An old New Zealand burger ad has been given a new lease of life in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Brussels.

The controversial Burger King campaign shows fries arranged to look like they're giving the middle finger, in defiance and anger at the Isis terrorists who claimed responsibility for the bombings.

The original ad was developed in opposition to the Northern Gateway toll in 2008, and had the words "Toll this" under the image. It encourages drivers to stop at the burger restaurant in Dairy Flat, the last fast food place before the toll booth on the motorway to receive a $2 discount on their meal.

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But it has now been re-purposed as a sign of solidarity and defiance following the three explosions in Brussels last night NZ time, and has popped up in a number of memes that have dominated social media since the attacks, which killed 34 and injured hundreds more. Some have simply cropped the Burger King advertising text off and used the image, while others have superimposed the Belgian flag into the background.

It has been hailed as raising a middle finger to terrorism.

Auckland advertising agency Y&R developed the advert, but a spokeswoman told the Herald it did not want to comment on the new found fame the ad had received.

However, Mashable said the agency responded to its enquiries by saying: "We are proud to be part of any efforts to end violence and bring about peace."

Fries have joined figures such as Tintin as symbols of solidarity with Belgium in the wake of the attacks, with many using the slogan #JeSuisBruxelles or #IAmBrussels.

The origin of the snack - commonly known as French fries - has long been disputed, and both France and Belgium claim to have invented them.