We’ve seen see-through billboards, exploding billboards and bleeding billboards. And now we’ve got an animal-skin billboard, with Hell and Barnes, Catmur & Friends celebrating today’s launch of the new smoked rabbit pizza with an outdoor execution (perhaps quite literally) made entirely out of leftover rabbit skins.
“Hopefully it’s a first,” says Hell’s general manager Ben Cumming. “We’re already getting a lot of feedback on our Facebook page, both good and bad.”
Of course, Hell is very well-accustomed to polarising the nation with its marketing and Cumming says he’s spent most of his morning responding to feedback. The vast majority of it has been positive and he says most understand the commercial and comical motivations behind it, but he says there have been some objections from a small minority about the grotesque nature of it (in case you were wondering, the skins were sourced via a professional animal tanning company, who in turn sourced them from local meat processing companies where the skins are a regular by-product).
Cumming says it also has some other activity planed, with a Happy Easter card created by an 11-year-old named Hugo being sent out to several hundred thousand New Zealand homes and included in every order, as well as some guerilla activity in the form of slightly evil lost and found posters instore and dotted around town (spoiler alert: Terence gets found—and he was delicious).
Rabbit is an under-rated, healthy and sustainable meat and there’s certainly no shortage of it in New Zealand (Hell is using wild South Island rabbits that are checked for disease at the factory). But while it’s fairly popular in Europe, it’s not a commonly eaten meat here, so he says they were unsure how many they’d sell and were fairly conservative with their estimates. But he says Kiwis are becoming more adventurous with their food and he says the response to the new product, which also features beetroot and horopito relish, cream cheese and toasted pine nuts, has been extremely positive. So much so that it is now more concerned about not having enough rabbit meat to keep up with demand (it’s currently talking to suppliers to get more).
“Like all of our products, the rabbit pizza was cooked up by the directors and staff at head office, led by our original founder, Callum, who created the first Hell recipes in 1996,” says Cumming. “In those days a chicken, cranberry and Brie pizza was considered out there.”
Cumming wouldn’t discuss what was next in the wild food pizza series, but he joked that’s it’s “trying every wild animal on the planet” at the moment.
Maybe they need to head to Brazil.
Five bunny facts
1) The USDA has stated that rabbit is the most nutritious meat known to man. It has about half the amount of cholesterol of chicken, turkey, beef, pork, or lamb and 33 percent less sodium than chicken.
2) Rabbits will produce six pounds of meat on the same feed and water as a cow will produce 1 pound of meat on the same feed and water.
3) Rabbits were first released in New Zealand by Captain Cook in 1777. They are considered a pest and can be hunted all year.
4) Two rabbits can produce nine million kittens in three years.
5) ‘Easter Bunny Syndrome’ is a phrase used to describe people that happily eat other meats but have an aversion to rabbit due to the cute factor.
ECD: Paul Catmur
ECD: Daniel Barnes
Creatives: Rob Longuet-Higgins, Rob Cook, Bradley Stratton
Producer: Shayna Armstrong
Account director: Jo Cheyne, Meredith Maclean, Luke Farmer
Production company: Juggernaut – Rob Malone
Tanner: Animal Skin Tanning Services Lt