Tourism chiefs in Lithuania’s capital have come under fire for a sexualised advertising campaign to promote the city as the Pope prepares to visit next month.
The campaign for Vilnius features a woman lying on what looks like a bed sheet printed with a map of Europe. Her hand grips Lithuania in a way that suggests sexual pleasure.
The text above her reads: ‘Vilnius, the G-spot of Europe. Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it, it’s amazing.’
Tourism chiefs in Lithuania’s capital have come under fire for this sexualised advertising campaign to promote the city
The campaign has been criticised by the Catholic Church and comes as Pope Francis prepares to visit the country next month.
His tour of Baltic countries is supposed to start in Lithuania, where Catholics are the religious majority.
Lithuanian priests expressed concerns that the ad used ‘women’s sexuality for advertising’ and gave ‘wrong ideas’ about Vilnius, a city with a population of 540,000.
The government had earlier originally asked Vilnius officials to postpone the ad’s launch until after the papal visit.
And even though Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said he does not find the campaign, set to be launched on Thursday in London and Berlin, offensive to standards of public decency, he acknowledged its timing was ‘rather weird’.
‘I think it’s a strange advertising choice, but I believe it does not cross the line in a democratic country,’ Mr Skvernelis told Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT.
The city of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The government had earlier originally asked Vilnius officials to postpone the ad’s launch until after the papal visit
‘As to the timing, we are speaking about a very important visit to Lithuania,’ the prime minister added, referring to the pope’s visit.
‘So perhaps these steps should have been co-ordinated, but that’s the decision of Vilnius.’
However, Inga Romanovskiene, the manager of the Go Vilnius tourism agency behind the campaign, called the pope’s visit ‘a very important event but said the city also wants to attract new visitors’.
She explained: ‘When it comes to attracting the modern tourist we’re dealing with a very high level of competition with other European cities and countries investing heavily in destination marketing.
‘The young creatives who came up with “Vilnius; the G-spot of Europe” presented an extremely engaging idea to drive interest in the city.
Pope Francis, pictured, is scheduled to visit Lithuania in September during a tour of the mainly Catholic Baltic nations
‘Go Vilnius looks forward to welcoming new international visitors to Vilnius and continuing to promote the city’s best tourism attractions and experiences.’
The controversial campaign concept was created by Lithuanian advertising students who sought to draw international attention to Vilnius and its potential as an alternative European city-break destination.
One of the campaign’s student creators, Jurgis Ramanauskas, added: ‘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!’