New Zealand man won't face charges for marketing website with coffin in river

The coffin, which contained a mannequin and an advertising message, was floated down the Hutt River.
By Evan Bleier  |  July 16, 2014 at 10:34 AM
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand, July 16 (UPI) -- A New Zealand man won't face charges after he floated a coffin down the Hutt River to help drum up publicity for his website.

When the coffin was pulled from the river, it contained a mannequin dressed up like a housewife holding a sign reading, ''If only I'd advertised for an electrician ... I wouldn't have tried to fix it myself.''

The publicity stunt wasted the time of police, so there was a chance that the man behind the morbid marketing ploy, Dan Herbison, would be charged.

Police told Newstalk ZB that they didn't "find the stunt funny or smart," but Herbison got off with a warning.

Herbison admitted the stunt may have been in poor taste.

''I have taken it too far,'' he told the Dominion Post. ''I'm in a bit of [expletive] here.''

The coffin was found near where the body of a 30-year-old Lower Hutt man was discovered less than a year ago.

''People will be offended and think he's an idiot," said Victoria University school of management marketing expert David Stewart. "Death and dying in New Zealand society is still a bit of a taboo subject -- it's an emotional thing.''

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