The Official Development Agency of the City of Vilnius

Vilnius Launches Cheeky 90s Infomercial to Remind World of Its 700th Birthday 

Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is back at it again with a new bold campaign to promote the next year’s 700th anniversary. This time the city takes everyone back to the glory of the 90s with an infomercial that advertises Vilnius’ Belated Birthday E-Cards. The campaign humorously encourages people to congratulate the city and find out where it actually is.

October 6, 2022. No stranger to cheeky campaigns like “The G Spot of Europe” from 2018 or  “Where is Vilnius?” presented in 2020, Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, has just added another one to the list. This time the city wants to remind the world of its birthday in 2023, which will be a grand one—the 700th anniversary. The celebrations that have kicked off in 2021 proclaim that “Vilnius is 700 years young,” therefore the new humorous campaign—a 90s-style infomercial— further entrenches the city’s youthful spirit and ingenuity.

“As a 700-year-old, Vilnius does not shy away from bold, out-there ideas and wild concepts. During the seven centuries, it has grown into a booming cultural hub with deep-rooted history and youthful energy buzzing throughout the city,” said Inga Romanovskienė, Director at Go Vilnius, the official tourism and business development agency of Vilnius. “The campaign calls everyone to wish Vilnius a happy birthday and come for a visit just in time for the festivities.”

To do that, Vilnius brought back the 90s nostalgia with an infomercial reminding everyone to send Vilnius a birthday e-card, albeit a belated one. Presenting Vilnius’ Belated Birthday E-Card collection, the infomercial urges people from all over the world to congratulate the city on this important milestone, even though they might have forgotten about the previous 699 birthdays or where Vilnius is altogether. The humorous cards range from “Happy Belated Birthday, Vilnius! As Einstein said: time is relative” to “Here’s a rose for each time I forgot your birthday.”

Antonio Bechtle, creative director and partner at BM Boutique, a creative agency behind the campaign, said that idea for this belated birthday concept came out of the sheer reality that many people abroad still do not know where Vilnius is and, for that matter, how could they wish happy birthday to a city they don’t even know exists.

“In the past, we called the attention of the target audience by laughing at Vilnius’ obscurity. This time, we created this ridiculous product, the Vilnius’ Belated Birthday E-card collection, to point out, in a memorable way, the fact that nobody knows when Vilnius’ birthday is,” he explained. “Now, how to communicate the launch of such a “silly” product like belated birthday e-cards for a city? Well, we all know silly products used to be wildly advertised in infomercials. We decided to trigger the target audience’s nostalgia by recreating a 90s infomercial in the most precise way possible, even using a 90s camera, inexperienced actors, and all the design styles from those times.”

The infomercial closely follows the trends of similar advertisements from the 90s—from shooting it with a professional camera of that era, to the color scheme, vintage props like a 90s McIntosh computer, and the actors’ over-the-top reactions. This concept for the campaign was chosen because lately, the 90s aesthetic tends to generate nostalgic feelings towards this past era. At the same time, Vilnius pokes fun at the outdated infomercials which advertise products nobody really needs—like e-cards.

Vilnius has been celebrating with pre-700th birthday events all throughout 2021 and 2022 and will bring the festivities well into 2023—the year of the actual anniversary. The city, therefore, invites the visitors to explore its main draws like the UNESCO-listed Old Town, cosmopolitan neighborhoods, burgeoning food scene, and hot-air balloon rides, and also to immerse into the plethora of cultural, educational, and artistic activities, high-scale events, international performances, and concerts.

More details about the campaign are included on the official website at: https://700birthdaycards.lt/.

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