"New Zealand's first ever mass cash drop" has become the latest case study in what not to do for public relations students.
The bedlam began at the Auckland event when the crowd surged forward to catch what they thought was part of a $100,000 cash giveaway called "The Drop". That a business called the Safety Warehouse couldn't see the potential for harm seems bewildering.
After the initial knockabout, the penny dropped when the mob realised most of the currency was vouchers, looking similar to $5 notes, offering discounts to Safety Warehouse products.
The angry reaction was predictable to most of us but not, apparently, to Safety Warehouse boss Andrew Thorn who said: "We never could have expected the inclusion of the vouchers would have created such hostility."
This statement of defence puts this case study ahead of other notorious PR fails.
They include the armed police callout in 2010 after a bandaged man pointed a fake gun at terrified pubgoers in Auckland's Viaduct Basin. Game promoters Monaco Corporation hastily apologised for the implausibly idiotic stunt to promote the release of Xbox title Splinter Cell Evolution.
Or the time Lorde sent her fans to the wrong destination in 2017 by hinting at a preview of her next album. When they finally reached the right place, a beach in Herne Bay, there was just an illuminated sign with a few lines which may have been lyrics in one of her new songs. "There could have been more - I mean everyone here is just so confused," one hapless teen told Fairfax.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
In 2002, at a rugby test between the All Blacks and Australia, two streakers interrupted the game, wearing nothing but the Vodafone logo. Police arrested the pair before the game was over and Vodafone was forced to apologise for encouraging them to break the law.
Still, it's yet to top Jägermeister's 2013 party stunt in Mexico where liquid nitrogen was poured into a swimming pool to create some atmospheric fog. The toxic bomb put one man in a coma and eight others in hospital.