Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Crackheads of Krakow

Krakow was one of the hottest vacation destinations in Europe. But, the city's miserly promotional budget for this year, coupled with reckless spending, have left Krakow broke. Krakow is the only large Polish city that will not be advertising itself on CNN International to 140 million viewers.

In an article in the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, it has been revealed that Krakow's authorities resigned from a gigantic advertising campaign for a bargain price on CNN International. Krakow was to show itself in several hundred advertising spots on the international news channel for 900 thousand zlotys.

The weak dollar and the positive approach of CNN bosses to Poland led to budget prices being offered for the campaign, which has the potential of reaching 140 million viewers worldwide. CNN offered several hundred prime-time ad slots to the authorities of Krakow, Lodz, Gdansk and Warsaw - only Krakow declined.

What's the reason behind the sudden offer to Polish cities? The commercials are to form a background to a week-long series of CNN International programmes focusing on Poland under the banner "Eye on Poland: Country at the Crossroads."

CNN says it wants to focus on the color and contrast of one of Europe's fastest developing nations - from business and politics to pop culture.

Officials from the City Promotion and Marketing Bureau can only despair, as their budget this year was only four million zloty, compared to 17 million allocated by Lodz and nine million by Szczecin (which is half the size of Krakow). The director of the bureau said: "This expenditure was not foreseen in this year's budget, and any money we had left went to finance the 'rescue' advertising campaign on the National Geographic and BBC channels earlier this year, after figures showed a 20 percent drop in visitors to Krakow." All this is after city councillors spent three million zloty on a mock battle and a series of other events to commemorate the victory of the army of Polish King Jan III Sobieski in the Battle of Vienna in 1683.

"For that amount of money we could have had three advertising campaigns. This kind of opportunity is unlikely to present itself again, [and] it's difficult to expect the CNN will want to feature Poland again in the next few years," says the owner of a tourist guide for the city.
Gazeta Wyborcza also brings to light the fact that the decision against the campaign was influenced by the Epoka advertising agency, which would have produced the Krakow commercial. Their representatives persuaded City officials not to promote Krakow on CNN International in October because viewers at that time will only be interested in coverage of the US presidential elections."It's crazy to miss out on such an opportunity because of the presidential elections. The increased viewing of television news is fantastic for the three Polish towns that are advertising themselves. It's a shame because it's too late for Krakow now. Besides, I have the impression that those who are worried about Krakow's campaign being crushed by the presidential elections are not differentiating one simple thing. CNN International has news from the USA, [but] it doesn't dominate, unlike American CNN where it is the main feature," said former Polish TV U.S. correspondent Katarzyna Slawinska.

Source: Krakow Post

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lech for President, Again, maybe

Lech Walesa, Solidarity hero, recipient of the Nobel Peace prize and one-term former Polish president, has announced that he does not rule out the option of running for president yet again.

During the presentation of his autobiography in Gdansk, he highlighted the fact that he has not entirely considered the decision.

The Polish constitution allows an individual to serve for two full five-year terms as president. Walesa served out one full term, ran for reelection in 1995 and lost to Aleksander Kwasniewski.

When asked about his selection to the EU ‘wise men’ group, Walesa replied that he hopes he will be able to influence the EU in “new directions.”

The former president was in Gdansk promoting his new book – Walesa: The Road to the Truth, an Autobiography. He stated that he would like to publish two more books “in order to increase his chances of getting a Nobel Prize for Literature.”

Hold or Fold on Złoty

PM Donald Tusk is promoting adoption of the Euro in Poland, but for this to happen the government needs to reach an agreement with President Kaczynski and the opposition, who oppose the idea of introducing single currency in Poland as early as 2012, the government’s target date.

According to Dziennik daily, the ruling Civic Platform party is ready to accept an opposition demand and hold a nation-wide referendum on the single currency in Poland.

Poland's economy has been relatively unaffected by the global financial melt-down while the Euro has steadily dropped in value against the U.S. Dollar and other currencies.

In order to put the plan into practice the government needs to change the constitution. For this to happen the government needs to solicit support of the President and the opposition. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the largest opposition party in Poland, Law and Justice, has indicated that an entry date of 2020 or even 2025 is a more realistic proposition, believing that too early an entry into the Euro Zone would be harmful for Poland’s economy.

Sometimes governments do stupid stuff. Read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - better yet listen to it on audio book it is one of the longest novels in the world at 1,000 pages, nearly 700,000 words and 12 hours of listening. Who's John Galt?