Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Urban readings – a needed Romanian campaign

Before coming to the small town of Stirling, I spent all my life in Bucharest, a big, crowded, noisy city. And travelling with the public transport to the place of interest was a real exercise of patience, as I used to lose two hours a day for this 'productive' activity. And because it was no use in 'admiring' the grey walls which I already knew, I used to listen to my music and stare into vacancy or read a book.

Which is why I really appreciated the campaign Urban Lectures developed in Bucharest by a romanian association involved in social projects, Civika.ro. The idea of the campaign is to encourage people to read while commuting, by choosing a day in each month, in which volunteers would read in the subway and offer free books to the travelers.

But this campaign is more than just a nice, original idea. It is actually well-grounded in the romanian context. A recent survey developed by GfK Romania, which revealed the reading habits of romanians, shows some alarming results. Romanians read only three times a month, and a third from the respondents never read. Also, only one from three persons bought books in 2009.

This is why I think this campaign is a good idea, because it managed to communicate that we actually have free time to read, the free time that everyone is complaining about.

Other campaigns on the same theme were Adevarul Library or Library for all, developed by two of the major newspapers in Romania, which sell once a week a book together with the newspaper.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post to think about the habits of certain publics (in this case, people who must travel from different suburbs or residential areas to the centre of Bucharest to work) and how different initiatives may arise. It’s quite striking how the editors found this fact to encourage the reading of books among citizens all over the world; with examples from Lima (http://pbcs.nireblog.com/) to libraries in certain stations of the Metro of Madrid (http://www.topmadrid.com/2006/12/bibliometro-la-biblioteca-pblica-en-el.asp).
    Some other initiatives have been also quite interesting, such as free newspapers (prepared for a reading of an average of 20 min, as the case of Metro in London http://www.metro.co.uk/home/) or the installation of LCD screens which offer fresh news or the weather as in the case of the underground of Shangai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Metro#Passenger_Information_Systems) or buses with Wifi in California (http://www2.actransit.org/news/articledetail.wu?articleid=5c933dca&PHPSESSID=8fb7d2e5402323115a00b9f7f461c3f0&r=n).
    How should the PR practitioners take advantage of this –more than probable –unique non-stressed moment of people living in huge cities?