Eurostar trains, which travel from London to Paris (and vice versa) and from London to Brussels (and vice evrsa) are launching news ads in an effort to lure Belgians to Britain. Britain's little next-door neighbour - eight times smaller than Britain with a population of just 10 million and completely flat) - looks to Britain and identifies with the British. Belgians (their country also being a constitutional monarchy) love the British royalty and all the pomp that it entails and, of course, the British sense of humour.

One of the adverts shows a British football hooligan urinating into a china tea cup...

Eurostar ad campaign using football hooligan and Thatcher to lure Belgians to Britain

16th November 2007
Daily Mail

Eurostar has launched a provocative advertising campaign to lure Belgians to London.

The posters poke fun at the English way of life, featuring former prime ministers, football hooligans and the fondness for tea drunk from china mugs.

One of the adverts shows a half-naked skinhead with the England flag painted on his back and urinating into a china tea cup.

The provocative poster trying to tempt Belgians to take the train to London

Another uses look-alikes of Tony Blair, John Major and Margaret Thatcher clutching Union flag balloons and holding knitting needles. The slogan reads: "Attention! London is around the corner."

A Eurostar spokeswoman said the adverts were intended to poke gentle fun at the English, advertising them as a nation with a sense of humour.

She said: "The Belgians very much look to the British and identify with them. They like the royalty and the pomp, but at the same time they love the street life and the edginess about London.

"We're combining the two and advertising that now London really is just around the corner.

Another poster depicts lookalikes of Thatcher, Major and Blair

"It's a celebration of all things British. One of the adverts has Blair, John Major and Margaret Thatcher bursting Union flag emblazoned balloons.

"In most incidents it would be impossible to be able to use three political figures from one country and have them recognised in another.

"We have had one complaint from a lady today but we don't see the adverts as offensive.

We market on a country by country basis. These aren't adverts that we would use in France."

The campaign coincides with the new highspeed Eurostar service which was launched on Wednesday, travelling from St Pancras to Brussels in one hour 51 minutes.

The adverts met a mixed reaction from train passengers in Brussels and London.

Gawain Towler, 40, a British civil servant based in Brussels, found them amusing rather than offensive.

"The campaigns that Eurostar run are always amazing and always ribbing the English," he said.

"It's just the Brussels laughing at quite how surreal the English are sometimes, both in their traditions and modern life."

Others were not so keen. Patrick Tyson-Cain, 61, a freelance interpreter from Bath, said: "I don't think this daft promotion will get people over here. I didn't realise it was for Eurostar - I thought it might be a beer or a diuretic."