UPDATED: UK’s “Please don’t come to Britain, you won’t like it here” versus Romania’s “Why don’t you come over?”

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This week, Guardian published an article related to a planned campaign to discourage Romanians and Bulgarians in what concerns coming to UK, as British labor market will soon remove its restrictions for both country’s citizens living and working in the UK. British authorities are afraid that, once those restrictions will be removed, they will face a flood of Romanians and Bulgarians coming their way and, with the planned campaign, they aim to “correct the impression that the streets are paved with gold” in UK. Guardian didn’t offer any info on how campaign’s ad would look like or what the strategy is.

The info on UK plans generated a lot of reactions, over 1,000 comments on Guardian’s article and, in Romania, a response campaign.

Romanian GMP Advertising and Romanian online daily Gandul.info came up with a campaign that, taking in consideration how “awful” UK is supposed to be according to the planned campaign,  invites Brits to come to Romania, because they will surely love it here. The Romanian campaign includes a series of posters with messages showing reasons why British would like the country.

Gandul’s campaign runs under the tagline “We may not like Britain, but you will love Romania. Why don’t you come over?”. It aims to be an answer to intensely publicized UK campaign and a way to dismiss prejudices related to Romania and Romanians.

The planned campaign also generated reactions from Brits, with suggestions on why immigrants would better not get in their country. The suggestions, send after newspaper called its readers to send posters on how they would put off immigrants from Britain, are rather ironic  towards UK and are presented by Guardian in a dedicated gallery.

UPDATE 1: Romanian campaign launched by Gandul.info and GMP Advertising echoed in international press, with the following publications already covering the subject:

BBC News

A Romanian media campaign called “Why don’t you come over?” is poking fun at British anxiety about a possible influx of Romanian job-seekers next year. The news website Gandul boasts in English: “Half of our women look like Kate. The other half, like her sister.” The pro-Romania campaign is a response to British media reports that the UK government is considering negative ads about Britain to put off migrants.

Reuters

Romania and Bulgaria hit back on Friday at efforts to deter their nationals from emigrating to Britain, saying they were being stigmatised as second-class members of the European Union. (…)

In Britain, one of Europe’s most popular migration destinations, the right-leaning press has warned that “hordes” will pour in from Bulgaria and Romania. One lobby group says it thinks 50,000 Bulgarians or Romanians will enter every year for the first five years. (…)

Romania’s Gandul newspaper ran a series of spoof adverts on Friday saying Britons would be welcome to come and sample better food and cheaper beer, and noting that Prince Charles owns property in Transylvania.

“We may not like Britain, but you will love Romania,” it said. “Why don’t you come over?”

Washington Post

One Romanian newspaper is running ads questioning why anyone in their right mind would head for an island with bad weather and worse food, when they could stay in a country where: “Half of our women look like Kate. The other half, like her sister.” — a quip about the glamorous Middleton sisters who are popular in the Romanian press.

Huffington Post UK and Huffington Post International

UK:

A Romanian newspaper has responded to rumours of a proposal to dissuade would-be immigrants with anti-Britain adverts with a stinging campaign of its own. With the poster tagline ‘We May Not Like Britain, But You Will Love Romania’, daily newspaper the Gândul has launched a series of posters, explaining why Britons should come to Romania. It leads with the claim that ‘Half of our women look like Kate. The other half like her sister,’ and also refers to TopGear. The paper is also encouraging readers to make their own adverts in a Facebook app. National pride has been clearly prickled by the suggestion that Romanians will immigrate to the UK in ‘hordes’ after residency restrictions are relaxed later this year.

International:

“Our draft beer is cheaper than your bottled water,” boasts a second ad in online Gandul, while another notes that Prince Charles bought a house in Romania in 2005.

Behind the tongue-in-cheek campaign is a serious message for Britain.

Romanians and Bulgarians see themselves as hard-working, skilled employees with excellent English who already contribute to Britain’s economy. They say that reports they will bleed dry the welfare system once EU restrictions are lifted are both exaggerated and offensive.

“We are mocked, denigrated and made to feel like third-class citizens,” said Gandul editorial director Claudiu Pandaru. “This is a humorous, good-mannered response. We want to show the British that we have two important reserves: intelligence and humor.”

The Independent

Worried about immigration? Then go and live in Romania (Bucharest hits back at migrant fears with cheeky ad campaign promoting tourism)

‘All our women look like Kate Middleton’, Romanian ad campaign claims

A Romanian website has launched a tongue-in-cheek ad campaign exhorting the glories of their country, claiming all their women looking like The Duchess of Cambridge or Pippa Middleton, while taking a swipe at Britain.

ITV

A Romanian news website has launched a tongue-in-cheek campaign advertising the country’s attractions to British people who may wish to travel, or move, there.

Romanians counter British campaign plans

A planned British campaign to keep immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria met, there a lack of understanding – but also amusement. A Romanian newspaper counters: “Half of our women looks like Kate.”

Le Monde*

A Romanian newspaper online Gandul.info decided to retaliate and launch a campaign to get the British to settle in Romania, with more or less success.

The most classic “Half of our women like Kate. The other half to his sister.”

*they didn’t hinted though to the poster saying “We speak better English than anywhere you’ve been in France” 🙂

NPR

 The scaremongering is all over British tabloids: Romanians and Bulgarians (Pickpockets! Scam artists! Scroungers!) flooding into the UK by the thousands once work restrictions are lifted next year.

Tired of the stereotypes, some are striking back.

One Romanian newspaper is running ads questioning why anyone in their right mind would head for an island with bad weather and worse food, when they could stay in a country where: “Half of our women look like Kate. The other half, like her sister.” — a quip about the glamorous Middleton sisters who are popular in the Romanian press.

News Channel 5Oregon Herald & The News Tribune

One Romanian newspaper is running ads questioning why anyone in their right mind would head for an island with bad weather and worse food, when they could stay in a country where: “Half of our women look like Kate. The other half, like her sister.” – a quip about the glamorous Middleton sisters who are popular in the Romanian press.

“Our draft beer is cheaper than your bottled water,” boasts a second ad in online Gandul, while another notes that Prince Charles bought a house in Romania in 2005.

UPDATE 2: Mihai Gongu, Creative Director GMP Advertising and campaign’s CD & copywriter, spoke with TheWorld.org; you can listen what he said here:

UPDATE 3: Gandul’s Facebook app that allowed users to create their own posters within the campaign was deleted by Facebook twice during the 5 days passed since the campaign was launched. Latest delete came on February 2nd and, as Gandul writes, Facebook didn’t offer any reason related to why the app was deleted. After this second deletion, Gandul intends to implement the app directly on online newspaper’s website.

UPDATE 4:  Show you’re good hosts, enter your couch on Gandul’s website.

The campaign launched by Gandul.info and GMP Advertising goes forwards and enters the “Couch surfing”, trying to offer also accommodation to Brits that want to come to Romania and get to know Romanian better. Gandul came up with a couch surfing initiative, asking Romanians to offer their couch as accommodation for the Great Britain potential visitors. The 1st couch offered is, of course, from Gandul.info.

The campaign monetizes this way on couch-surfing phenomena, that involves a volunteers network offering accommodation for foreigners visiting their countries, with no taxes or payments involved. Travelers get in touch over the internet and establish the details, get to know local people and have an authentic experience in the countries they travel. In Bucharest, there are now around 5,000 people that made their couches available for foreign visitors.

On campaign’s website, there are now 2 sections, one dedicated to people from UK, that can enter here to scout for a comfy couch where they can stay when coming to Romania, and one for Romanians that can make available that kind of accommodation  .

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