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Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007, 16:34 GMT
Eurostar criticised over adverts
Skinhead urinating in a teacup
This advert was criticised for publicising yob culture
A series of tongue-in-cheek adverts for Eurostar depicting stereotypical images of British life have prompted complaints that they are offensive.

The images, promoting services to Brussels, have gone up on hoardings and posters in four Belgian cities.

One which shows a half-naked skinhead relieving himself in a teacup, received five complaints from British people in Belgium, a Eurostar spokeswoman said.

She said the firm had apologised to them, but the adverts would remain.

The BBC also received several e-mails criticising the advertisements.

The spokeswoman for Eurostar said the campaign had become popular and was specifically for Belgium.

It would not be used in either France or the UK.

Advert showing three former British prime ministers - Tony Blair, John Major and Margaret Thatcher
Eurostar said this poster was popular in Belgium

In a statement Eurostar said: "They've [Belgian people] been trying to get hold of copies of the posters and have sent in emails and letters of congratulation on how successful the campaign is.

"For those few who have complained we are sending them a personal letter apologising if we caused offence and explaining the thinking behind the creative and the use of humour."

Supporting the campaign, a spokesman for VisitBritain said: "We don't believe the images are derogatory about Britain, but rather give a quirky spin to contemporary Britain, as well as some of quintessential icons from politics, comedy and film."

In an e-mail to the BBC Ralph Edwards said: "The impression given by the adverts that we are a nation of thugs and buffoons certainly would dissuade tourists from coming."

Edith Purdue said: "I would think all the yobs in this country must be rubbing their hands in glee at having such a high profile advert."

Jan Lewandowski said: "I, for one, do not subscribe to these abhorrent stereotypes, especially the man peeing in the pot."



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Reactions to the adverts





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