After a few days of sightseeing and exploring Warsaw, we were finally able to visit our first Polish advertising agency during today’s excursion. We traveled by metro and bus to the Warsaw chapter of Draft FCB, one of the world’s largest communications agency networks. It was an awesome opportunity for the advertising students in our group to get a glimpse into international advertising and compare the Polish agency to those we have seen back in the States. Though our 26-person class outnumbered their small, 16-person office, we were happy to find seats in meeting spaces and creative rooms to hear from a few of their staff.
Myself and eight others met with Monika, an account executive at Draft FCB. In typical account exec fashion, she was eager and excited to answer our questions (and ask a few in return). We chatted about the advertising industry in Poland, the agency’s major clients and campaigns, the public perception of marketers, the Polish culture and more. She explained to us that though many of their work comes from the international Draft FCB hub in Germany, the Warsaw chapter’s role is to adapt the ads to fit the Polish consumer. This includes using lots of numbers and statistics, as Poles are very impressed and persuaded by facts and explanations of the functional uses of products.
After our meeting and a tour of the office, our class ventured on to the University of Warsaw’s Faculty of Management (much like Drake University’s College of Business and Public Administration). Here, during the second university visit of our trip, we were dispersed among Polish students as we listened to a presentation given jointly by a Polish professor of Consumer Behavior and the two professors accompanying us. Our lecture focused on the uses of social media in both countries; I was surprised to see that the platforms Poles use to chat and share were very different than those we use in the USA. Though Facebook topped both lists and Google+ and Twitter are recognized in both countries, the other major networks varied. The stats were as follows:
Top Social Networking Sites
USA: 1. Facebook 2. Blogger 3. Twitter 4. WordPress 5. LinkedIn 6. Pinterest 7. Google+
Poland: 1. Facebook 2. NK 3. Gazeta.pl 4. Google+ 5. Gadu Gadu 6. Goldenline 7. Twitter
This lecture, unlike our experience at Krakow’s University of Economics, allowed us to chat with students and hear their perspective. The young women I spoke with were very confused by the concept of Twitter; they felt as though there was no reason for any additional social sites if they were similar to Facebook, which has clearly monopolized their time spent online. They were also fascinated by the professional aspect of LinkedIn, and were surprised to learn that Poland already has a similar site.
Because social media has become such an integral part of American culture and media, it was hard for me to think about the Polish sites that America has not even explored using; from our conversations, it seemed as though the Polish students felt the same way. Today’s class and agency visit were both very helpful in showing us more of the “big picture” of the country’s communications industry that we are here to explore.