Vilnius Tourism Takes Aim At Eastern European Stereotypes With Tongue-In-Cheek Campaign

Vilnius Tourism Takes Aim At Eastern European Stereotypes With Tongue-In-Cheek Campaign

Go Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital’s tourist board (which you already knew, of course) has launched a very tongue-in-cheek campaign aiming to dismantle stereotypes about its Soviet past.

A recent survey has shown that Britons and Germans are just getting familiarized with Vilnius: 43 per cent of UK and 62 per cent of German residents are aware of the city and know more than its name.

The new tourism campaign aimed at British and German visitors strives to change Western Europe’s mind about Vilnius. At first, the commercial depicts the cliche stereotypes of Eastern Europe which still prevail in social and traditional media, as well as communities living outside the region — Soviet-era buildings, drunks defacing the streets, thieves, and shady market sellers — while the narrator, satirically, describes the city as an Eastern European pearl and a photographer’s paradise.

The second part of the commercial breaks these stereotypes — the architecture and streets are colourful rather than monochrome grey, the gastronomical delights rival Europe’s best cuisines, and numerous indoor and outdoor activities gather crowds of thousands. Playful visuals are also used in outdoor advertising in target locations. The imagery in posters offers sharp contrasts between expectations and reality and urges the passers-by to be open to changing their minds about Vilnius.

Dovilė Aleksandravičienė, CEO of Go Vilnius said, “When asked about Vilnius, many international residents either don’t know it or know very little about it. It’s normal that our perception of places might be affected by what is featured in media and pop culture. Let’s be fair, Eastern Europe has many stereotypes brought on by the difficulties of the 20th-century geopolitical events,” Aleksandravičienė said. “What many don’t know is that in the last 30 years, many cities in Eastern Europe have become unrecognizable thanks to rapid changes. We are not patronizing or critiquing those who still base their knowledge of Vilnius and Lithuania on the prevailing stereotypes but rather, in a true ‘Unexpectedly Amazing’ Vilnius style, laugh at them together and ignite people’s desire to see what reality looks like over here.”




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