New Zealand Helicopter Stunt A Big Lie, Sponsor Comes Clean


When one is hoodwinked, the natural reaction is to get mad and start calling people names but we're not going to do that because we think this hoodwink was one of the best marketing stunts to come around in a long time. As we reported in late January, a helicopter with a naked guy hanging from it was spotted at New Zealand's Big Day Out but the stunt went wrong and the guy fell to the ground and was injured. We also received a taped conversation between what was assumed to be a representative of New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority and a person at DDB, the agency thought to be behind the stunt in which the CAA representative was trying to obtain details of the event.

None of this happened. While we were skeptical at the time and knew New Zealand site Nzgirl had something to do with the stunt, we couldn't get anyone to confirm or deny anything. As it turns out, Nzgirl, which has a reputation of doing crazy, stunts, wanted to top everything they'd done before so they decided to do nothing...except tell a few people they did and let the rumor mill run with it. A dozen people were hired to spread the story about the helicopter and the nude guy and that was it. New Zealand media bit and reported the story as if it had happened albeit with a bit of distrust. Nzgirl reaveals all here.

Some, ourselves included at times, might say blatantly lying about a piece of marketing is an unacceptable way to do business. This time, though, it just seems like the Nzgirls very smartly played into their country's gossipy nature, the industry's need to believe is such crazy stunts and everyone's willingness to bow at the feet of the "Send to A Friend" God born out of the Internet's greasy wheel. Certainly, the truth was twisted in this marketing effort but it was done in a way that was intriguing and entertaining. At least that's the story we're sticking with.

Written by Steve Hall    Comments (1)     File: Events, Good, Guerilla, Viral, Word of Mouth     Feb-20-06  
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I wonder what would happen if this type of stunt was pulled in the US.

Posted by: David Wen on February 21, 2006 11:56 PM

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