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article imageNew Zealands's Hell Pizza continues controversial ad campaigns

By Stephanie Dearing     Aug 27, 2009 in Food
Hell Pizza, based in New Zealand, has been courting controversy and outrage in its bid to generate profits. The successful company is facing a new boycott over the latest promotion, which has stirred up allegations of racism.
The successful chain, Hell Pizza is no stranger to boycotts or controversy. In 2006, the Catholic Church called for a boycott of the company after Hell's Pizza promoted its pizzas by mailing out free condoms. Calling the promoted pie "Lust Pizza," the company mailed out 170,000 condoms with "explicit instructions on use." Hundreds of complaints were lodged with New Zealand's Advertising Standards Authority, who subsequently nailed Hell Pizza for "breaching standards of decency and social responsibility." There have been complaints made against the company over the years, some upheld and some dismissed. One of the more infamous ad campaigns that resulted in a decision was the 2005 "too good for the evil bastard" campaign, which earned the company condemnation.
Now a Hell Pizza store in Aukland, New Zealand is under fire for its ads for the gluten free brownies it will be offering its patrons. A billboard ad shows a person about to bite into a huge brownie with the slogan, "At least our brownie won't eat your pet dog." In response, a socialist group that calls itself anti-racist, Socialist Aotearoa, has launched a boycott against the store, with a plan to picket and blockade the store on Friday evening.
The furor, for those not in New Zealand, is that this brownie ad is modelled after a real-life news story from New Zealand in which Paea Taufa, a man of Tongan descent, had been called in to the SPCA for for barbecuing his dog (pit bull terrior cross) earlier this year. It is legal to cook dog meat in New Zealand. Michael Fox wrote in a post "... the controversial Hell Pizza campaign based on that incident is attributed to a 19-year-old advertising student and his three friends. Hell Pizza spokesman Matt Blomfield said they had brought in the four students from the Auckland University of Technology to revitalize the brand. “All the advertising agencies are crap so we thought we’d let some kids have a crack," he said.”
Hell Pizza got its start selling pizza to university students in 1996. Now the pizza chain has 60 locations across New Zealand. Because of its edgy creative promotions and company presentation, the Hell Pizza has cultivated a cult-like following.
The recession has not been bad for Hell Pizza, which has been giving Pizza Hut stiff competition.
More about Hells pizza, Racism, Boycott, Socialist aotearo, Catholic Church
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