Fighting tax evasion and the grey economy through electronic payments usage – The Cash Back Law

Golden Award for Excellence 2017

Public Affairs, Advocacy, Lobby

OMV Petrom & Graffiti PR


In March 2016, our client Mastercard challenged us to devise a communications strategy focused on supporting the implementation of a law project – dubbed by the media the “cash-back law” – that would support rapid cards acceptance infrastructure development by introducing as compulsory the acceptance of card payments at retailers with annual turnovers over EUR 10,000.

We acknowledged that the “cash-back law” is a far too complex communication topic for a one-size-fits-all approach. Fighting shadow economy by improving cards acceptance and usage is a global economic reality, as well as a daunting task in Romania, where 1 in 2 inhabitants have never had a card and 40% do not have a bank account.

Our objective was to raise awareness on the positive impact the “cash-back law” among various audiences, which would in turn increase the chances of the law receiving favourable notice in the Parliamentary hearings. It was imperative for Golin to ensure Mastercard would be an active voice in any public debates on the “cash-back” law, so as to make certain the law would be properly defined, approved, and, subsequently, its market impact, transparency and efficiency would be maximized. Furthermore, we needed to address strong voices that opposed the law on the ground that it generates costs too high to be supported by small retailers and it is economically pointless especially in the rural areas, where card penetration is very low.

We rolled out an aggressive communication campaign right before the institutional debates on the cash-back law project, placing the topic on the public agenda. Numerous articles in support of the initiative were continuously prompted on the frontispiece of across the Romanian media and as a result, Mastercard representatives were invited at the Committee debates on April 13, when the argumentation we have together developed on the topic played an important role in the favourable notice that was given to the “cash-back law”. Afterwards, in less than a month, the “cash-back law” was approved in Parliament. Our powerful key-messages were constantly leveraged in our communication on the topic, and soon were proactively voiced by public and private stakeholders’ representatives alike.

On November 9, 2016, the “cash-back lawwas promulgated by President Klaus W. Iohannis due to the measure’s potential to massively contribute toward fiscalization, increasing the transparency of payment flows and combatting tax evasion, through the expansion of cards acceptance – namely, our designed messages on the topic.

The “cash back” law topic was all-throughout owned by Mastercard – with an outstanding share of voice on the topic of 96.67% across more than 360 articles in less than 6 months.

Golin consolidated Mastercard’s positioning as THE driver of fighting grey economy and increasing financial inclusion in Romania.



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