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Bevan Hurley

Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Free condoms weren't up to scratch

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

It was the most complained about marketing stunt in New Zealand - but Hell Pizza's mass condom drop may have spawned more than just a few angry customers.

This week it emerged that the more than 300,000 condoms distributed by Hell in 2006 failed to meet Ministry of Health guidelines.

And it appears that at least one child was conceived by a couple who used the condoms, which had been manufactured in China at a cost of 7 cents each.

The couple, who the Herald on Sunday has agreed not to identify, refer to their now 3-year-old child as "our little Hell Pizza baby". The child is blissfully unaware that he could be an inadvertent by-product of the Hell Pizza campaign.

A Ministry of Health spokeswoman confirmed this week that Hell had destroyed what was left of its condom supply after being notified they failed specifications.

"The condoms supplied by Hell Pizza did not meet the labelling and packaging requirements ...

and therefore did not comply."

But more than 300,000 condoms had already been distributed through a mail drop and sales of Hell's Lust pizza in 2006.

Details of the condom flop are detailed in a raft of documents that have emerged since a Serious Fraud Office investigation into the Hell operation.

Hell director Callum Davies said he was surprised to hear that the condoms may have led to unplanned pregnancies.

"Considering it was the most complained about advertising campaign in history, then surely someone would have picked up on that at the time."

Condoms supplied in New Zealand must comply with the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act and the Medicines Act 1981.

- Herald on Sunday

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