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Where is the G-spot of Europe? Risqué ad suggests the north

January 16, 2019 Headline News No Comments

A witty ad campaign promoting a city as “the G-spot of Europe” has managed to generate extra publicity after someone complained that it was offensive. The objection has been examined at length by an advertising standards watchdog.

Go Vilnius, a development agency for Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, launched an ad campaign stating: “Nobody knows where it is, but when they find it – it’s amazing. VILNIUS THE G-SPOT OF EUROPE”.

The ad (which came under fire from Lithuania’s Catholic Church when it was launched) features an image of a woman, visible from the upper part of her face. The woman is lying on material printed with a map of Europe, with her hair splayed out behind her head. Her eyes are closed and she has one arm raised above her head, gripping the material in her hand at the point on the map where Vilnius is located.

A complainant took issue with it, complaining to Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the ad was overtly sexual and the woman was unrelated to the product, which made it offensive.

The power behind the ad, Public Institution Go Vilnius (Go Vilnius) said the ad took a playful approach which aimed to be attention-grabbing in order to introduce consumers to Vilnius as a tourist destination, a place that may not have previously been on their radar.

They said it was not correct that the woman featured in the ad was unrelated to the product, because many people did not know where Vilnius was and the woman was clearly identifying the location of Vilnius, and therefore was relevant.

Go Vilnius also said they considered the ad was not overtly sexual and that the medium was appropriate for the ad, which was targeted at a millennial audience. They highlighted that only one complaint had been received about the ad, and therefore they did not consider that widespread offence had been caused.

Outdoor Plus, which handled the posters, said they considered the ad was suitable in the medium because it clearly related to a tourist destination, and it was unlikely that children would understand the messaging in the creative.

The ASA threw out the complaint. In a ruling, it said it considered that the ad was risqué and sexually suggestive in tone, due to the reference to “VILNIUS THE G-SPOT OF EUROPE”, and the image of the woman gripping the map with her eyes closed.

“However, we considered the ad portrayed that suggestiveness in a light-hearted and humorous way, for example through the statement “Nobody knows where it is, but when they find it – it’s amazing”, and because the woman appeared in a surreal and unrealistic scenario, indicating the location of Vilnius on the map of Europe. We considered the ad did not contain anything which pointed to an exploitative or degrading scenario or tone.

Didžioji Street, Vilnius

While we acknowledged that some might find the ad distasteful, we considered, for the above reasons, the ad did not objectify the female character and we concluded it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Written by Peter Needham

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