A LOW-BUDGET local advertisement has skyrocketed to international fame fuelled by the power of social media and the rage of a disgruntled Kiwi man.
It came from humble beginnings as a brief mention on page three of Monday’s The Area News but the story of one affronted New Zealander allegedly attempting to take on the WIN Television team over a Knockonwood ad has become a global media phenomenon.
The saga began on Friday when the Kiwi man was arrested and hit with a string of charges after he allegedly accosted Knockonwood staff and WIN employees over the furniture store ad featuring two kookaburras speaking in New Zealand accents spouting such lines as “sweet, bro” and “choice, bro”.
The Area News article was quickly picked up by the national media and replicated by 114 media outlets, including MSN NZ news, TVNZ and TNT magazine.
“Not choice bro: Kiwi loses cool over TV ad” was ranked the number two story on The Sydney Morning Herald’s (SMH) website on Monday and number one yesterday.
In fact, 5357 people voted in an SMH opinion poll “what do you think of the advert?” with 54 per cent finding it amusing, 8 per cent finding it offensive and 38 per cent labelling it “boring”.
The ad also featured on the Today show’s “most clicked” segment yesterday morning after it went viral on You Tube overnight.
By lunchtime on Tuesday it had amassed more than 20,000 hits.
Managing director of Knockonwood’s parent company, the Caesar Group, Paul Pierotti has become an overnight celebrity and even featured on RadioNZ’s popular drive program after our trans-Tasman neighbours caught on on Monday.
Mr Pierotti has been inundated with hundreds of emails over the issue but said most people who responded, even those from New Zealand, were incredulous anyone could take the ad as a serious insult.
Capello Rowe lawyer Andrew Rowe, who crossed the Tasman to become an Australian citizen 15 years ago, did not take offence to the ad and unlike some, had no problem with the company continuing to air it.
In fact, he said the Kiwis gave Australians just as much ribbing in their own television commercials.
“I don’t find it offensive but some people do have a thin skin,” he said.
“I think anyone who finds this offensive must have a particularly thin skin.”
The advertising campaign has gone beyond the company’s wildest expectations and Adrian Fanani, who wrote the script for the ad based on the concept of the company’s “Sweet Deals” promotion, never dreamed it would have exploded the way it has.
“Because we have bedroom and lounge suites and we know the Kiwis use “sweet” as slang, we put more a New Zealand spin on it,” he said.
The man who has been charged over the incident called Ray Hadley’s radio show yesterday and identified himself as Max Barrett. He indicated he would not plead guilty to all charges but showed remorse for some of his actions.