An advertising agency in New Zealand pulled a decent April Fool’s Day prank last week, publishing full page ‘articles’ and a PR kit announcing that Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner was converting part of the Rotorua Museum into his new Playboy holiday mansion – a ploy to deflect some recent and highly publicised criticism from an Australian blogger.
The idea from Auckland’s KingSt Advertising initially sprang when reports were published on recent research which discovered a link between hydrogen sulphide - the gas that gives Rotorua its infamous rotten egg smell - and male sexual arousal.
The research had come by way of Italy’s University of Naples and it was published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The news stories reported that Hefner had brokered a deal with the Rotorua Trust to convert the final stage of the Museum into his new mansion.
"At my age it's great to get up in the morning without relying on any form of medication," the press release quoted Hefner as saying.
The fictitious story was partly set up to deflect criticism from an Australian blogger who had bagged the smell of Rotorua on his site. The blog quickly made national news and caused an outcry from patriotic Kiwis.
The media release claimed Hefner was bound for Rotorua as soon as he heard the sex claims.
"While I thought the research findings would attract a lot of international interest from men looking to improve their sexual performance, I never expected a call from the man responsible for the sexual revolution of the sixties," Lyall Thurston from Rotorua Centennial Trust said in the release.
This doctored interview with Hefner was produced and put up on the www.rotoruaNZ.com website.