Boycott Hell Pizza, says Catholic paper

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A Catholic newspaper is calling for a boycott of Hell Pizza in response to a recent condom mail-out.

To promote its Lust pizza, Hell distributed 170,000 condoms, along with explicit instructions on their use, to letterboxes around the country.

This prompted hundreds of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, which ruled Hell breached standards of decency and social responsibility.

An editorial in the latest edition of NZ Catholic newspaper calls on readers to abstain from purchasing any of the items on the pizza delivery chain's menu.

The editorial said the promotion was more cynical and offensive than a TV campaign because it robbed parents of the chance to stop their children from being exposed by changing the channel.

"What happens when you're seven years old and you find something in (the letterbox) and you ask your mother or father, 'What's this?"'

Kirk MacGibbon of Cinderella Marketing, the firm which handles all of Hell's advertising, said if Catholics decided on a boycott there wasn't much Hell could do about it.

"I'm not sure how many Catholics buy from Hell, anyway," Mr MacGibbon said.

The Lust campaign had been hugely successful, and had been a chance for Hell to be controversial while also doing some good, he said.

As well as promoting Hell pizzas, the campaign was meant to draw attention to New Zealand's high rate of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, Mr MacGibbon said.

"When we did research we found... it's people like the Catholic church who are giving people advice that condoms don't work in protecting you from sexual diseases and the best course is abstinence. That is a load of rubbish."

Mr MacGibbon said the company had a loyal customer base and sales wouldn't be affected by a Catholic boycott.

The Lust controversy broke out shortly before Hell was purchased by new owners Tasman Pacific Foods Group.

Its new general manager Colin Mellar said the condom promotion had not offended TPF, nor had it dissuaded the company from buying Hell.

They weren't worried about a possible boycott, and stood by Hell's products, Mr Mellar said.

"If the Pope himself had tried the Lust pizza he might be a converted customer."

- NZPA

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