Brand Spanking found itself facing questions from the Otago Daily Times, after it launched a search for staff to promote a mysterious tobacco product.
The agency published a job advertisement seeking a a group of 20 to be trained as part of an exclusive team for an innovative new product within the industry. The group would be responsible for educating adult consumers about the product at music and fashion events as well as high-end bars and members clubs.
The Otago Daily Times spotted the ad, which has since been removed, and contacted Janet Hoek, a professor in the University of Otago's marketing department, for comment.
She told the paper while it was hard to comment on the product without more detail, the possible promotion of it may breach the Smokefree Environments Act.
''Overall, it's difficult to avoid the conclusion that the activities outlined are designed to attract non-smokers to a tobacco product, as the main audiences at music and fashion events, and at high-end bars and clubs, will be non-smokers," she said.
Brand Spanking director and creative strategist Mark Pickering did not respond to the paper's questions, but said that the ad was "published in error by a junior staff member".
''Brand Spanking regrets this error," he said.