Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2011


In 2007 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania launched a public image campaign in an effort to create a new brand for the country, a brand that would build a positive image, rather than only counteract – defensively – negative stereotypes. An advertising agency created the new brand by merging the words fabulous and spirit into “fabulouspirit” – a word, which ended up sounding better in Romanian than it does in English even though it was intended for an Anglophone audience. The campaign encountered so much criticism that despite the plans to implement it over several years, the word disappeared from the public imagination as suddenly as it appeared. That a public image campaign can cause such a controversy shows how invested Romanians are in the sticky issue of the projection of their national self-image; it shows also how controversial still are the interpretations of their own history, which is so contested as to seem unreal and fabulated.


Review originally published in 91st Meridian, 7.2.: