Tourism chiefs in Lithuania’s capital have been criticised for using a picture of a woman apparently in the throes of sexual ecstasy to publicise the city.
Playing on Vilnius’ out-of-the-way location, the campaign poster to be launched on Thursday shows a red-haired woman lying on a map of Europe with her hand gripping Lithuania.
Only the top of her head can be seen, but it appears she is having sex.
The poster proclaims: “Vilnius, The G-Spot Of Europe. Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it it’s amazing.”
The campaign, which comes ahead of the Pope’s visit to the largely Catholic country next month, has been condemned by the Catholic Church.
Priests expressed concerns that the ad used “women’s sexuality for advertising” and gave “wrong ideas” about the city.
However, it has been backed by the country’s prime minister, Saulius Skvernelis.
“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.
Pope Francis’ three-day tour of Baltic states is due to start in Lithuania on 22 September and ministers earlier asked city 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, so perhaps these steps should have been co-ordinated, but that’s the decision of Vilnius,” Mr Skvernelis said.
It is not the first time a tourism campaign has caused controversy in Lithuania.
In 2017, the country’s tourism chief resigned after an ad campaign to promote the Baltic state used photos of other countries, such as Finland and Slovakia.
The images used on social media ran under the slogan “real is beautiful”.