A simple leaf started the big bad scandal that menaces to affect THR-TNS’s reputation and make the Romanian tourism brand start its story on the wrong note.
After Thursday’s scandal regarding the use of a stock photo as an element of the Romanian tourism brand’s logo, Romanian Tourism Ministry announced today, in a press release published on its site, that it will not pay THR-TNS until the situation isn’t clarified in what concerns the “naughty” leaf and other symbols commercialized over internet.
“Romanian Regional Development and Tourism Ministry (MDRT) asked today to the association THR Asesores en Turismo, Hoteleria y Recreacion SA/ Taylor Nelson Sofres, its contractual partner in realizing the Romanian tourism brand, to urgently communicate its official position regarding the press published info which refer to one of the three representative brand elements as being very similar, as form and composition, with a logo commercialized over internet”, according to Ministry’s press release.
“MDRT didn’t make any payment towards THR-TNS and will not do that until these aspects will not be clarified”, the press release adds.
After MDRT asked publicly explanations from THR/TNS and announced it won’t make any payment until the situation is not clarified, the association that made the brand reacted and said that “Romania’s tourism brand and all its components were created by us and, considering that, they should be considered as being original”.
The brand’s visual “was created following a complex process, in which were involved representatives of the Romanian tourism industry and Romanian Tourism Ministry, a process that resulted in over 70 logos and over 30 isotypes, from which a part were tested, in more rounds, on different markets, to identify the ones preferred by the potential visitors of Romania. The isotype was draw by our own designers, during a process that evolved from sketches on papers until the final form, in digital format, after a big number of drafts”, is the answer that THR/TNS offered to the Ministry.
According to THR/TNS, the drawing presented by Romanian press and attributed to Nulens and the brand element from Romania’s tourism brand’s visual identity “have many significant differences of shape, color and orientation”. The association says also that “the existence of graphic elements with a great similarity is relatively common, considering the considerable amount of drawings produced and disseminated over internet every day, in the entire world, and the big number of variations on them until the reach to the final form”.
“THR/TNS wants to communicate clear, in spite of all, that the isotype used in the visual identity of Romania’s tourism brand was developed specifically for MDRT and the similarity with the other drawing, although remarkable, was absolutely accidental and non-intentional, a consequence of two creative processes that are completely different and not related”, mentions the association, in an answer sent to Romanian Ministry.
In the same letter of answer, THR/TNS says that, based on researches made, there were established “the following main components of the Romanian tourism brand: attributes, key values and personality” and only after that they started the creative process to define the brand strategy and the visual identity.
THR/TNS mentioned, in the same letter, that the association is willing to make available to the ministry all the manuscripts, drawings and sketches realized during the creative process, in order to remove any doubts.
Also, the association mentioned that they are at Romanian’s Government disposition and it is willing to do anything to fix the situation, even “to make supplemental graphical works over the isotype”.
After receiving THR/TNS’s answer, MDRT announced it will reunite the Council that coordinates Romanian tourism brand’s project on August 2nd.
According to other information published by Romanian press, the other logo proposals were including no image at all, an oak leaf or even a little house. The slogan “Explore the Carphatian garden” received the vote from the members of the Council from over 10 different proposals received from THR, that also included the following: “to be explored”, “only for travellers” or “old country, new emotions”.
The Romania’s brand story started a few years ago, with a bunch of different ideas and a lot of different people assuming the responsibility over the time.
After announcing the start of the pitch to select the agency to build Romania’s tourism brand, the Ministry received 13 offers for the pitch. In June 2009, there were announced the 3 consortium that qualified for the last stage of the pitch: TBWA Bucharest – GfK Romania, Saffron Brand Consultants – Brandient Consult – Acacia Avenue and THR- Taylor Nelson Sofres. Five months later, the winner was announced, the criteria of selection – the lowest price – being fulfilled by THR.