State bank CEC ends contract with Papaya, a sudden (/political) move before protests and a motion against Romanian government

Business, Comm & Politics, Creativity, Crisis Communication

Romanian state controlled bank CEC ended its 10 years relationship with its advertising agency Papaya Advertising today, in the wake of an important censorship motion against the Romanian social democratic government.

The anti-governmental motion is supported by a number of opposition political parties and citizens initiatives and, as a sign of support, people were called to take a day off and come to Romanian Parliament in Bucharest to show their support for the dismissal of the current government, ridden by corruption, lack of professionalism and illiteracy (in more then one domain).

Papaya Advertising was, on Tuesday, one of the companies that decided to uphold democracy and support the protest, reason why they announced, on their Facebook page, that company was to take a day off on Wednesday so its team would be able to participate the protests, should they choose to.

The announcement posted yesterday states:

We wish to announce Papaya Advertising’s clients, providers and collaborators that the agency will be closed on Wednesday, June 27th. We made this decision to give to all our colleagues the possibility to have a day off, a day during which you can find them in front of the (Romanian) Parliament, at the entrance from Izvor Parl. Starting 12.00.

Thank you for your understanding

The management

As visible on Facebook, the announcement had high impact, with over 7,000 interaction by this moment and was shared by over 2,000 times. It must be mentioned that Romanian advertising community is one of the most involved in protests aiming to support democracy and rule of law and one of the fiercest opponents to the current ruling regime, controlled by Social Democratic Party, a puppet government and a party president that was twice found guilty and sentenced to prison for different corruption acts.

Maybe the announcement made by Papaya would’ve remain confined in the advertising world if one of its long-term clients, with an over 10 years old collaboration, wouldn’t have suddenly ended the bilateral business relationship this morning, right before the protests were scheduled.

The announcement regarding Romania’s state controlled bank decision to stop the contractual relation with the agency was posted by Papaya on its Facebook page. Papaya’s announcement regarding the decision of a state controlled client to end the business relation was shared over 3,000 times and has close to 10,000 reactions, including over 400 comments.

Papaya’s announcement regarding CEC Bank’s decision to end the business relation:

Thank you, CEC Bank, for 10 years of beautiful collaboration, even for the year we worked for you pro bono.

If anyone knows the real reason they decided to end the contract today, less then 24 hours since the previous post ( the one regarding the day off for protests), we ask them to help us. Not for other reason but because, if we did a mistake regarding our professional conduct, it is good to know not to repeat the mistake also for other banks that could work with us in the near future.

If we didn’t make a professional mistake and the reason for the contract’s end is the fact that we choose to stay vertically and keep our integrity, we want to announce here and now that that is one thing that is not going to change.

We are free, and not only of contract. We are free because that’s how we decided to be.

According to, which quotes agency’s founder Robert Tiderle, Papaya received a visit from two people “who recommended themselves as employees of the Finance Ministry” and who left at the agency a paper without official markings with mentions to new stipulations to a law related to the advertising sector.

The decision of the Romanian state-controlled bank to end the contract generated a lot of reactions among people representing civic movements, journalists, and colleagues from advertising community, all manifesting support for the privately owned agency and many blaming a “party directive” that CEC acted upon when denouncing the contract.

Among the multitude of reactions, one comes from Vlad Voiculescu, former Health Minister in the former technocrat government headed by Dacian Ciolos, and one from Liviu Avram, Romanian journalist with a wide expertize in Romanian politics.

Vlad Voiculescu was Minister of Health in Ciolos government. A campaign signed by Jazz Communication for one of his initiatives received a Silver in  Health & Wellness Lions at this year’s Cannes Lions festival.

In a Facebook post, Vlad said:

Papaya Advertising is working for CEC Bank since 2007.

The ad agency Papaya Advertising announced yesterday that it “gives a day off to its people so they can protest”.

CEC Bank sent today a notification for ending the contract in which, according to Papaya, no reason is stated.

Same as mostly all state companies, CEC Bank’s role is not to serve its public or to properly manage state’s richness. Its role is to offer some sinecures and to make rich one or another from the powerful people of the day. And also, to bend its head when in front of the controlling politicians of the day.

Liviu Avram, Romanian journalist with deep insight when it comes of Romanian politics and its games, also reacted to the announcement:

Absolutely odious.

Ad firm Papaya Advertising was notified by CEC Bank that its contract is ended, after a collaboration of over 10 years. CEC Bank hasn’t offered any explanation.

A day before that, Papaya Advertising announced it gives its employees a day off on Wednesday so they can go to the protest in front of Parliament, scheduled to take place during the vote on the motion against government.

CEC Bank is a state bank. Is anyone that doubts that CEC Bank’s move was not made as a result of a call received from the party? I don’t. If I would have money at CEC Bank, I would go and withdraw all tomorrow, because I cannot trust a bank where commercial decisions are made following a call from the party.

Besides, this isn’t CEC Bank’s first mistake: 20 years ago, also following a call received from the party, CEC guaranteed with its clients money the huge fraud called FNI.

And, for everything to be rounded up, Papaya Advertising received, the same day, the visit of some inspectors from the Ministry of Finance. This is the country we are to live in.