BIZ Magazine is a publication that, alongside its usual editorial activity, has built a reputation in pursuing campaigns on various social interest themes, their topics becoming the seed of public debates.
In the average Romanian citizen vocabulary, the word "peasant" has been used in the past decades only as a - euphemistically said - sarcastic remark about certain gross and inappropriate behaviors. Neanderthals? Shitty people? Badly behaved citizens? Call them "peasants", and you're set! Calling someone a "peasant" became even worse than calling one a "redneck" in the USA, or a "paysan" in France.
Someone double-parked: "You, peasant!". Someone else left their clothes in the changing room of a shop - "she's such a peasant!". Talking on the phone at the movies: "Peasants!".
But the fact is we're all are rooted in the countryside. Most of our parents and grandparents were born, or still live in villages. Somehow being a peasant became a disgrace... And what we actually seem to forget is that not so many years ago, the same word was the equivalent of honorable values like: modesty, hard work, moderation and simplicity.
In Romania, the communist regime pledged for the massive migration of the population from villages to urban areas, in order for them to join the industrialized system. Thus, it created a legacy that shifted the public opinion into believing that a peasant meant an inferior person in comparison to someone living in the city. Although the communist regime fell its social reminiscent still stands today.
We decided it was imperative to remind people of the true values Romanians once lived by, to rehabilitate the use of the word "peasant" from a negative to a positive form, thus embracing their rural legacy, a legacy that should bring them honor and not shame.
Facts proving our presumption of the pejorative use of the term were searched. With the help of Zelist, a social monitoring tool, we analyzed the use of the term "peasant" in online in the past year. The results confirmed our presumption: it was used in more than 2200 occasions with 2000 having a negative connotation and only 200 a positive one.
Now our campaign aim was clear: to shift the balance and in just a few weeks "peasant" to be used as often positively as to out count the times it was used negatively over the past year.
To do this we needed the power of example: KOL admitting PUBLICLY to BEING PEASANTS.
"I don't want all that bad PR", most of them said.
"No-no, I cannot be exposed like that", they said.
"Cool. Call me next spring", they said...
The term became such a disgrace they're afraid to associate themselves with: "I AM A PEASANT".
Somehow, a few of them got the message and the idea became stronger than the fear. The
endorsers selection was natural: the brave ones turned out to be exactly what we needed. The "cleanest" public people, with sparkling images accepted our harsh statement and joined the cause. To mention the first ones: Tudor Giurgiu a prominent voice of the new Romanian movie industry, Virgil Iantu - TV star and singer, Smiley -- musician and judge of the Voice of Romania show.
We started with their statements on both billboards and personal social media profiles. Soon other business people, journalists, artists and bloggers came along.
In parallel, the website was launched: www.suntuntaran.ro; it contained an animation with the reality but mainly it gave everybody the opportunity to join the cause by personalizing a manifesto image and message they could share on Facebook. A positive behavior could now
be associated with the term "peasant". E.g.: "I am Jane Doe and I admit, I am a peasant, I never throw garbage on the sidewalk."
This wayRomanians could declare and pin themselves as "peasants" on our country map. #suntuntaran (#iamapeasant) became their national flag to hang outside their virtual windows.
Radio spots were aired, contextual stickers were given for laptops or phones or cars if now proud of being a peasant and as a second step we seeded short movies with alternative words to be used instead of "peasant" as a swearing.
People in the cities and big cities. All the people who use the term as a curse, and forget all its positive connotations. Both influencers, and usual people.
The campaign was a tremendous success and we can literally sustain it by the fact the word "peasant" was rehabilitated.
We reached, and exceeded the campaign objective from the first day, when we reached approximately 9000 social media campaign interactions and mentions: Facebook and Instagram posts, tweets, hashtag uses, press and blog appearances, social networks boomed and many were courageous enough to "be a peasant".
The campaign became the highlight of the month on social media and in the news. Positive reactions came from all corners of the Internet, helping the numbers grow organically.
VIPs from different communities wanted to participate.
Even agencies' managers and creative directors from Romanian advertising industry publically admitted "they are peasants". And that was quite a first: advertising gurus coming together as one voice, for a local campaign. An example of an agency manager's post: "I am Vlad Popovici and I admit, I am a peasant. I always support the nice initiatives, even when they come from the competition".
Our campaign and catch phrase became so popular that people started creating products inspired from it (such as mugs with "I am a peasant"). The public national television declared on Facebook that they're peasants. Our hashtag became so inspirational that people started using it in their daily posts.
And therefore the campaign generated more than 1.695.000 impressions and free media. At the end of the campaign we had more than 25.000 social media posts, tweets and hashtag uses. The number of press appearances reached 135 and over 23.800 Romanians, from more than 500 different cities, joined the website "peasants map" and became our ambassadors.
Overall we exceed the 2000 negative connotations of the word "peasant" from the past year, by an overall average of 1000% positive mentions in four weeks.
Project title: I am a peasant
Brand: Biz Magazine
Agentie: DDB Romania
Ioana Gheata / Senior Art Director
Alexandru Deaconu / Art Director
Lazareanu Alexandru / Head of Design
Costin Milu / Creative Director
Olivia Petre / New Business Director
Roxana Memetea / Managing Partner
Dan Costea / Head of Digital
Cora Diaconesu / New Business and Digital Strategy Director
Arnold Ronald Vieru / Social Media Strategist
Claudia Nicolae / Senior Account Manager
Casa de productie: Sud Est Top Production
Sorin Popescu / Producer
Agentie de media: Media Investment
Catalina Botogan / Head of Digital Media
Marius Zaharescu / Media Planner
Premii obtinute la Premiile FIBRA #1:
Bronze FIBRA - I am a peasant / 10.3 PR - Sponsorship, Partnership & Endorsements