already used to such behaviour and won’t be bothered.
With national young voter turnout below 30% - and dropping every year - the objective of the ROM ‘Fake President’ campaign was to outrage Romanians with an absurd situation and make them realise the importance of voting to elect their President democratically - not let other people or groups make this decision for them.
Toma’s fake candidacy created an immediate social media frenzy within Romania – Toma Corunt, the candidate, was vehemently disliked and generated huge debates about the importance of voting.
At the peak of Toma Corunt’s fictional campaign, ROM stepped in and revealed the truth with a film that explained the ruse and another shocking action: The famous ROM candy bar packaging, with the colours of the Romanian flag, was replaced with a brand new one featuring the word 'VOT' (Romanian for 'vote'). ROM candy bars literally became a call to action for Romanians to vote; and that vote would protect their country from a candidate like Toma Corunt ever taking power.
“ROM has always presented strong opinions about life in Romania. We are lucky to work for a courageous brand that was never afraid to provoke Romanians to get involved in the country’s issues. This time, it was for getting them to vote. The campaign gave the public a tool that raised awareness about the importance of exercising their civic duties,” said Catalin Dobre, creative director for McCann Worldgroup Central & Eastern Europe.
ROM chocolate is no stranger to bold campaigns and does not avoid using it’s branding and packaging to activate patriotism among Romanians. In 2010, ROM replaced the Romanian flag with the American flag as part of a marketing stunt to awaken then-dormant national pride. In 2018, to celebrate 100 years since the Great Unification of Romania, ROM released another limited edition where the brand’s name was removed from the package to give more space to the Romanian flag.