Controversial campaign slammed

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Algarve tourism chief Nuno Aires has slammed the northern Portuguese city of Guimarães for its use of an image of an empty Algarve beach in its campaign to become the European Capital of Culture in 2012.

The campaign, launched by Fundação Cidade Guimarães with the support of Turismo de Portugal and the Portuguese Culture Ministry, uses billboards depicting a beach full of parasols and sun loungers, but completely devoid of people with the text saying: “Algarve Coast, 11.30am, August 2, 2012.”

According to the president of ERTA Nuno Aires, “this campaign is in very bad taste. The city of Guimarães has so many interesting places to promote. It is totally unnecessary to use a beach in the Algarve to make the promotional campaign of Guimarães 2012.”

He added that he hopes that those responsible for the campaign have “the good sense” to withdraw this publicity “which uses the Algarve image in a bad way”.

“I hope that the campaign achieves a good success but there is no need to use the Algarve in such a way,” he said.

Elidérico Viegas, president of the Algarve hotels and resorts association, told the Algarve Resident: “This is an offence, an insult to the region. An apology and the removal of billboards is the minimum that is required.

“The Algarve is the region that attracts more tourists to the country. We do not oppose other regions in the country promoting their activities in the Algarve but it is not sensible to use this kind of prank.”


Elidérico Viegas also referred to the fact that the Algarve is the region that generates more wealth in the country.

“To put on the streets, during the summer, a promotional campaign featuring a completely empty beach in the Algarve in August is quite surreal. The billboards must be removed immediately because it is misleading to the image of the Algarve. This campaign goes beyond all bounds and must be banned,” he said.

A spokesman from the management of Guimarães 2012 European Capital of Culture told Portuguese newspaper Expresso: “This campaign was not made to mock anyone. It represents a creative marketing campaign that aims to publicise the brand Guimarães 2012 European Capital of Culture, using methods and resources used in such type of campaigns.

“The aim was to express the idea that in 2012 all roads will lead to Guimarães.”

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]