Branding - Direct Mail - Leisure

Marina, reclaim the name of shame



50 years after Flemish-Italian singer Rocco Granata had a monster hit with the song ‘Marina’, a movie was created based on his life. The film simply had to be called ‘Marina’ too. But there were problems.

Back in the 60’s the song had been so popular, many parents called their baby girls Marina. But in the 90’s, the name was used to define a trashy bimbo. It was even included in the dictionary as an insult.

So how do you promote a movie with a name of shame?




The plan was to get rid of all the negative connotations associated with it and to restore the name Marina. A team of Marinas was raised to start fighting against the prejudices towards the name. One of these Marinas, Marina Dingemans, started a movement to get the name removed from the dictionary.

As well as creating a Facebook page, Marina Dingemans got together with movie director Stijn Conincx and Rocco Granata to send a personal letter to all 6,000 Marinas in the country asking for their support. 30% of Marinas responded and in their turn they organized interviews and press opportunities to maximize visibility.

They even filled a cinema theatre with only Marinas to enjoy the movie ‘Marina’ and a private concert with Rocco, which resulted in great press coverage.


While Marina was a popular name in the 60s as a result of the song,

by the 90s it had come to mean ‘bimbo’ and was used as an insult. You Marina, you…!


The idea was to get a team of top Marinas to defend the name.



All national newspapers gave the Marinas a chance to speak, reaching nearly 700,000 readers. The Marinas shared their story on primetime national radio reaching 1.1m listeners. A 15 min. debate about the name was held on primetime national TV. Nearly 800,000 people saw confident, intelligent Marinas debating the degradation of their name. Finally, over 500,000 people went to the cinema to see the movie, which outperformed all the Hollywood blockbusters it was competing against.



Today, the phrase ‘brand ambassador’ is one that gets bandied around a lot. Someone ‘likes’ a post on social media and suddenly they are a brand fan.

Now this campaign really does turn people into brand activists and it could never have worked without mail at its heart.

Writing to all 6,000 Marinas and getting nearly 2,000 of them actively involved in the idea is genius. The numbers wouldn’t have been nearly so high if the campaign had been email based, I’m sure of that. Mail is trusted and that trust turns into response.

I believe that advertising today is about creating ideas people want to be part of. This nails it.


Patrick Collister
Patrick Collister

Editor Directory Magazine

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