Controversial campaign calls Vilnius G-spot of Europe

Sure, sex is great, but have you ever tried visiting a Baltic capital?

If I gave you a map of Europe, could you find Vilnius? Would you make a bee-line straight towards it, or would you skirt teasingly around it, running your fingers across Tallinn and Riga — maybe even flitting daringly to Helsinki — before making it the focus of your attention?

If so, you’re probably not the sort of person the latest campaign from the Lithuanian tourist board is aimed at. They’ve created rather a stir with their new campaign which describes the capital as “the G-spot of Europe”. Featuring an image of a woman lying on a map of Europe and grasping Lithuania in orgasmic ecstasy, the slogan claims: “Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it — it’s amazing.”

The campaign is set to be launched on 9 August, amid claims by critics that the whole thing is not only in dubious taste in a Catholic country (a number of priests have reportedly claimed that the image has “used women’s sexuality for advertising” and “will give outsiders wrong ideas” about Vilnius), but also badly timed. The country is currently preparing for a visit from Pope Francis.

The concept and design for the campaign is the work of a group of advertising students, and is going ahead with the blessing of both the mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius, and Inga Romanovskienė, director of the Vilnius Tourism and Business Development Agency, who described the campaign as “extremely engaging”.

If and how it will work remains to be seen, but joins such campaigns as Israel’s Big Paradise campaign in which a man and a woman are lying in bed before the woman looks down and reluctantly says: “Don’t be mad, but it’s just… small. I don’t think I can go there.”

“I consider this a spot of worship,” replies the man. “It may be small, but it’s paradise.” Zoom out to reveal – spoilers! – they’re looking at a map of Israel! Oh how we laughed.

Earlier this year, New Zealand went one step further, accusing the world of a global conspiracy to have the country erased from all maps. That campaign even starred the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Arden, and was well-received as a creatively self-deprecating concept.

Only time will tell if Vilnius’ campaign will persuade the outside world that it’s a great place to come.