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Little Voice, Big Sound

Industry: Food
Media:Promotion & Event
Style: Minimalism
Describe the campaign/entry:
How to introduce a tiny a banal corn fluff to an entire country, in a memorable way? How to make people listen and react? Our brand is called GUSTO PUFULETI (pufuleti means corn snacks), but people didn’t know the brand by name. Thus our challenge was to turn ‘Mr. Nobody’ into a nationwide famous somebody within just 6 months. Searching for the right strategy, we overlapped the brand truth (GUSTO PUFULETI gives you a stress-free moment, since they are easy and simple) and the consumer truth (according to European studies, Romanians are among the unhappiest, most pessimistic people). The result was a very bold campaign that took GUSTO PUFULETI above its category and turned it into a true hero: GUSTO PUFULETI took on the great mission to bring indestructible optimism in people’s lives, to ‘cure’ them of depression and make them smile in times of crisis! We created an integrated campaign, including BTL, online, innovative media projects, and all components being led by the fourth one - PR. From a huge controversy, to insure great buzz everywhere, to a big revealing and then to militating for optimism through impactful tactics, not only did we achieve our goals, but we even overcame them!

Describe the brief from the client:
Objectives: define a territory true to the brand and relevant to consumers; build awareness around the GUSTO name; create a strong connection with consumers. Target: reach 3,000,000 people (15% of Romania’s population) with campaign’s messages, in 6 months. The audience included consumers of any age and their heterogeneous influencers: journalists, bloggers, key opinion leaders. Our research was related to: - The product: in a world full of preservatives, additives, colorants, GUSTO is made with only corn and salt; - The sales: one of the best selling products in Romania, transcending categories, with 1 mil bags sold/ day; - The consumers: European studies place Romanians among the most pessimistic in Europe.

Over 15,000,000 people (2/3 of Romania’s population!) have heard of GUSTO PUFULETI and their campaign for optimism - more than 4 times our objective. Media coverage: over 200 press clippings, 70 online, 45 minutes on TV, 22 minutes on radio - an impressive result for Romania! The YouTube teaser video (the smiling faces) got over 15,000 views in 4 days. Over 600 'friends' on FACEBOOK in the first month. Tens of bloggers writing about GUSTO. Almost 20,000,000 bags with Mr. Popa’s cartoons sold in just 5 weeks. Google Search for 'optimism' in Romania increased from 39 to 100 on a scale from 0 to 100 during our campaign (Google Insights). GUSTO sales grew with 10% as a result of the campaign, while the market decreased by 40%! The PR campaign received Golden Award for Excellence for 'Best PR campaign' at Romanian PR Award 2009 (the national PR competition).

Teasing (1 week): - Appearance in corn fields near Baicoi of 3 giant UFO-like smiling faces (45 m in diameter each)! Subject created huge buzz all over the country (TV channels, YouTube, radio shows, written press, blogs, with the complicity of the city Mayor and some local citizens). Revealing (1 day): - Huge march of protesters from Baicoi (‘creators’ of the smiling faces) militating for fun and optimism in front of public authorities that bring bad news. Core campaign (5 months): - Big tactics to help people get optimistic inspiration: dedicated blog, page on Facebook, editorial projects with paparazzi publications, funny tips on big online forums. - organising OPTIMISM, an unconventional event bringing together the most fascinating opinion leader thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives about optimism. - Guinness World Record owner, cartoonist Stefan Popa Popas developed 18 cartoons portraying the dog on the bag (GUS) in hilarious situations. Consecutively published on millions of GUSTO bags, they made people smile from the moment they bought the product.

The Situation:
In Romania, Pufuleti are most common snack products, with a long history in Romanians’ minds. Everybody eats them, but nobody knows product names, since no brand have ever been the subject of a communication campaign, no producer had been interested in building a true brand. Yet somehow in this impersonal market GUSTO, with a 17-year presence, was appreciated by consumers, who recognised it as ‘those good fluffs’ or by the little dog on the package. Starting here, we had to turn this product into a real brand, make GUSTO a name recognisable by people and give these good fluffs an identity and a brand territory.

The Strategy:
Considering the product's simplicity (made only of corn, salt and… air!, so nothing to worry about), big sales, generic name (in RO. pufuleti has a very comic resonance), place of birth (Baicoi, one of the towns with the name most joked about, with a quite sexual connotation; app. EN. translation ‘you, balls!’), the perfect territory for GUSTO was indestructible, no-matter-what optimism! After all, what else if not optimism is the idea that unites everything in the history of GUSTO, helping it succeed on the market without people even knowing its name? Matching these findings with the perfect external opportunity (Romanians are among the most pessimistic citizens in Europe); our strategy was that GUSTO outrun a simple awareness campaign and engage in a brave, impactful mission, that reaches everybody: make a real revolution of optimism and remind Romanians that there are always good reasons for a laugh, even in times of crisis.
Other credit:Managing Partner: Gabriela Lungu
Client Service Director: Oana Bulexa
Strategic Planning Director: Andrei Balan
Junior Public Relations Manager: Floriana Cristea
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2010
Silver PR
Technique/Best Launch or Re-launch
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