ROM Candy Bar Content Marketing StrategyHow would you feel if your favorite band burst onto the stage with an enthusiastic, “HELLOOOO, ASHEVILLE!” … in Nashville? Kind of hurts, doesn’t it? It’s exactly the kind of frustration that plagues the residents of Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. For years, Bucharest has been mistakenly called “Budapest,” the capital city of Hungary.

In a way, Michael Jackson first publicized the whole Bucharest/Budapest confusion back in 1990, when he announced, “Hello, Budapest!” … in Bucharest. His mistake was unwittingly repeated by major acts like Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, and Lenny Kravitz, amongst others.

Things had gotten bad. Really bad. So, ROM, a popular Romanian candy bar manufacturer, decided to step up to the plate with the amusing (and educational) Bucharest Not Budapest campaign. Check out the video for an introduction:

ROM can teach us a lot about content marketing strategy. Check out three of the lessons I found:

#1 Own a Piece of Culture

The other day, I mentioned “news-jacking” as a brand-storytelling technique. ROM has taken news-jacking to a new level. Instead of latching onto a flash-in-the-pan story, ROM has latched onto a significant issue of culture identity through its latest campaign. I, for one, won’t be confusing Bucharest and Budapest again. And who do I have to thank for that? ROM, a company that will forever own that little piece of Romanian/Hungarian culture.

#2 Challenge the Audience

The “Bucharest Not Budapest” campaign challenges the audience to engage with the message. Users are encouraged to download either a Chrome or Firefox add-on that displays “Not Budapest” every time they see the word “Bucharest” in their browser. A great content marketing campaign should always offer something of value to the user.

#3 Stir the Loyalty

As Romania’s oldest, semi-“official” candy bar (since 1964), ROM already enjoyed a good deal of brand loyalty prior to this summer. The company’s 2011 “American ROM” campaign used reverse psychology tactics to solidify that position. (ROM rebranded the candy bar with the American flag, which caused a tidal wave of backlash – exactly what the campaign creators intended!)

This most recent campaign doesn’t have to create loyalty. Instead, it stirs up loyalty by positioning the ROM candy bar (an iconic image, for Romanians) with patriotism. Kind of like what Chrsyler did for Detroit – or what Jeep did for America.

Where’s the Genius?

What’s so great about this marketing strategy? It’s a content marketing campaign that doesn’t rely on the product. The genius is this: ROM provides users with information that is interesting and, to a degree, valuable. Though the campaign doesn’t focus on the ROM candy bar, it’s impossible to engage with the Bucharest/Budapest campaign without also becoming aware of the product.

What’s your take on ROM’s content marketing strategy?