An ad telling people to visit the 'G-spot of Europe' sparked controversy. Now it's actually boosting tourism.

No reward comes without risk - or in the case of Vilnius - risqué. The capitol city of Lithuania has a population of 570,000 and regularly makes lists as an underrated and inexpensive European destination. Lonely Planet called it a "hidden gem" of Europe. In 2016, it was rated the third cheapest destination for a bachelor party in Europe by FairFX. And you've probably never heard of it. In August of 2018, the city started running racy ads to increase tourism, calling it the "G-spot of Europe." The ad features a woman grabbing a map of Europe, clutching the spot where Vilnius is located. "Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it – it's amazing," reads the caption.

VILNIUS - THE G-SPOT OF EUROPE youtu.be


The sexy ads were conceived by students. "As for the insight, we realized that it's true from our experiences abroad when we kept getting blank looks after telling people we're from Vilnius," Jurgis Ramanauskas, who worked on the idea, told The Drum. "Also, we've noticed that foreigners who came to our city or even decided to stay here were very satisfied with their experience. And of course, the seed for all of it was laid out in the brief."

VILNIUS - THE G-SPOT OF EUROPE (3) youtu.be

The ads were published on International Orgasm Day, coincidentally a month before the Pope was scheduled to visit the predominantly Catholic country. Lithuanian priests were offended over the ad, and the bishop of Vilnius said the ads present the city as a "sex tourism city." The Prime Minister of Lithuania had no problems with the racy ad itself, but wanted the city to wait until after the Pope's visit to launch their campaign. It did not.

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After the ads went up, the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority only received one complaint. It rejected the complaint, saying the ad was not "exploitative or degrading" and "unlikely to cause serious or widespread offense." John Oliver even praised the idea on "Last Week Tonight," saying, "If other destinations are smart they will follow Lithuania's lead, and come up with their own adults-only tourism slogans."

John Oliver talks About Vilnius G-Spot campaign youtu.be

Despite the controversy, the image of a woman in ecstasy made people come – to Vilnius. The ad reached an audience of 600 million people, appearing in over 1,000 media publications. 100,000 people visited the campaign's equally cheeky website, vilniusgspot.com. Google searches for the city tripled as people attempted to find Europe's G-spot.

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Tourism for Vilnius also increased. In the year since the ads have been out, tourism has been up by 12.5%. Visitors from Germany and the U.K., the primary markets for the campaign, saw a spike, with an increase of travelers up by 37.8% and 20.5% respectively.

The ads also won best destination campaign for a city at the International Travel and Tourism Awards, beating out Dallas/Ft. Worth. As they say, sex sells, and apparently it wins awards, too.

You gotta love a city (and an ad campaign) that doesn't take itself too seriously. Who's up for a trip to Vilnius?

Pexels / Julia M Cameron
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In the last 20 years, the internet has become almost as essential as water or air. Every day, many of us wake up and check it for the news, sports, work, and social media. We log on from our phones, our computers, even our watches. It's a luxury so often taken for granted. With the COVID-19 pandemic, as many now work from home and children are going to school online, home access is a more critical service than ever before.

On the flip side, some 3.6 billion people live without affordable access to the internet. This digital divide — which has only widened over the past 20 years — has worsened wealth inequality within countries, divided developed and developing economies and intensified the global gender gap. It has allowed new billionaires to rise, and contributed to keeping billions of others in poverty.

In the US, lack of internet access at home prevents nearly one in five teens from finishing their homework. One third of households with school-age children and income below $30,000 don't have internet in their homes, with Black and Hispanic households particularly affected.

The United Nations is working to highlight the costs of the digital divide and to rapidly close it. In September 2019, for example, the UN's International Telecommunication Union and UNICEF launched Giga, an initiative aimed at connecting every school and every child to the internet by 2030.

Closing digital inequity gaps also remains a top priority for the UN Secretary-General. His office recently released a new Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. The UN Foundation has been supporting both this work, and the High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, which made a series of recommendations to ensure all people are connected, respected, and protected in the digital age. Civil society, technologists and communications companies, such as Verizon, played a critical role in informing those consultations. In addition, the UN Foundation houses the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), which advances digital inclusion through streamlining technology, unlocking markets and accelerating digitally enabled services as it works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

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However, if people don't take the vaccine, there will be no end to this horror story.

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This year, we've all experienced a little more stress and anxiety. This is especially true for youth facing homelessness, like Megan and Lionel. Enter Covenant House, an international organization that helps transform and save the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway, and trafficked young people.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is Delivering Smiles this holiday season by donating essential items and fulfilling AmazonSmile Charity Lists for organizations, like Covenant House, that have been impacted this year more than ever. Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a charity of your choice or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Sometimes it seems like social media is too full of trolls and misinformation to justify its continued existence, but then something comes along that makes it all worth it.

Apparently, a song many of us have never heard of shot to the top of the charts in Italy in 1972 for the most intriguing reason. The song, written and performed by Adriano Celentano and is called "Prisencolinensinainciusol" which means...well, nothing. It's gibberish. In fact, the entire song is nonsense lyrics made to sound like English, and oddly, it does.

Occasionally, you can hear what sounds like a real word or phrase here and there—"eyes" and "color balls died" and "alright" a few times, for example—but it mostly just sounds like English without actually being English. It's like an auditory illusion and it does some super trippy things to your brain to listen to it.

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Hesitancy runs the gamut from outright anti-vaxxers to people who trust the time-tested vaccines we already have but are unsure about these new ones. Scientists have tried to educate the public about the development of the new mRNA vaccines and why they feel confident in their safety, but getting that information through the noise of hot takes and misinformation is tricky.

To help increase the public's confidence in taking the vaccine, three former presidents have volunteered to get their shots on camera. President George W. Bush initially reached out to Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx to ask how he could help promote a vaccine once it's approved. Presidents Obama and Bill Clinton have both stated that they will take the vaccine if it is approved and will do so publicly if it will help more people feel comfortable taking it. CNN says it has also reached out to President Jimmy Carter to see if he is on board with the idea as well.

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