Who remembers the times when you went to Pewex for quality products and the transaction in the store was often accompanied by the argument “it’s from aboard”? Times have changed and despite the still present stands with “German chemistry”, Poles are increasingly declaring their willingness to choose a Polish product over foreign – especially when it comes to food. The trend of weaving Polishness into communications is therefore nothing new, but we have observed its significant intensification in recent months. This is a new area of communication for brands that have been producing in Poland from the start. However, some marketers are tempted to use it, even though their products have nothing in common with Poland. Well, maybe the willingness to make a profit on Polish customers.
OUR POLISH PRODUCTS – EVEN IF NOT POLISH
Already in 2017, a certain Krystyna Pawłowicz filed a civil lawsuit and what is essential – she won against the Schwarz concern, the owner of the Kaufland brand. From that moment Kaufland could not use the slogan “our Polish products”. Recently, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) dealt with a similar application regarding Biedronka, as this network marked imported fruit and vegetables with the labels “Polish product”. The company faces a penalty of up to PLN 5.7 billion, which is to represent 10% of annual turnover. The offence seems trivial – but still misleading to consumers. Especially that they declare in surveys (Publicis Groupe, Street 2020) that they are encouraged to buy Polish food primarily by … foreign food chains such as Biedronka, Lidl, or Kaufland. After all, the stores gave Poles proper lessons; however, at least for UOKiK went a bit too far.
“TRADITIONAL POLISH” FASHION BRANDS
On the other hand, Polish fashion brands went far too far. The first fashion scandal broke out when it turned out that the owner of a Polish fashion brand with a familiar name Veclaim, lied about the origin of products, sewing clothes in Morocco, and in Poland only replacing the tags. And so clumsily, that was caught by the stylist, who shared it on her Instagram. By way of this scandal, similar fashion “sins” of other Polish designers came out, including Local heroes, also replacing the tags of a foreign supplier, as well as the Wishbone “unique luxury bracelets” brand, found on the Chinese Alliexpress by inquisitive fans for a fraction of the price. Raising prices is not a scam. However, saying that the brand supports the Polish clothing industry to justify high prices while importing products from China or Morocco is misleading customers. Especially when the noble mission of the brand and the promise of the product, manufactured by Polish dressmakers, grateful to clients for the opportunity to work in Polish sewing shops, turns out to be a Chinese T-shirt, for which we pay several hundred PLN. Raising prices is not a scam. However, saying that the brand supports the Polish clothing industry to justify high prices while importing products from China or Morocco is misleading customers. Especially when the noble mission of the brand and the promise of the product – the creation sewn in sweat by Polish dressmakers, grateful to clients for the opportunity to work in Polish sewing shops – turns out to be a Chinese T-shirt, for which we pay several hundred PLN.
„POLISH BRAND” – EASY TO SAY (BUT HARDER TO VERIFY)
However, the above inept actions of Polish fashion brands show us how the ethnocentrism trend is evolving. It is no longer enough to be a Polish brand, because what conquers the hearts of consumers – is Polish production. And so consumers declare – the willingness to support local businesses is the main factor in choosing Polish non-food products. However, if you want to check whether our favourite cheese is actually produced in Poland or only imported to Poland – we will have much difficulty. Both the “Polish” EAN 590 code, recently propagated by the Polish government in the campaign with celebrities, or the “Pola” app – do not indicate the country of production, but only the country of … product registration. So there is still space for abuse for “evil” marketers, but also a communication niche for those who produce in Poland and can boast about it.