During the communism years, mostly during Nicolae Ceauşescu's "reign", when basic products (food) were rationed and the other products were exported for economical growth, Kandia SA created the ROM chocolate bar.
More exactly, ROM is a chocolate bar filled with rum cream, a unique product created for the local, Romanian market, first created in 1964.
The brand, from the begining, was succesful, because of the lack of choices and, of course, the restrictions which were applied by the communist government. At that time, ROM was a delight for everyone, and all the Romanians, from children to old people, knew the brand and identified with it, because they had to. Therefore, the product now reminds Romanians of their childhood, actually linking generations.
Since ROM was created in Romania, for Romanians, it's valid to say that the product brings out the patriotism from people. Other than the name (ROM - from Romania, and also "rom" meaning rum), the nationalist spirit which comes with this chocolate bar is also, represented by its packaging, being wrapped in the romanian flag, with a simple format of the name. (see fig. 1)
Over the years, because the product started losing ground, ROM made some changes regarding the product, launching brand extensions, made the packaging more shinny and came up with good brand strategies in order to increase the popularity of the product once again. I chose this brand because, even though created by communists, capitalists can still make it shine and include it among people's preferences. In my opinion, it's not just about the taste, but the feeling that you're eating something authentic, which has kept its tradition since 1964. So you can call me patriotic, but I do believe in the values that this brand represents. A recent campaign which is still running, is a social one, where the brand ROM can be seen as an „ambassador” of Romania, in which customers get to be involved in the process of improving Romanian's image on the internet. Basically, the mission is to change the suggestions on www.google.com into something positive about Romanian people. Therefore, the customers are impelled to start searching, using that search engine, adjectives that best describe a Romanian, in as many different languages they can, such as: „romanii sunt destepti”, „Romanians are smart”, „les roumains sont intelligents” and so on. All this campaign is strenghtened by the slogan, which is „Buy ROM and sweeten the image of Romanians”. Thus, by buying the ROM chocolate bar, customers can, also, win t-shirts with positive Romanian messages and will be involved in changing the opinion of foreigners regarding them, in every country. At this point, as a result of the campaign mentioned above, this brand can be seen, according to Goodyear's (1996) model, at stage 61. Therefore, through this marketing strategy, other than growing the sales of the chocolate bar, customers take part of changing a social/political view, turning the brand into a „brand as a policy”. Looking at the history of the brand, and the preference for the brand usually amongst grown-ups and people who lived during the communist period, it can be said that, for them, the purchase decision is based on a high level of involvement. That is because they are using their working memory in order to manipulate ideas and relate them to other concepts they have learned and understood2 So, customers over 22 years old base their decision on information gathered in the past, which triggers their patriotism, reminiscing about their childhood and about how the chocolate bar was a product they couldn't have anytime they wanted to, plus the fact that it's a high quality product (since during the communism years, Romanian products were seen as high quality products and the ROM chocolate bar is seen as a reference standard). All these aspects are linked within that certain segment of people, allowing them to...
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