Monthly Archives: January 2011

Mixed feelings of a handballing nation

Mixed feelings for the Romanian handball movement on Sunday, as the Men’s World Championship concluded in Sweden. On one hand, the Romanian team ended up on an all-time-low 19th place, with France equalizing the Romanian record of 4 world titles. On the other hand, young Cristina Neagu was awarded the title for the world’s best women’s handball player of the year 2010.

Yes, the phrase “Romanian record of world titles” is no mistake. Romania was the first nation to win today’s record number of world titles in men’s handball history, four. They won in 1961, ’64, ’70, ’74. Sweden completed the number in 1999, and France in 2011. Watch below a snippet from the 1970 final (Romania in dark outfits), showing some of the magic of Cristian Gaţu, “handball’s Pelé”, or the sheer power of Gheorghe Gruia, as they say the man with the most fierce shot of all times. Read more of this post

The Romanian bargain

Romanians bargain much less than Middle- or Far-Eastern fellows, but Renault must have remembered what seem like traumatic negotiations to take over the Romanian car manufacturer “Dacia” back in 1999. Or at least, this is what the viral online-only Dacia Duster ad for the UK market suggests…

Probably building on the successful Skoda story, they want to use some sort of self-deprecation to amuse and entice British buyers. Only this time they are not mocking at the car, but at the nation, which is more tricky. Have already seen many people get offended; others are amused and at peace with the fact that, amazingly fast, associations like this have become “top of mind” in the Western world concerning Romania. Is it worth dwelling on them “for money” instead of trying to change them? Or will the quality of the car do, in time, exactly that – change the negative perceptions? Ultimately, time, and sales, will tell.

Thanks goes to AG for the reference.