Unirea Shopping Center

reviving the legend

Background – When constructed in the 70’s, Unirea was the biggest shopping center in the entire country. While it is still very much a Bucharest landmark, some of its aspects have lost their shine, especially when compared to all the malls that have appeared throughout the years.
There is nothing wrong with being old school or retro, but it’s just not right for some types of business, especially shopping. It’s also hardly a good idea or a recipe for success when you’re competing with the new kid on the block.

Challenge – Unfortunately, the age showed through social media and it wasn’t retro or old school, it was just old and flat with no real appeal. The first order of business was to renew it and dust it off. However, simply being on par with the competition (social media wise) wouldn’t be enough. Just because it would start talking like a mall, that didn’t mean it became one so the illusion would be shattered immediately – a big no-no if you actually want to keep customers coming back again and again.
Instead, Unirea had to find its own unique voice. But how do you make the oldest shopping center compete with the new, state of the art shopping malls?

The status quo – Most shopping malls build their communication around their brand catalog which can be a double-edged sword. Having rarer brands helps distinguish you, but when you have more of the same as everybody else, you’re in danger of becoming a placeholder because your competitors are going to run the same assets. Some are better at this than others.
We knew that even though we were using some of the same materials, we had to make it different somehow.

The idea – The thing about shopping in Unirea is that you can find pretty much anything under the same roof. So, what if you were to find pretty much every type of visual content on its page? Photos, videos, animations, GIFs, illustration and everything in between and all of it having a particular flavor. Most competitors don’t really have a brand color pallet, Unirea made one and started using it as often as possible.
This way, there would be no way of mistaking a Unirea post with any other.

The content –Everything that made Unirea unique was articulated in a fun way. The fact that it’s a landmark was translated as the first check-in spot in Romania; instead of simply presenting the plentitude of products is has to offer, these were introduced through silly, tongue in cheek questions; the Unirea Dictionary took the definition of simple, everyday activities and placed them in the context of the store as to highlight its advantages.
This mix of fun content and varying visual styles also did something the competition failed at: it actually became engaging!

The end results – The social media feeds now looked like something completely different, with a unique flavor and tone and soon users started gathering on the page.
The number of page likes and followers increased by more than 50% the first month and steadily raised during the second. More than 200.000 people were reached by the new communication and the number of page views more than doubled.
All in all, Unirea is anything but dusty or old school. The oldest shopping center in Romania now has a modern look that is both relevant and engaging.