Vilnius Declares Itself ‘The G-Spot Of Europe,’ Offends Catholic Church

Alrighty then!

I visited Vilnius in May last year with a group of friends, for a cheap and easy weekend away. It was a pretty city, very affordable with some crazy nightlife.  We ended up running into our local ‘free walking tour’ guide on the Saturday night and staying out with him until quite late.

Unfortunately as it is so far north, even in May it was still very cold, so not much fun to be outside for very long. I’ve visited all the Baltic states, and would probably pick Riga as my favourite city.

But Vilnius is well worth a visit, and Ben is considering a visit soon.

New campaign

The Vilnius tourism association, Go Vilnius, believes the reason Vilnius does not receive as many tourists as some of its neighboring cities (I believe Tallinn is far more popular) is because people cannot locate it on a map, also saying:

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.

For those of you who aren’t sure where it is either, here it is on a map of Europe:

But Vilnius came up with a far more novel way of educating potential tourists. Earlier this year it launched a new campaign declaring itself ‘the G-Spot of Europe’

I won’t go into too much explanation of what the joke is here, as if you don’t understand it you probably won’t like hearing it, other than to say that Vilnius believes that if you can locate Vilnius then it’s well worth a visit.

Go Vilnius 2018 campaign

Controversy

Just a bit of harmless fun, hey? Well, the Catholic Church does not agree. Pope Francis is due to visit Lithuania next month (Catholics are the religious majority), and Lithuanian Priests oppose the campaign, saying:

Women’s sexuality for advertising gives ‘wrong ideas’ about Vilnius.

The Lithuanian Prime Minister, Saulius Skvernelis, admits the timing of both the tourism campaign, and the Pope’s visit overlapping is unfortunate, but does not find it offensive to public decency.

Vilnius, Lithuania (Source: Lonely Planet)

Bottom line

Although a bit tacky, this is a clever marketing campaign for a tiny country that has quickly gone viral, which I assume was exactly the intention. The Baltic states are wonderful and I agree they don’t get the exposure and visitor numbers they deserve.

Most countries would never dream of using such a joke to encourage tourism, but for Vilnius, I imagine the free publicity will ultimately be well worth it.

It doesn’t seem like the campaign will stop Pope Francis visiting, and presumably there is no visual advertising inside Lithuania, so there will be no awkward photographs of religious leaders in front of provocative billboards.

Do you think this campaign is appropriate for a Catholic country?

Comments

  1. I’m not usually one of the “let’s get offended by everything” crowd, but this campaign is obviously inappropriate. Women do have a long way to go to be treated respectably by many, apparently including James, with his breezy banter about it.

  2. Ha. Pope Francis isn’t exactly a prude (Google “Bergoglio” and “coprophagia” and see what you find.) Those who actually take traditional Catholicism seriously, on the other hand …

  3. I am so offended. I woke up offended, and have decided to spend my entire life offended. Therefore, everything offends me. Like this keyboard I’m typing on. The rows of keyss are straight, which is homophobic and offensive.

  4. Agree that Riga is the best of the Baltic cities that I have visited. Have been to Klaipeda, the Curonian Spit and the area around Joniskis, but missed Vilnius becuse it was too far inland. Might be worth a look if I doing Belarus.

  5. They should complement this campaign with a campaign that has a pitch slogan “Go VNO!”.
    I am sure that it will get attention of the Russian leisure market.

  6. If Vilnius is the G Spot then Prague is definitely the A Hole ( awful overrated dump with barely a single redeeming feature and yet the trendies flock there in their millions).
    From my perspective , that which offends the Catholic Church hierarchy is likely to have some merit.

  7. This is inspiring advertising (and as a woman I’m not offended by it in the least); if nothing else it will get people looking at Vilnius. I have and as a result I’m planning my visit (seriously).

  8. I can understand people finding Prague overrated (everyone has their preferences), but saying it has barely a single redeeming feature? How asinine.

  9. Of course the Catholics have a right to be offended. The difference is that in a Catholic country, no one goes to jail for making this campaign.

    Try it in a Muslim country…

  10. I think it depends on the types of tourists Lithuania wants to attract. If they want to attract religious Catholics to visit Lithuania, then no, I don’t think that advertising slogan would be appropriate. For English-speaking leisure tourists who get the joke (sadly I didn’t get the joke), then yeah it would be appropriate.
    I haven’t been to the baltic states since 2009 and I recall back then Estonia was the most open to gays (with Lithuania being the most homophobic.) Did you feel that has changed?

  11. Well…we are talking about it and now know where Vilnius is at so the marketing must be working to some degree even if in bad taste. I just wonder how it translates around the world to places like Asia or the Middle East.

  12. Hmmmmm I’m surprised you’d find Riga to be the best Baltic city. I’d put it at the bottom of Tallinn-Vilnius-Riga. It’s nice, to be sure, but the Old Town has less character than Tallinn and there’s virtually nothing in terms of “must do” attractions

  13. @Paolo – sorry, wrong. While Prague certainly has a crush of tourists, it’s because there are great things there. It can get crowded in the central areas, but all you have to do is go just a bit further and amazing neighborhoods with tons to do can be found. A good friend lived there for 4 years and I made 5 visits. I loved it. Walkable, beautiful, with great food, etc. Just get out of the central area quickly and an amazing city awaits.

  14. Not surprising that many of the comments are rabidly anti-Catholic. Tolerance is a one way street for many.

  15. Lithuania is a democracy, not a theocracy. The Catholic Church (and any other religious group, and any non-religious group) is entitled to its opinion, but since the ad has nothing specifically to do with Catholicism, its views should be given no more weight than any other entity.

  16. @ Mark: Should we also not tolerate Islam? Last I checked, the precepts of Islam are far less tolerant than the most extreme interpretations of Catholicism.

  17. Did I miss something? How did his become an issue with sexism? I mean do guys not also have g-spots?

  18. The ad neither offends me or influences my decision to ever travel there. Six months from now when the buzz dies down, not many will remember this place.

    My travel opportunities outside of business travel are limited to perhaps two vacations per year so I choose carefully. There are so many other truly great cities and vacation spots in the world that are “must see” on my list. And my list has grown longer since Lucky and Ford started taking vacations to special places.

  19. All the Batlic capitals are lovely, but Riga and Tallinn are better. Vilnius is overlooked because it’s not on the coast as the others are. The comment about visiting Belarus from Vilnius is spot on. It’s easy to get a visa through a travel agency and to take the train from Vinius to Minsk. Just don’t go in January when I did, as Minsk weather was typically brutally cold.

  20. Great ad! Funny, unique, makes you look closer, read it, remember it – love it!!!
    And the catholic church better damn zip it when it comes to sex….

  21. I am Catholic and this does not offend me in the least. The Catholic church needs to address much more important issues than this.

  22. It could after all….be translated as the GOD spot…I have visited this city and it’s envir since Brezhnev was ‘on top ‘…
    It’s one of the oldest University Towns in NORTHERN EUROPE….ITs now new ‘official’
    Moniker…too many ‘Brits’ have been making the ‘pleasure voyage’ to VNO,
    Let’s infuse some valid tourist humanity
    To balance the books….

  23. Are only Catholics offended? No muslims, Baptists, or women’s groups? Not a single peep from the anti-tolerance left?

  24. I’m guessing the religionists are not their target market.

    And why is Pope still flying around? Does he pay to offset his global warming gases?

  25. Reminds me of the IHOB situation in North America. Brilliant marketing regardless of whoever they offend, because we’re all talking about it.

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