Romanians are…

Rosie Baker is Marketing Week’s specialist on sustainability and retail.

Romania is taking an interesting approach to search marketing in a bid to improve its perception abroad.

Google searches for the phrase “Romanians are…” offer up negative suggestions such as   “Romanians are rude” or Romanians are lazy”.

In a bid to reverse this, Romanian chocolate bar maker Rom and advertising agency McCann Erickson, want to encourage people at home in Romania and abroad to search for phrases such as “Romanians are smart” to change the automatically generated search terms served by Google and give a better picture of Romania online.

Apparently bloggers and high profile Romanians are backing Romanians are Smart campaign, and I hope they help change the swathe of negative opinion about its cities and people.

I tried it today, a week after the campaign launched, and the first three results that came up were: ugly, gypsies and rude, so there’s still a way to go. Although Romania shouldn’t feel bad – it’s not the only nation that gets a bad rep from Google’s automated search terms.

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English folk don’t fare much better according to my search results. The first three terms that come up next to “English people are…” are rude, boring and arrogant.

Americans get dumb, annoying and fat, but they also get the more positive option: “aren’t stupid”.

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Canadians do better, in an interesting kind of way. “Canadians are…” returns hot and weird, alongside afraid of the dark and boring. The French get rude, gay and arrogant, Germans get rude, weird and not funny,  Scottish people are rude, racist and crazy apparently. So it looks like we could all do with improving our search terms and marketing our nations better online.

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