Summary: The red thread of this campsite’s brand strategy is the helter-skelter (Romanian: alandala) atmosphere urbanites expect to encounter in Vama Veche. The quirky name of the campsite was created to resemble the babblings that would result from a long night of drinking at any of the beach bars there. Both the name and the tagline – Descalță-te de griji (verbatim translation: take off your worries) – invite you to just chill out, but they are also subtle cues to the shoe retail heritage of Zorile Store, Sandalandala’s founder.
Vama Veche is definitely the most Bohemian holiday resort on the Romanian seaside, and presumably the most controversial one. There has been an ongoing debate on whether Vama (as Romanians call it) is losing its hallmark charm as it becomes increasingly popular and populated.
One thing is certain: the people that roam around the place are as different as they get, ranging from hippies who feel like they are at home, to teenagers who come to get a taste of true, defiant freedom for the first time, or to corporate types who come to quell their longing for a bit of chaos on hot summer weekends. So the notions of order and tidiness are alien to this place. But, sadly, this also applies to the accommodation you can find there.
Our client wanted to create a seaside haven for the country’s holidaying urbanites, one that would be both bohemian and neat. They wanted to provide low-priced hosting that would nevertheless look great and offer all necessary facilities for a civilized stay. As for the atmosphere, they aimed for debauchery, only the kind that is kept within mutually agreed limits of decency and respect.
Our toughest mission was to tidy up the untidiness that defines Vama Veche and pack it into a campsite concept that would somehow combine beauty, looseness and safety.
The red thread of the new campsite’s brand strategy is the helter-skelter (Romanian: alandala) atmosphere urbanites expect to encounter in Vama Veche. The quirky name of the campsite was created to resemble the babbling that would result from a long night of drinking at any of the beach bars there. Both the name and the tagline – Descalță-te de griji (verbatim translation: take off your worries) – invite you to just chill out, but they are also subtle cues to the shoe retail heritage of Zorile Store, Sandalandala’s founder.
The name and slogan for Sandalandala convey the jumble and looseness that are a hallmark of Vama Veche. There, it’s okay to be careless and helter-skelter (Romanian: alandala) since anything that’s overly organized and neat can cause serious damage to your holiday mojo. But it’s kind of a controlled chaos, just like life in the campsite: you can have all the fun you want, but within clean-cut hygiene and security rules that are otherwise rarely seen in Romanian campsites.
The visual style conveys authenticity, being further supported by interior design elements designed by architecture studio arhiDOT. The main entrance gate, the bar, the bathrooms, even the lawn and the flower-holding piano in the middle of the campsite, they all breathe relaxation, spontaneity, eccentricity and openness at the same time.
Everything at Sandalandala is managed with a lot of concern for the environment and respect for the comfort and security of the clients. 5000 square metres of the greenest lawn, 700 trees for the shade, room for 500 tents, 80 electricity outlets spread around the campsite, 23 clean showers and toilets, free Wi-Fi, countless rounds of drinks and bites at the campsite bar, and a beautiful sea view from the top of the entrance gate are just a few of the campsite’s great features.
The bathrooms are eccentric for their cleanliness (an uncommon occurrence in Vama Veche), but also for the quirky messages spread all over them. The toilet doors make up a piano keyboard and the copper-framed mirrors are as erratic as your first attempts to think early in the morning.
”Go in anywhere. All toilets are vacant,” one announcement in the bathroom area reads. That’s the Sandalandala spirit.
We also made a facelift for the campsite’s shuttle, designed to pick up lost tourists around the resort.
Loyal customers receive pins with samples of humour specific to Vama Veche and the sea side. They’re hard to translate in English and keep the original sense and rhyme, but to give you some examples, here’s a sample: ”Left, right, left, right, belly in, chest out”, ”Kissing in the bushes is better than truffles”, ”Fish with garlic and a shot / That’s the menu of a God”.
One year after launch, our client wanted to provide extra comfort for those who needed it. They built a tent with wooden floors and beds and asked us to create an identity for it. We came up with ”The Seven Senses Tent”, and created an illustration and a rhyme for each sense. These were printed on the octagonal tent’s sides.
There’s a pun anywhere you look when in Sandalandala. Hence, the buckets-turned-chairs could not make an exception. All verses on the buckets end in the same rhyme, so they can be combined by visitors as they like.
Once the camping ready, we needed to mark its presence in a way that would stand out and, at the same time, not feel too commercial. We created three dozen (dis)orientation signs which provided hints about the Sandalandala lifestyle (not to be tried at home: ”5 pints/hour”)
The campsite was launched in 2014 on the 1st of May, when most young Romanians head to the seaside for the first time each year. Sandalandala’s launch campaign provided the first hint of its eccentric personality: all those who dared to get a permanent tattoo with the campsite’s logo would receive free
housing tenting for life at the campsite. This bold marketing move got Sandalandala on everybody’s lips and screens, as it earned the brand a lot of free media, with mentions on television, radio, print and online. It was so successful, Sandalandala made it a tradition and repeats it every 1st of May!
When the summer fully set in a month later, the campsite quickly became a popular destination in the resort. Since then, it easily goes over capacity every weekend of every summer.