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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 June 2005, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
'Polish plumber' beckons French
Polish plumber ad (photo: Polish National Tourism Office)
New "Polish plumber": A humorous counter-blast from the east
The Polish tourist board has come up with a seductive image of a Polish plumber to counter negative French rhetoric about east European workers.

The "Polish plumber" - a symbol of cheap labour - became a catchphrase of the French "No" camp during the referendum on the EU constitution.

"I'm staying in Poland - do come over," says the new ad on the Polish tourist board's website for French visitors.

The site carries messages from French readers praising the ad's humour.

Elzbieta Janik, spokeswoman for the Polish tourist board, said she and her colleagues were "annoyed that a negative image of Poland was being used by politicians... to avoid the real political problems".

Image makeover

The ad was produced by the tourist board's Warsaw headquarters to "help us create a positive image of Poland," she told the BBC News website.

"We have been given a label we don't deserve. After all, France has plenty of Spanish stone masons, Portuguese workers...

"This was a humorous response to the political debate - we wanted to tell the French: 'Despite the bad words about Poland you are welcome'," she said.

Posters and T-shirts bearing the handsome Polish plumber image might also be produced, she said.

"French people have phoned up to congratulate us. They told us: 'We're not dupes, we know Polish plumbers are not to blame'," she added.

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