Polish Prime Minister needs a lesson in Marketing

Oh dear, oh dear – just when I was starting to have some faith in Donald Tusk and his Governments ability to attract foreign investment and share the good things about Poland with the International community he goes and trips up. Mr Tusk was quoted in Time magazine as shining a particularly negative light on all things Poland – his quote follows. Tusk should take lessons from the mayor of Wroclaw who is also referenced below and shows the true character of Poland’s re-birth to the outside world:

Tusk’s quote:

“We have no oil and gas,” he says. “We don’t have high tech. Our centers of development, are far, far behind others. We will never be an extraordinary tourist attraction. Poland is quite a mediocre country in some regards. The only natural resource that we have, and with which we can compete, is freedom.”

Which country is he living in? Clearly not Poland – at least with respect to tourism and high tech. As for mediocre, tut, tut, tut Mr Tusk – Poland is far from mediocre…

The article goes on to refer to Wroclaw, “Poland’s fourth largest city, situated on the Oder River close to the German border, was neglected under communism, its Gothic architecture blackened by coal dust and its shop shelves bare. Nowadays, the elegant old market square in the city center, once the site of a few scruffy museums, is lined with designer shops, sushi bars and restaurants. Companies from LG Philips (LCD screens) to Google (service support) have poured $5 billion into the local economy in the past five years, creating 200,000 jobs in a city of just 650,000. The mayor’s office reviewed 560 investment projects last year alone. Since 2002, unemployment dropped from 14% to under 5%. Mayor Rafal Dutkiewicz credits low production costs, a good location near the autobahns to Western Europe and a deep pool of educated young workers”.

Now that’s more like the Poland I know and Mr Tusk should be promoting. Mr Tusk in the words of someone famous – “You made a real foobah!!!”

Here’s a link to the full article in Time magazine

12 thoughts on “Polish Prime Minister needs a lesson in Marketing

  1. michael farris says:

    This is the same kind of pessimism and defeatism that many, many Polish people love to engage in with outsiders (or each other) and which tends to drive me crazy. Why say something nice about your country and risk looking like a burak when you can badmouth it and show how cool you are?

    The thing is, I’ve learned to ignore this kind of nonsense, but people without much experience with Poland will assume the speaker knows what they’re talking about and believe them with generally bad results.

    It’s also the same mindset that led to some of the privatization disasters of the early 90’s where valuable assets were given away and destroyed (because people thought “if it’s Polish, it must be crap!”)

  2. darthsida says:

    Ah, the choice between a nicely wrapped candy that sells well, and a poorly selling candy that tastes true. Where some see marketing, others may see lies. Example, “His [Tusk’s] party has no experience in power”. Bwahaha.

  3. guest says:

    W wystąpieniu na spotkaniu z wyborcami w Starachowicach w sierpniu 1993 roku Tusk deklarował: ‘Mogę stanąć nago na głowie na szczycie Pałacu Kultury i powtarzać, że prywatyzacja już przyniosła Polsce biliony złotych, że polskie przedsiębiorstwa są mało albo nic nie warte i dlatego są tanio sprzedawane’

    “Gazeta Wyborcza”, z 14-15 sierpnia 1993 r.

  4. michael farris says:

    darthie, the point is that when one of the major western media outlets is asking you, as head of state (or close to it), questions about your country, that’s not the time to be deferential or modest. You stress the strong points. If asked about weaknesses you admit they exist and downplay them.

    There’s a time for revising outsiders expectations downward, but an interview in Time ain’t it.

  5. island1 says:

    Behold! A rare and unexpected sighting of the lesser spotted Darth!

  6. island1 says:

    “During the past election, for example, unsanctioned text messages urged young voters to “hide your grandma’s ID” (so that she couldn’t vote PIS).” :D

  7. darthsida says:

    => Michael, my point is: a lie is a lie (when it’s a lie, of course). Any PM is expected to highlight her / his (country’s) strengths rather than weaknesses — no argument here — but [1] only when these strengths are more than pure PR or [2] can PR jugglery-sloganery be sufficient? Opinions differ.

    PS: A better question yet: who needs an interview like this?
    The Time reader? Maybe — but they will not get truth from it, so why bother.
    Donald Tusk? Nope. — If he had needed it indeed, he wouldn’t have moaned so.

    => Island, re “the lesser spotted”
    actually, “spotting the more spotted around” would be more accurate, a case of smallpox and all the attributable fun

  8. Piotr says:

    I noticed that the words ‘faith’ and ‘Tusk’ often go together. Is he some kind of a religious leader? I know for sure that some people are waiting for a miracle which apparently Tusk swore to make.

  9. Guest says:

    I love the rhetoric of American magazines: “Companies … have poured $5 billion into the local economy in the past five years…” If they put 5 billion in – and I don’t say that’s a bad thing – I’m sure it’s because they expect to get more than 5 billion out. The word is “invest.”

  10. scatts says:



  11. guest says:

    Tusk in 1989.


    He worked in Norway on a farm for 7$ …

  12. Michał Borsuk says:

    $7? That’s not bad. I only got $4.55…. And I almost broke my back

    But seriously, the more I get to know him, the more I understand him, and kind of admire him. Now, esp. after the PR stunt with MJ, he’s going to be seen as a “guy like us”.

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