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Polish iPhone launch had paid stand-ins

Latest update : 2008-08-22

Poland's biggest telecom operator, a subsidiary of French giant Orange, has admitted to have paid film extras to stand in line for Apple's iPhone launch in order to attract attention to the event.

Poland's biggest telecoms operator, Telekomunikacja Polska, acknowledged Friday that it had paid young, hip-looking film extras to stand in queues for the national launch of Apple's iPhone.

"It was a marketing move. We thought it was a pretty interesting strategy," TP spokesman Wojciech Jabczynski told AFP.

TP is controlled by France Telecom, which owns the Orange mobile telephone brand.

The iPhone, which had its initial launch in the Unites States in July, went on sale at Orange's Polish stores on Friday after the stroke of midnight (2200 GMT Thursday).

In other parts of the world, Apple fans have stood in line for hours -- and sometimes days --- to get their hands on the new iPhone.

On Thursday evening, apparent queues began forming outside Orange's stores across Poland, with some in the line offering to sell their slot to passers-by for 100-300 zlotys (30-90 euros, 45-135 dollars).

"The aim was to attract attention. The people in the queues told passers-by about the iPhone," said Jabczynski.

Such a marketing ploy is ironic in Poland because queues were a regular and much-loathed feature of daily life until the fall of the country's communist regime in 1989, because of endless shortages of even the most basic goods.

Jabczynski said TP was pleased with the results of the launch but declined to reveal any figures.

"We couldn't have expected the same kind of fever as in the United States given that Apple's products aren't that well-known in Poland and in central Europe in general," he said.

"A total of 38,000 people signed up on our website to be kept up to date about the iPhone before the launch," he said. "Interest for Apple's phone is growing all the time."

The iPhone was also launched on Friday in Poland by one of the country's other four mobile operators, Era, which is controlled by Deutsche Telekom.

Date created : 2008-08-22

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