Friday, January 20, 2006

Polish plumber gets the sack


Hat tip to kurczeblader.pl for this one: the brains behind Poland’s most successful PR stunt ever has been dismissed.

The daily Nowy Dzien reported that Andrzej Kozłowski, director of the Polish Tourist Board, has been given the opportunity to have some more free time for a holiday himself, by the new conservative Law and Justice government.

It was Kozlowski's idea to launch the ‘Polish Plumber’ campaign, after the negative image of Poland expressed during the French referendum on the EU constitution.

What Kozlowski did brilliantly was turn a negative – Poles and other central Europeans will flood labour and service markets, and work longer for less – into a positive, with a tongue in cheek advertising campaign that showed that Poles could laugh at themselves, even though the French were not in the mood to do the same.

And the campaign worked. A journalist colleague of mine has been to Paris twice since last summer. She says that the Polish Embassy in the French capital has been delighted by the response. French media loved it. The hunky Polish Plumber in the poster, Piotr Adamski, got fan mail from French females (and the occasional French guy - it ia a rather camp Polish Plumber!)

French tourism to Poland has increased measurably since the campaign started.

The whole thing was a work of minor genius.

And then the guy gets the sack. His critics in the government say that although the Polish Plumber was a success, Kozlowski has done little before or since.

Other campaigns have not been so successful. The follow up to the ‘Polish Plumber, the ‘Polish Nurse’, was not a great success. The caption behind the model dressed as a sexy nurse – actually a second year student at Warsaw University – which reads, ‘ I’m waiting for you’, made it appear that the country was trying to lure the foreign visitor with a very liberal idea of what could be considered ‘having a good time’.

And I don't think this government would like that very much.

Maybe it’s the political context that counts: the new government is kicking out the old guard – it’s like Year Zero. And the father of the slightly camp Polish Plumber has just gone down the plug hole.


10 comments:

Pan Emigrant said...

In fact the caption on the nurse reads: 'I'm awaiting you'. One of a chain of clumsy translations committed by ad agencies worldwide that is so long it's no longer amusing. Why doesn't someone capitalise on this?

beatroot said...

If you click on the 'Polish nurse' link I do provide the translated version.

But you can see why they got the wrong idea. A nurse standing there, lowering her glasses and letting it be known that she is doing anything at the moment but waiting for YOU to turn up. Why would a sexy looking nurse be waiting for foreign travellers? Does she want them to have some kind of traffic accident, or contract bird flu, or what? Maybe she is waiting to give you a bed bath?

DBN said...

But in the end, is the poster misleading?

Why do most expats end up staying in Poland? Because of the bison in Bialowieza?

:)

Pan Emigrant said...

I think what really completes the caption 'I'm waiting for you...' is '...to give me a decently paid job and social status in your country.'

beatroot said...

dbn - you are right of course, it's the women!! but the way I understand the nurse captionit says to potential tourists: come to Poland and get sick and go to hospital. and once youget there, there will be a tasty looking nurse to give you a bed bath!

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It won't work in actual fact, that is exactly what I suppose.

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