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Romania

VitalStatistics

Population: 21,393,000 (2011)
Monetary unit: Leu
Capital city: Bucharest
Major languages: Romanian
Major religions: Christian, Roman Catholic
Ethnic composition: -
Age breakdown: -
Life expectancy: Male: 69.7 years. Female: 77.1 years (2009)
Education: Literacy - Male: 98.3% Female: 96.9% (2007)
Urban/Rural split: Urban: 55.1% Rural: 44.9% (2010)
Income per household (USD): 7,840 (2010)
Broadband internet users (%): -

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Introduction

When Romania's economy contracted by 9% in 2009, and the government needed to assemble a $26 billion emergency assistance package from the IMF and EU, it seemed as though all the progress since the collapse of the Soviet Union might be undone. But just three years later, after a return to growth in 2011 and 2012, and a projected growth of 1.1% in 2013  the prospects looks rosier.

These broad economic shifts have been reflected in the country's PR industry. It is a fairly well established sector – many agencies have been around since the late 1990s, and Romanian PR consultancies have in recent years won many awards at Cannes Lions, EMEA SABRE, Global SABRE, IPRA Golden World Award, European Excellence Awards, and so on. But since 2009 the market has changed.

“Companies are much more careful in spending budgets on external advisors,” reports one agency boss. “Classic PR is less attractive to companies and corporations – most of them prefer to handle it in-house. Some agencies responded by cutting prices, others by emphasising social media skills; we focussed on our consulting  services and on how our integrated PR and public affairs services can contribute to our clients' bottom line.”
Many agree that there has been a shift from media relations to consulting. “Until a few years ago, we were focusing mainly on strategic counseling while other agencies in Romania were mainly doing media relations,” says another agency boss. “Now, the whole industry focuses on consultancy.”

The competition has become intense, but, according to at least one client, Romania’s PR agencies are rising to that challenge. “PR agencies are handling more complex projects than they used to a few years ago,” says Monica Daniela Minca, PR Officer at Renault Romania. “They are also becoming even more creative. There is much for the Romanian PR industry to be proud of.”

Media

As in many markets around the world, the Romanian print sector has been losing ground to online media such as www.hotnews.ro and www.wall-street.ro – just two of a host of up and coming online media.

Yet many influential print titles remain such as: dailies Jurnalul National, Evenimentul Zilei, and Adevarul; business and finance titles Ziarul Financiar, Capital, Business Magazin, and Income Magazine; and tabloids Libertatea, Click, Cancan.

In Romania however, television remains the most important media for most PR campaigns. Pro TV, Antena 1 and Realitatea TV are the leading privately-owned outlets, and TVR is the public broadcaster.

Major Brands

Many multinationals are present in Romania and running active PR campaigns. These include FMCG giants Unilever, Kraft Foods, and P&G, as well as automotive manufacturers Renault and Citroen, cosmetics firm AVON, drinks company SABMiller, and financial services provider Visa Europe.

Renault Romania ran a very successful campaign last year around the London Olympic Games. Monica Daniela Minca, PR Officer, explains: “We launched the limited series Mégane Olympic, presented a Renault car to each Romanian medal winner, and found 100 people who apply the Olympic values in their everyday lives.”

She continues: “We worked with agency The Practice to elaborate this campaign before, during and after the Games. It culminated in the Renault Awarding Gala which brought together all the athletes and the 100 ordinary people, and the entire campaign gained an incredible amount of media coverage.”

Minca also points to oil company Petrom as a brand that has been doing impressive PR work in recent months. “I especially admire the way they have conveyed their CSR platform, Tara lui Andrei, to the public in a very clear and inspirational way,” she says. “It is inspiring children and teachers to find solutions to build a better world.”

Agencies

According to Forbes Romania, in 2011 there were 14 agencies with revenues over 1 million euros, and two with revenues above 2 million euros: McCann PR and Nicola Porter Novelli. The full table is here

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