Mobilizing a national campaign to educate and activate Americans about controversial legislation in Poland and defeat its passage
Discovery, Inc. is one of the most respected multinational media companies in the world. Its media subsidiary in Poland, TVN, maintains the most widely watched 24-hour news station, TVN24 – the last independent news station in the country. For 18 months, TVN24 sought to renew its operating license from Poland’s national broadcasting authority (the KRRiT), which was set to expire on September 26, 2021.
The process was mired in deep political divisions in Poland over the ruling government’s (Law and Justice) efforts to nationalize and “re-Polonize” all forms of media by trying to pass a media ownership law (called “lex TVN”) to limit foreign ownership of media to below forty-nine percent – forcing Discovery to sell TVN24. And the KRRiT was refusing to grant the license without clear direction from ruling government leaders. To be clear – the end goal of the ruling party was to neuter TVN24, which unlike state-owned channels, broadcasts independent news and critical commentary about the government.
Discovery engaged Resolute to support its teams in the U.S. and Europe. Together, we developed an aggressive campaign to fortify Discovery’s efforts to support its company in Poland (TVN) and to secure its license to operate – in just six weeks.
Strategy and Tactics:
Our strategy focused on launching a national campaign designed to engage U.S. Polonia across all walks of life – in a limited timeframe – to educate, raise awareness, and apply pressure on American and Polish officials to help TVN24 secure its broadcasting license in Poland.
Our work included outreach and engagement of the Polish American diaspora from across the United States including Polish American Chambers of Commerce and businesses, and elected officials who supported TVN and free media. Resolute’s in-house creative team developed a “Protect U.S. Poland Future” website, created compelling content for social and digital media and designed powerful high-impact posters for special events. Resolute’s in-house video team captured a series of video testimonials from Polish Americans – from statespeople to actors to students – and pushed these out over social media channels and the website. Several special events featuring high-profile speakers including Zbigniew “Zibby” Chrzanowski, Former Member of Polish Parliament, and Ryszard Schnepf, Former Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the United States elevated the issue. Our final targeted paid media push put the issue directly in front of D.C. decisionmakers.
The campaign aggressively spotlighted the “lex TVN” issue and the negative implications it had for the U.S.- Poland bilateral relationship and alliance. Our team directly contacted Poland’s Honorary Counsels General in America to inform them of the issue. This heightened level of engagement drove the conversation and swiftly caught the attention of Polish Ambassador Piotr Wilczek.
By fueling awareness and amplifying the voices of Polish Americans, along with the support of American and Polish government officials and leaders, we pressured the Polish government to secure TVN24’s unconditional, legally approved, 10-year license to operate independent of government interference.
Within six weeks, our victory was secured and the controversial legislation was abandoned by Polish elected officials. People stood up for the freedom of speech, free media, independent thought, truth and facts – from across the United States of America, the Republic of Poland, and around the world. And it worked.