Sunday, 20 April 2014



Romania’s Tourism Campaign Plagued by Plagiarism Accusations



BalkanTravellers.com   
9 August 2010 | After Romania launched its “explore the Carpathian garden” tourism campaign at the Shanghai World Expo at the end of July, a blogger revealed that its logo—a green leaf—resembled that of a British clean-transport company, in thus way sparkling a plagiarims scandal, The Economist reported recently.

“Kicking off a promotional campaign with a plagiarism scandal is not the most orthodox way to attract clients. But in Romania, it may work,” the newspaper wrote last Thursday in an article titled “Carpathian copying: Did a Romanian tourism campaign take a leaf out of someone else’s book?”

The leaf which at the bottom of the controversy was claimed to have been produced and had its rights marketed by a Belgian designer through an online library, according to the publication. It can be purchased for 250 US dollars (around 190 euro) and has already been utilized by several other European companies.

The Spanish-British joint venture responsible for Romania’s campaign, THR-TNS, cited by The Economist, claims the similarity between the two images is “coincidental.”

Romania’s tourism minister, Elena Udrea, on the other hand, has decided that the image will continue to be used for the moment but payments to the company will be frozen until the issue is resolved. The company was legally required to use original artwork rather than stock images, she says, cited by the publication.

“The “unlucky leaf” scandal comes less than a month after the European Commission issued a scathing assessment of Romania’s judicial reforms and anti-corruption measures, warning the government that it is in breach of the commitments it made upon joining the EU in 2007. The report singled out public procurement as prone to “conflict of interest and corruption”,” according to The Economist. This may explain
Udrea’s concern, who insisted that the tender was transparent and legal, and that THR-TNS won the contract because its bid was cheapest.

The contract was reported by international media to be worth 900,000 euro, most of which came from the EU.

According to the Tourism Minister, the campaign is not solely about logos and slogans but includes research studies carried out abroad to help boost tourism in the country. “As for the plagiarism gibes,” The Economist comncludes, “they may not prove that harmful,” and cited Udrea as saying, “It promoted the brand in a way we wouldn’t have been able to afford.”

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