Advance viewings of a suggestive new advertising campaign for the Lithuanian capital have sparked a row between the city authorities and the local Catholic Church. Adverts proclaiming “Vilnius, the G-spot of Europe” will go live shortly before Pope Francis is due to visit the Baltic country.
The adverts released so far show a woman lying on a map of Europe drawn to look like a rumpled bedsheet, with her hand clutching Lithuania. The tagline: “Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it, it’s amazing”.
Go Vilnius, the agency that created the campaign aimed at the UK and German markets, said on August 7 that its intention is to “position the city as an exciting option for millennials seeking alternative tourism destinations”.
“Few people know where Vilnius really is, but when they arrive they fall in love with the city. This insight came from our conversations with international visitors, and we formulated the idea that Vilnius is synonymous with the G-spot theory – nobody knows where it is, but, when it is discovered, everyone is very pleased!,” said Jurgis Ramanauskas, one of the advertising students who came up with the concept.
While the campaign isn’t due to go live until August 9, the capital’s tourist office indicated it would be highly visible with outdoor advertising as well as a digital and social media profile.
Pope Francis is due to visit the country, where Catholics are the religious majority, in mid-September as part of a tour of the Baltic countries.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis told public broadcaster LRT that he thought the campaign, which he stressed was “the decision of Vilnius” was a “strange advertising choice”, but added that he believed “it does not cross the line in a democratic country”, AP reported.
Reportedly, the government had asked officials in the capital city to postpone the campaign until after the papal visit.
Data from 2017 shows that tourist arrivals in Q3, the peak tourism months, were up by 4.1% y/y. The top source country for visitors was neighbouring Belarus, which accounted for 7.9% of arrivals, followed by Russia, Latvia, Poland and Ukraine, Statistics Lithuania said. Neither Germany nor the UK was among the top source countries, even though the number of visitors arriving from the UK jumped 31.4% on the year.
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