This post is part of the People’s Insights monthly briefs issue of January 2014.
In January 2013, a year before EU labour border restrictions expired, The Guardian reported that the British government was considering an anti-nation branding campaign to dissuade Romanian and Bulgarians from migrating over. The news raised ridicule and speculation of what such a campaign would look like. The Guardian invited readers to submit posters around this theme. Frustrated by the state of their economy and the affairs of the government, several readers did.
Europeans and, in particular, Romanians weren’t amused by the news or the crowdsourced posters. Leading Romanian newspaper Gandul retaliated with a positive, humorous Why Don’t You Come Over campaign, with the message: “We may not like Britain, but you will love Romania.”
Video: Why Don’t You Come Over?
Gandul launched a series of amusing posters comparing the two countries, with messages like “Half our women look like Kate. The other half, like her sister.” As international media and audiences picked up the story, Gandul launched an app that allowed Romanians to create their own messages, a couchsurfing initiative that invited Romanians to offer their couches for visiting Brits (and vice versa), and a job board where Romanians could post vacancies.
Romania’s biggest image campaign
The campaign could be considered Romania’s biggest image campaign and was applauded for its positive approach to fighting the discrimination. The UK didn’t go ahead with its anti-nation branding campaign. Instead, journalists came over to verify Romania’s claims (which proved mostly true) and several people shared their intent to visit Romania in social conversations, saying the campaign ‘gave them a good reason to go over’ to a country they always wanted to visit.
According to Gandul, the campaign generated €2 million of free coverage and increased Gandul’s readership by 30%.
About People’s Insights
100+ thinkers and planners within MSLGROUP share and discuss inspiring projects – that are driving engagement with stakeholders – on the MSLGROUP Insights Network. Every month, we pick the best projects and analyse conversations around them, on the MSLGROUP Insights Network itself and also on the broader social web, into an insights report. Every quarter, we compile original insights from the MSLGROUP global network into the People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine.
In our first year and half, we focused on inspiring consumer projects around social data, crowdsourcing, storytelling and citizenship. We synthesized the insights to provide foresights for business leaders and change-makers in the ten-part People’s Insights annual report titled Now & Next: Ten Frontiers for the Future of Engagement, also available as a Kindle eBook and an iPad app.
In 2013, we launched “The Future of” series with a focus on Citizenship, Money and Employee (Re)Engagement. In 2014, we continue to track inspiring projects that are shaping the future of engagement, with a focus on reputation, employee engagement and citizenship.