Paris Hilton's lawyers are preparing to move against the New Zealand firm who thought it would be a bit of wheeze to advertise empty billboard space in Auckland by sticking up a fetching snap of El Reg's fave celebutard with the slogan "Vacant".
According to the Sunday Star Times, the outrage (pic here) is the work of Media5, which has around 70 billboard sites in Wellington and Auckland. The company's Adam McGregor insisted it was merely "a bit of fun", and explained: "We wanted to draw some attention to some of our unsold display as we expanded, so we briefed a friend who runs his own boutique agency to work up a range of creative concepts.
"We liked the ones he came up with using high-profile public figures the best because they were fun."
He continued: "We were thinking about using Winston Peters, but Paris is much prettier and she has a proven ability to laugh at herself. We assume that the agency has taken care of the rights to the image of Paris, but we will ask the question."
To answer McGregor's question, Hilton's manager Jamie Freed said Media5 "had no permission to use Hilton's image, and they could expect to hear from Hilton's lawyers".
If that does happen, then McGregor said he'd "probably" pull the campaign. He concluded: "We're not trying to offend anyone." ®