A poster for Go Vilnius, a development agency for Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, seen on 10 August 2018, stated in red text “Nobody knows where it is, but when they find it - it’s amazing. VILNIUS THE G-SPOT OF EUROPE”. The ad featured an image of a woman, visible from the upper part of her face. The woman was lying on material printed with a map of Europe, with her hair splayed out behind her head. Her eyes were closed and she had one arm raised above her head, gripping the material in her hand at the point on the map where Vilnius was located.
The complainant, who believed the ad was overtly sexual and the image of the woman was unrelated to the product, challenged whether the ad was offensive.
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 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 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.
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.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule
Marketing communications must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. Compliance will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards.
Marketing communications may be distasteful without necessarily breaching this rule. Marketers are urged to consider public sensitivities before using potentially offensive material.
The fact that a product is offensive to some people is not grounds for finding a marketing communication in breach of the Code. (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.
No further action required.