After writing about such a great example of "how to" represent luxury, I am disappointed to write about a long-waited re-opening and re-branding of an old shopping "mall" in Bucharest, the COCOR. For the shoppers they will be opening their doors tomorrow...after re- and re-postponing this date during the last years.
When I first heard about the plans for that store, I was excited, seeing that they promised us and themselves to create a luxury-mall. I was before my studies for Master in Luxury Goods and Services and was thinking that I had chosen a right path for myself: a niche that would slowly but surely develop in my country as well. Plus, it was a guarantee that, whenever I would want to come back to my country, I would have a job in my sector, which was still a new sector in Romania. But the the disappointment started: the launch was postponed more and more...at a point of time I was wondering if it wasn't a bluff or just a big scam to draw some money on the stock exchange (yep, this is a listed company), but no, things started to look like they would be working again when I came back from Hamburg (around 1 1/2 months ago).
This month I heard that the launch would be programmed for the 23rd and 25th of September (first date for press and guests, latter for customers), but again,...nothing moved. Dates postponed to 30th of September (yesterday) and 2nd of October (again, press & then customers). I went to their site and was hoping for some new luxury brands coming to Romania...wrong thinking. Altough they wanted to position themselves as luxury, as written on their site and in various articles which have appeared in the press, they manage to be fashion. The brand mix is a bit weird and I will not comment on that,...if you just go to their site, you will understand. Then let's check their ad campaign: what is their positioning actually? They want to target 2 generations of people, two very diffrently culturally developed people groups, which is beyond my understanding. I remember again the words told by Mr.Potard: a daughter will never want to wear the same things as her mother did, nor will the times be the same to allow that,...this is why fashion brands can last for 20-30 years maximum,...after that, they need to reconsider their strategies. So how can you put Mr. Florin Piersic (a very famous and very talented Romanian actor over 70) to represent the novelty in this rebranding process? Let's face it, people around 70 in Romania are barely managing to pay their medicine. And Mr. Florin Piersic Junior, who I think should be something as a bridge between these generations, I don't think is the best representative for luxury. With all due respect for both of them, the message totally fails to be what they intend to do on the Romanian market. It's really hilarious to put a person over 70 on a billboard next to the message "COCOR. The future of fashion". The only future I see there is a short one, if we associate it with the person. And no,...I'm not mean. Just stating a biological fact.
The advertising and all campaign around the launch has been won, after various companies pitched, by Wunderman Romania. I come to ask myself, if they are the winners, how the pitches of the others must have been. Why am I being so drastic you might ask...well,let me just tell you a story: a few days ago a very good friend of mine found an invitation on the street to the COCOR opening on the 3oth of September. She lifted the piece of paper and brought it to me the same day, as she knew I had my professional curiosity which was pushing me to make the impossible possible to make it to the "event of the year". The next day there was another invitation we found on the streets of Bucharest, destined to a V.I.P,...just lieing in the dust of the streets. The second one had an envelope on which it was written "personal invitation" and the name of the person on it. I was surprised to see that the cardboard invitation in the envelope looked the same like the one found a day before,...only difference was the name on the envelope. So why were these invitations just on the streets of Bucharest? (great mistery) How was it possible that V.I.P.s have their personal invitations thrown somewhere in the heart of the city? I higly doubt it that they would just throw them away like that. Something started to smell fishy about the organisation of this event. As I didn't want to create an awkward situation for none of the parts but still wanted to go to the opening, I decided to call the person in charge (luckily her name was on the invitation), which I did and she told me she would see that I got an invitation. A friend from a luxury magazine called to tell me she would be waiting for invitations from this woman as well. Apparently none of the people she knew in the press (higher level press) had gotten an invitation. (second fishy smelling situation) I finally managed to talk to our architect who had also worked on the cocor project to get me in,...but in the end decided not to go. I was really fed up with all this fuss about nothing. How can you do such an awful job with the marketing? Like having, as a friend of mine nicely put it, a 3 fingers article in a street journal next to stories on hemoroids and weird politicians...
To tell you the truth, I am happy I didn't go. I looked over the press today and...nothing. And my friend from the magazine,...she's waiting even today for that invitation....
P.S.Here are some of the worst commercials I've seen lately on the Romanian market...you've guessed it, from the same project... (Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBTjfchKtaQ&feature=player_embedded)