Society

Coca-Cola cliché: Spaniards help ‘Polish plumber’ win Euro 2012 ticket in advert

Article published on June 5, 2012
Article published on June 5, 2012
In an advert promoting the soft drink, a Polish man who has worked hard in Spain for the past five years is wistful about his country’s upcoming co-hosting of the football championships. People in the bar offer Jacek their bottles to send SMS codes and win a trip to euro 2012. Cheesy stereotyping or not? Young Poles and Spaniards react

Pablo, Seville, 25

 ‘The only thing the advert does is tell a story. It’s removed from the nationality of the main character. You could accuse the whole thing of digging deeper into more distorted ideas about eastern Europe, but the main character is shown in a positive light and fights against that cliché in some way. To be honest the prejudices that exist in Spanish society against migrants from countries like Poland or Romania bother me more. I am a bit tired of the hypersensitivity of certain thematics but I can understand if this annoyed Polish people. It could have been the same thing if the clip was about a Spaniard in Germany. Actually, the most interesting thing about the advert actually is that someone found a job in Spain - in the construction sector!’

Natalia, Warsaw, 29

‘That's so sweet! I love it. It gives a really good impression of the Polish guy - hardworking, supporting his family back home, speaking Spanish, assimilated, and obviously liked in his neighbourhood. By the way everybody wants to help him you can see that he is a part of that group. Also, nowadays everybody, Spanish people maybe above all, know best about saving money, and those people in this advert seem to know what is like to count every euro (the young waitress, the Manuel, the older man - all members of higher risk groups). The advert actually says that ‘friendships are the most valuable capital and you can see it in times of crisis.’

Cristina, Oviedo, 24

‘Only Coca-Cola can come up with an advert like this one. They always try to appeal to our deepest feelings. It’s true that we can say they've used the ‘cliché’ of the poor Pole coming to Spain to do the kind of jobs that the Spanish don´t want to do anymore, but this is not the idea behind it. They just wanted to show that the Polish did not earn enough money to afford a trip back home. Years ago, people working in construction used to earn lots of money, but that's not the case anymore. These sporting events can inspire gestures of solidarity: buy a coca-cola and you'll be helping someone fly home to his or her family. As an advert, the message is perfect: direct, sensitive and touching. Let´s stop finding controversy everywhere.’

Aleksandra, Wroclaw, 26

‘It could have been worse. I don't know anything about Poles in Spain, so maybe they would be like this construction worker, who is also a loving father and a person who has a random habit of keeping his shoes outside, on the balcony. More seriously, the only damage that this publicity may do to the image of Poles is that people will take Jacek for an average Pole in general. But I guess that would be silly, wouldn't it? Let’s move on, go to Poland for euro 2012, and get our own opinions.’

Isabel, Plasencia, 27

‘It’s the typical sentimental message that Coca-Cola give out, always looking for that easy tearjerker moment. I usually feel so critical about these kind of adverts, but they end up moving me nonetheless. This is a good ad; it’s the story of an immigrant in Spain, and it gives you an idea of his integration and social reception. It’s not overly cheesy.’

Marysia, Warsaw, 26

‘It's nice that with all the negative PR that Poland seems to get, like Poles coming and ‘stealing’ work (I would have mentioned the plumber and the nurse, but it's boring), catching and eating swans in the UK (according to the Daily Mail that's what we eat) or all the opinions on Polish racism and bad behaviour in the stadiums, that what has emerged recently is a positive image of Poles - never mind that this is a soft drink commercial used to sell more drinks.’

Video: (cc) Brzocha23/ youtube.com