24th Oct 2007, by Andrew Barr

10 Yetis Meets Faked Meerkat Snapper

Some of you may remember this when it hit the nationals last month. A news wire service put out a story on behalf of Longleat Safari park that a Meerkat had cheekily used a professional camera persons camera when the person nipped out of the enclosure to go for a leak.

It was all very light hearted but pretty much every national ran the story as the pictures the Meerkat took were very high quality. All seemd very nice until an eagle eyed amatuer snapper spotted that the camera was in fact and old film one and not a digital camera and the whole thing was revealed to be a big PR stunt.

I must admit I am jealous of the idea as it got oodles of coverage but it is the 3rd time this news wire has put out a story like this. The first was when it claimed that Longleat had banned Smart Cars or Mini's that had zebra print as the lion were trying to attack them as they drove through.

Longleat Safari Park
Longleat got the media coverage

The second was the time with the Meerkat and the third happened 2 weks ago when the same agency put out a story that small, light blue coloured cars were not allowed to go through a zoo grounds in Bridgewater because the male Peacocks were so attracted to them they were trying to mate with them!

Funny, indeed. Fair play to them for getting away with it.

I happened to meet the snapper who did the Meerkat and blue car story last week at another shoot she was hired for and we had quite a giggle about it. She gave it the old "I only turn up to shoot what i am told" line which made me smile even more.

A cracking example of PR stunts going down well with the media.

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