Panasonic prankee who Campaign Palace says is not an actor is, in fact, an actor

Despite The Campaign Palace insisting that Rom Gulla is not an actor but a “role player”, the star of a Panasonic campaign, which will see pranks played on him over the coming month, wrote and acted in an entry for last year’s Tropfest contest, Mumbrella has learned. He has also appeared in at least one play.

The 28 Day Persecution of Rommy Gulla campaign claims that it will play a daily prank on Gulla without his knowledge of what it will be. Panasonic is inviting consumers to suggest their own stunts.

The first stunt – which went online over the weekend – features a fake police raid after helium has been pumped into his bedroom to raise his voice while he sleeps.

gulla_asleepThe video appears to show a shot of Gulla asleep. Curiously, this was taken before anybody had supposedly entered his bedroom. Although the video implies there is a hidden camera in the bedroom, Gulla is facing away from where it is apparently hidden. The shot of him asleep appears to come from a handheld camera, as it is moving slightly.  

When Mumbrella queried whether Gulla was an actor on Friday, a spokeswoman for The Campaign Palace insisted: “He’s a role player.” Mumbrella asked: “Is he an actor?”. The spokeswoman replied: “He’s not an actor.”

As well as the Tropfest role, Gulla also receives a favourable review in Australian Stage for his role in a play at Sydney’s Belvoir Street Theatre.

A profile of Gulla on the Star Now talent listing website states: “I have acted in several plays including MADEMOISELE FIFI,HATFUL OF RAIN and many others, i have just recently been in a tivo commercial and have film two hands a short film.have been doing a play called fawlty inn from 14 of june.”


  1. Che
    4 Oct 11
    10:16 am

  2. Helium is lighter than oxygen, it would rise to the ceiling. For Gulla to breathe in enough to make his voice rise, the Helium would have to displace at least half of the Oxygen in the room. Wouldn’t this be dangerous? Wouldn’t it make him lightheaded? Wouldn’t it take more than one tank? So many questions.

  3. JHG
    4 Oct 11
    10:17 am

  4. Predictably lame. And what … are we meant to assume that Gulla is oblivious to stories like this one about him online? If he’s not – like if he knows he will be pranked each day, then getting woken up in the middle of the night by “policemen” probably wouldn’t be all that alarming.

    It’s too bad – if it were real it would be excellent. As it is, it’s like a scripted advertorial on a big budget.

  5. Devil's advocaat
    4 Oct 11
    10:20 am

  6. Risk of being a kill-joy but shouldn’t they add a note to say that pumping someone’s room full of helium will kill them?

  7. Lucie
    4 Oct 11
    10:22 am

  8. Apologies in advance if this is a stupid question but I am just not getting the purpose of this campaign. What is the link with the product?

  9. richie
    4 Oct 11
    11:51 am

  10. the link to the product is the amount of recordable time you have on the player – 28 hours (or is it days? cant remember!)

    total let down this, its so staged that it loses all the appeal

    sorry guys, don’t like to bag out work but this is a great idea totally wasted.

  11. Lucie
    4 Oct 11
    12:46 pm

  12. Thanks Richie! At least that’s one question answered :)

  13. Richard
    4 Oct 11
    1:01 pm

  14. If this is emulated by any of the (presumably) unsophisticated audience it is aimed at the consequences could be fatal. Won’t that be funny!
    I can’t wait for the episode where they send him to the airport with a bag packed with explosives.

  15. sven
    4 Oct 11
    1:07 pm

  16. why didnt they just make a great ad instead of content production doomed to fail by dint of inauthenticity?

  17. lynda gray - campaign palace
    4 Oct 11
    1:09 pm

  18. At the time I responded to Mumbrella’s query I was personally not aware of the fact that Rommy Gulla had, in fact appeared in any productions as actor. I was aware, as Reed Collins from the Campaign Palace has pointed out, that he worked at a company conducting training exercises. I also told your reporter that he worked as a waiter, barista, bar tender and NRL development officer.

    Rommy was one of around 40 people who were considered for the project and was chosen because he was considered the most engaging talent.
    In his own words he is participating because “It presents a great challenge that will provide me exposure into the entertainment industry.

    There are numerous safety, legal and technical formalities that have to be covered off with a project like this and The Campaign Palace and Panasonic have ensured that all these requirements have been met.

    There was never any intention to mislead. The agency is simply looking to provide entertaining content in a new way for the category.

  19. BK
    4 Oct 11
    1:36 pm

  20. LAME

  21. AdGrunt
    4 Oct 11
    2:03 pm

  22. Stupid and dumb.

    I can only presume this reflects both the client and the agency here.

    Anyway, it’s sad to see a half-decent brand like Panasonic get flushed down the gurgler by clueless exercises like this.

  23. bad acting
    4 Oct 11
    2:03 pm

  24. Are you serious….the head of PR for Y&R group and the ECD responsible for the ad had no idea he was a paid actor…..I guess they are not real big on the fact checking over there….”I was aware, as Reed Collins from the Campaign Palace has pointed out, that he worked at a company conducting training exercises”.

    Im sure the the client will be over the moon to know the level of competence at TCP.
    The fact that this ad carried no warning about the effects of pumping huge amounts of helium into a room or excessive consumption is just crazy – in huge doses like those needed to have the effect on Mr Gulla – it can cause death and brain damage.
    Makes me think that he was given a little and the tank of gas was just for show….I guess we will never know because as it has now been revealed…it’s all just acting.

    By the way ….lets hope the pranks get a little better, because 28 days of those lame pranks will have the effect of people hating Panasonic…..which I’m sure is not the intended outcome.

  25. goodone
    4 Oct 11
    2:19 pm

  26. I don’t really want to join in on the hate fest, but I’m going to anyway. Not a bad idea but really not very well executed.

    And Lyndia, while I respect you for responding in this forum I think you missed a valuable opportunity.

    Next time I’ll write your response for you, it will go something like:

    ‘relax peeps, it’s just meant to be a bit of fun.’

  27. Stephen
    4 Oct 11
    2:19 pm

  28. If this is the first one off the blocks, I dread to think of how crap execution 28 is going to be.

    There’s a really good concept in here somewhere and full marks to Panasonic for going down the content route, unfortunately yet again an agency proves they’re not very good at executing a potentially good content idea.

  29. Rookie mistake
    4 Oct 11
    2:30 pm

  30. This does seem like it will be a train wreck for the Palace and Panasonic. Don’t you think that the head of PR would be a 100% sure of the facts before replying to questions – I reckon she wasn’t told the full story straight up. (No matter what it’s a pretty bad look for everyone involved). A great way to completely screw up a campaign before it even gets of the ground.

  31. Anonymous
    4 Oct 11
    2:33 pm

  32. That was HILARIOUS.

    I’m going to pump my friends bedroom with a tank full of helium tonight (like Panasonic did) as he goes asleep and do the same prank.

    That was funny!!!!!

    I’ll report back tomorrow and let everyone know how it went.

  33. Logic
    4 Oct 11
    2:56 pm

  34. so the big question … will the PR agency claim this article as ‘positive PR’ and assign a $$ value to it when reporting back to the client?

  35. Rob
    4 Oct 11
    3:01 pm

  36. Panasonic has form in this area, remember not so long ago the lame set of “viral” ads they pimped that got something like 11 views. Might be time to start feeling sorry for the agency rather than bagging them here – I get the feeling they wouldn’t be doing this kind of lame crap if it was up to them, maybe the client is in love with this stuff.

    How sad after some really good advertising (such as for digital cameras) they are flogging this branded content shite that fails to engage on so many levels, and even worse the debate is now about the talent, not the idea.

    Once bitten, Panasonic should have been twice shy. They are in the consumer goods, not content creation, business.

  37. D1CK0
    4 Oct 11
    5:30 pm

  38. I retract my earlier statement of saying I like this campaign and it was my favourite of the year.

    It’s already been let down by overambitious pranks that look fake, and a lack of authenticity.

  39. alan
    4 Oct 11
    5:34 pm

  40. ‘Rommy was chosen as someone with the most engaging talent’ – because he has acting ability and experience. That’s why he got the job because anyone without this acting experience wouldn’t have been as good. This is the reason we cast actors in ads usually, not real people with no acting ability.

  41. Jack
    4 Oct 11
    6:23 pm

  42. Unlike DICKO, I’m not going to retract my earlier comment that I liked this campaign. OK, the guy has done some acting, in addition to all the other ‘day’ jobs, and some of the pranks may seem to be rehearsed and over-the-top, but Panasonic is still getting the message about its new product out to the wider community on an extended basis. Isn’t that the purpose of advertising? Many factors will tell whether this campaign is effective, not just the views of those who may post on advertising blogs.

  43. mumbrella
    4 Oct 11
    6:29 pm

  44. Hi Jack,

    And how about the comment liking this campaign that you posted as “Fred” from this IP address. Do you stand by that one too?


    Tim – Mumbrella

  45. Branding agency
    4 Oct 11
    6:40 pm

  46. weak, lazy ‘creative’ thinking…

  47. what a mess
    4 Oct 11
    6:48 pm

  48. This campaign is now in tatters, the palace has lost what must be the last shred of it’s integrity (what client wants this type of PR disaster), Palace PR has no idea..don’t they talk to each other? ( hey Mr Pansonic account director or ECD, is Gulla an actor, yes or no? see not that hard is it!)…can things get any worse? Oh, and the first prank was so lame…I bet Panasonic will regret this big time.

  49. Craig
    4 Oct 11
    7:00 pm

  50. Lynda,

    It is a shame with all those formalities you had to go through that the checks never revealed his online footprint.

    A simple Google search of his name reveals that he is an actor.

    This level of scrutiny reflects poorly on Campaign Palace’s work.

    The ’28 days’ campaign does not look particularly well conceived or executed, however your client is now committed to it – Panasonic would undergo far greater scrutiny if they cancelled – so I hope you pull out all stops to recover it for their benefit.

  51. Anonymous
    4 Oct 11
    7:16 pm

  52. 2.23 in the first video

    “Done any acting?”

    “A little bit here and there.”

  53. jj
    4 Oct 11
    8:00 pm

  54. Overall, I’m surprised that TCP managed to tear themselves away from dispatching hilariously late, ugly and unusable press ads to do any background checking at all. Well done!

  55. Former reader
    4 Oct 11
    8:58 pm

  56. FFS it’s just an ad. Relax people.

  57. Anon
    4 Oct 11
    11:36 pm

  58. @Jack (comment 21)

    Clearly you’re new to the advertising industry… rookie mistake.

  59. Scott Pettet
    5 Oct 11
    11:13 am

  60. I reckon this campaign is a shoe-in for awards. Darwin Awards more specifically…

  61. Anon
    10 Oct 11
    1:14 pm

  62. Steve
    28 Oct 11
    2:22 pm

  63. I actually think it is funny!