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Poles move their imagination before EURO 2012

How to profit of the huge sport event to improve the country's image? As Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine is coming soon, all the host communication experts are doing their best to promote their countries.

The challenge is not only to push forward tourism but also eradicate the negative stereotypes about these countries. In Poland a special ad campaign was launched for this occasion entitled “Move your imagination”.

Poland co-organizes together with Ukraine the football championship Euro 2012 between 8th June and 1st July 2012. However, it’s much more than simple sport event. Thanks to Euro 2012 both countries became probably the largest construction sites in Europe. Over the last months, hundreds of investments were carried out, including the construction of new stadia and hotels, renovation of roads, airports, railway stations. Only in Poland about 1 million visitors are expected during the three week competition.

Apart from all this enormous construction work, there is another challenge: how to create the buzz and to make the country more attractive for the tourists?

The task is not easy because many Western foreigners don’t know anything about Poland, and the others mention just few things like vodka, cold weather, the traditional Catholicism (thanks to Pope John Paul II) and Solidarity leader, Lech Walesa (yes, I almost forgot about famous Polish plumber who – as some eurosceptical politicians used to say  – was supposed to take away the French people's jobs).

Happily, you can’t see anything of these "clichés" in the spot that the Polish tourist office had launched during the campaign “Move your imagination”. http://www.poland.travel/en-gb/wazne-tematy/poland-feel-invited/

I have to admit that I am fan of this spot that shows my country in quite unusual way. Let’s say good bye to the folk dancing groups, Royal castle in Krakow, Warsaw Palace of Culture and Chopin’s music! Instead of that – wild nature adventure (with a moose and a bison), weird crowd of young clubbers, thousand of guitarists beating the Guiness Record in Wroclaw and of course, joyful group of football fans! The message is clear: young, dynamic and hospital people are waiting for you.

I’m much more confused about the other spot created for EURO2012 by a very gifted young Polish animator Tomasz Baginski (who was nominated for the Oscar for his short film “The Cathedral”). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTbMUywuQYA

The concept is very original and creative but… Why does this fighter with white-and-red tattoo (Polish national colours) who comes to the gray land (representing Poland before Euro, I suppose) should be a symbol of country under transformation? I’m not convinced. And this guy looks a little too macho for me, to be the XXI century man.

I asked two my WebComm trainee collegues from the other European countries about their opinions. Mira from Slovakia really liked the whole Baginski spot: the idea, the computer animation and music. Contrary to her, Belgian Jan was very critical saying "what does this strange samouray has to do with the Euro 2012 and Poland? I don't get it."   

Well, and what do you think about this spot? You feel invited to Poland?

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