Mineral water company Staropolanka are facing a social media backlash after they announced a new tie-up with the 'patriotic' clothing firm 'Red Is Bad'.
The Polanica-Zdrój based mineral water producer announced the launch of a special edition 'Red Is Bad' bottle on Facebook earlier today, only to be met with seething criticism and calls for a boycott.
The post on Facebook reads as follows:
Staropolanka, together with the brand named Red is Bad, introduced a limited edition water with a label inspired by the Polish flag.
This is our country. Our history and tradition. Our colours.
Staropolanka – the highest quality Polish mineral water extracted from Polish sources for more than 100 years. The Klodzko Spa water is a treasure in a bottle.
RED IS BAD is a clothing brand strongly inspired by Polish history, which performs the entire production of its clothing in our country.
Red Is Bad, along with Surge, have been the main benefits of the boom in so called 'patriotic' products, whether it be t-shirts or other merchandise. The market for such products is now bigger than ever, and Red Is Bad currently have some branches in high profile locations, such as Krakow's old town. Surge also have a branch in Arkady shopping centre here in Wrocław.
Pawel Kukiz wore Surge branded T-shirts frequently during his presidential election campaign in 2015, while current President Andrzej Duda was also photographed in 2015 wearing a polo shirt manufactured by 'Red Is Bad' (ironically on a state trip to communist China).
On top of that, several patriotic films have been produced for the same target market, including the likes of Sierpniowe Niebo and Historia Roja. Small companies have been jumping on the bandwagon too, producing all kinds of goods, including children's toys. Last year a soft drinks company even launched a "Cursed Soldiers" energy drink.
Virtually none of Red Is Bad's clothing range can be considered as racist, however the brand is often associated with football hooligans and right wing fanatics who have racist views. Several of the company's t-shirts also proudly show off the firm's anti-EU stance.
Others dislike such clothing lines as they feel the casual t-shirts belittle historic Polish symbols and make them look like corporate sport logos.
These fears have been influential in the decision by the Warsaw Uprising Museum, in collaboration with the special Polish military unit JWK Lubliniec, to launch an awareness campaign about the appropriate use of patriotic symbols.
The negative associations regarding the Red Is Bad brand was enough to spark a torrent of angry comments on Staropolanka's Facebook page.
Here is just a snip of some of those comments (electronically translated).
Are you about to boycott Staropolanka? Or is the criticism just way over the top? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.