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Vigo tourist board to pull ad for islands after cocaine Twitter joke

Spanish scriptwriter causes stir after pointing out resemblance to the narcotic

The tourist office for the Galician city of Vigo, in north-western Spain, is going to change an advertising campaign it is currently running in Air Nostrum planes after a message posted on micro-blogging site Twitter by scriptwriter Diego San José caused a stir on the internet.

The offending tweet, which reads:

“I have to design a campaign for Vigo”

“Send them something in the shape of a line of cocaine!”

“Hahaha!”

“YOU WOULDN’T DARE!”

The promotional image seen by passengers on the budget airline included a silhouette of the Cíes Islands, which appear in white on a red background. For the scriptwriter, however, who was a member of the team behind smash hit Eight Basque Surnames, the image bore more than a passing resemblance to a line of cocaine.

San José made a joke about what he’d seen on Twitter on Saturday, and since then more than 1,200 people have shared the post.

The announcement appears on 43 Air Nostrum planes, and is now featuring heavily on Twitter thanks to the controversial message from San José.

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The promotional image does not feature the name of the Cíes Islands at all, leaving the viewer of the ad to put two and two together.

“The creative is the responsibility of the Vigo tourist board, but it is executed by the airline,” explains a spokesperson from Vigo council. The original concept was reportedly supposed to include a written reference to the islands. The fact that it did not appear is due to “a printing mistake by the airline […],” the same sources explain.

“Under these circumstances, the decision that has been made is to continue the campaign to promote the Cíes Islands, with new motives,” sources at the Galician administration said.

Move the slider to compare the ad and the islands.

The new design will feature a white background, with the island silhouette in red and with a bigger size.

The joke made by Diego San José, meanwhile, did not raise many smiles at Vigo city council, which has called the comment “intolerable, inappropriate from the person who made it. When you are a person of social standing you need to take great care with what you say. There are many people from Vigo who are furious at the comment,” sources say. As such, “we are studying” the possibility of taking action against the comment made on Twitter.

English version by Simon Hunter.