Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Poor man's ads

It is obvious that celebrities charge for commercial appearances. Polish showman Szymon Majewski, for example, is said to have made over 1 million dollars for a series of ads for Poland's largest bank PKO BP. It is less obvious why Prime Minister Donald Tusk chose to promote the retail chain Biedronka and it is beyond my comprehension why he chose to do so for FREE!

During a recent press conference he went on for nearly a minute about how he and his family and friends shop at Biedronka and how good it is. He wasn't even asked about it! If I were a Biedronka marketing guy, I'd already be working on the slogan "Biedronka, recommended by the Prime Minister!", or something in that vein.

God knows Biedronka could certainly use a marketing boost. It sponsors the most miserable sports teams, Poland's national football team, something that has led people to say "crappy team, crappy stores." Moreover, ever since a major labour law abuse scandal a couple years back, Biedronka has been synonymous for slave-like exploitation of its workers, mostly women, in order to boost profits. Last but not least, it is fully owned by a Portuguese company.

That Biedronka is Portuguese-owned is of course not a bad thing, but it makes you wonder why the Polish PM chose to promote a foreign retailer famous for exploiting Polish employees providing cheap, low quality products to Poles.

Here's the reason: opposition Law and Justice (PiS) leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski criticised Biedronka. Yep, during a PR stunt when he was "shopping" at a local store to show how expensive food is, Kaczynski said, "Biedronka is for poor people."

So, guys and gals, if you need good advertising on the cheap, piss off Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Donald Tusk will surely come to the rescue of your ailing marketing budget.

EDIT: According to this article by Dziennik analysts estimate Biedronka revenues could rise by 2-5 percent thanks to Tusk comments, that is some 200-750 million dollars!


  1. nice post... i hear they have reasonably priced, good quality wines though. plus, compared to where they a few years ago, the public relations turnaround Biedronka has pulled off for itself deserves some kind of award.

  2. Thanks for a comment. I agree on both points - I also heard about their wines, but I have not tested it out - unlike the PM I do not have a Biedronka store nearby. As for PR/marketing they must be good given the scope of the work scandal in which, if I remember correctly, there were accusations of lost pregnancy due to work conditions. The fact that they are one of the leading retail chains in Poland after that is certainly a remarkable comeback.