A Whittaker’s van appears to have crashed into the iconic L&P bottle in Paeroa. Photo: Supplied.
Paeroa’s iconic giant L&P bottle is attracting more attention than normal today after it was hit by a Whittaker’s van as part of a publicity stunt.
Hauraki District Council Chief Executive Langley Cavers told SunLive there is minimal damage to the bottle although some of the paint has been chipped off.
He arrived at work this morning after a week and a half break to news of the “incident”.
“There are tyre tracks from close to the entrance to the Criterion Bridge and then they go through our garden.”
It is understood the publicity stunt involving the white Whittaker’s van and L&P bottle was set up sometime in the early hours of today to promote the new L&P flavoured chocolate.
Whittaker’s Facebook Page has video footage of the event saying ‘witness the accident that New Zealand has been waiting for – Whittaker’s L&P chocolate’.
Council staff were left to clean up after the incident, and prior to being informed it was a publicity stunt Langley said council would be seeking reparation from those responsible.
He later saw the funny side, after being told it was part of a publicity stunt.
“That’s fine. We’ve got a good sense of humour here in Hauraki and any publicity we can get is all good and great.
“I’m pretty sure no-one was driving the van they tell me.”
Mayor John Tregidga answered calls from the media this morning saying he “wasn’t impressed at all” to hear a white van had crashed into the icon.
But later Stuff.co.nz reports the Mayor already knew about the incident and had been asked by a Wellington PR company to “play dumb”.
After discussing with Whittaker’s advertising firm the mayor says it was decided the incident was a bit of "harmless fun".
"L&P is very special to Paeroa, and feedback from the community suggests people are excited about the partnership with Whittaker’s.”
A spokesperson at the Paeroa Service Station opposite Ohinemuri Park, where the landmark is situated, says no-one was working when the incident happened in the early hours of this morning.
Paeroa McDonald’s staff working at the 24 hour outlet also missed the set-up.
Whittaker’s marketing manager Holly Whittaker says L&P and Whittaker’s fans will find out on Wednesday exactly what to expect in the new range of chocolate.
“The Whittaker’s van and the L&P bottle scene was about bringing together two iconic Kiwi brands as a bit of fun for the local community and our fans on Facebook. We know how proud Paeroa is of L&P, so we wanted to give locals an early hint of what they can look forward to.
“Whittaker’s had permission for our plans to do something fun with the L&P bottle, and do a bit of gardening to set up the surrounding scene. There is no damage to the L&P bottle and we are ensuring its surroundings will be completely back to normal."
Whittaker’s L&P chocolate is made of Whittaker’s 28 per cent cocoa and infused with white chocolate and the essence of L&P while bursting with popping candy to give it "real fizz".
Whittaker’s L&P chocolate will be available in 250g Blocks, 50g Slab Singles and 12 packs of Mini Slabs nationwide from Wednesday July 17.