Tui billboard not aimed at Jobs' death

By Hayley Hannan, Matthew Backhouse

This Tui billboard was called in poor taste after the death of Apple's Steve Jobs. Photo / APNZ
This Tui billboard was called in poor taste after the death of Apple's Steve Jobs. Photo / APNZ

A Tui billboard that apparently pokes fun at the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs is an unfortunate coincidence, the brewery says - but it won't be coming down until Monday.

One of the offending billboards - which reads "Job's done. Yeah Right." - is visible to thousands of commuters on Auckland's southern motorway as they pass through Ellerslie.

Jobs died yesterday aged 56, after a long battle with cancer.

Tui said Jobs' death and the choice of words on the billboard were a coincidence.

Spokeswoman Jo Jalfon said the billboard was put up on Monday and referred to the All Blacks beating France recently.

"At long last we've beaten the French, so that job was done - it was really sort of a play on a Rugby World Cup theme," she said.

She accepted that the billboard was "somewhat ironic or unfortunate" given Jobs' death.

"Someone at work mentioned it to me and said, 'Do you know we've got that billboard' and went, 'Oh, right, yes I see - someone could actually think it was in reference to Steve Jobs.'

"It certainly wasn't put up in any reference to him, because obviously he died this morning."

Among those who found the billboard offensive was One News reporter Ruth Wynn-Williams, who took to Twitter to say it was "perhaps the most bad taste Tui billboard yet".

"Unreal. Have a little respect," she wrote.

Wynn-Williams said she saw the billboard when she was driving down the motorway with a cameraman and was "incredibly taken aback by it".

She and the camerman had a bit of a debate about how long the billboard had been up for.

"I thought old, he thought new. Best they hop to it," she tweeted.

She understood the billboard may have been up for some time, she told APNZ.

"Perhaps they might want to look at taking it down, but it's not for me to say...".

Ms Jalfon said the billboard was due to be changed next Monday, depending on the outcome of the All Blacks game, but it would not be coming down sooner because there was no time.

It could be painted over this weekend, however.

Tui said it had not received any comments or complaints about the billboard.

Ms Jalfon said it was a very sad time for Apple and Jobs' family, and she accepted some people might take the billboard the wrong way.

"I guess if you saw it for the first time and you heard today's news, then you'd probably think is there a connection between the two."

People who knew the brand would appreciate it wasn't the kind of message it would typically put out there.

"Tui wouldn't go in that territory of making fun of someone that has just died - that wouldn't be appropriate for us our probably any other brand I would say."

But the Tui billboards are known for their controversial references.

A billboard put up near a school shortly after Michael Jackson's death read: "Don't worry, MJ touched me too. Yeah right."

Another, which Christians took exception to, was taken down hastily.

It read: "Let's take a moment this Christmas to think about Christ. Yeah right."

ASA chief executive Hilary Souter said she was unable to confirm whether any complaints had been received about the Ellerslie billboard.

- APNZ

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