Tele2 in a hole over 'meteor' publicity stunt

latvia_craterAn elaborate publicity stunt by a Swedish mobile phone company involving a faked meteorite strike in a Latvian meadow has provided a new case study on how a marketing campaign can miscarry.

Tele2 on Tuesday promised to reimburse the Baltic nation for the cost of sending military units and scientists to examine a 10 metre-wide crater that appeared near the Estonian border after locals reported seeing a streak of light cross the sky on Sunday.

The Stockholm-based company admitted it had dug the hole and burned chemicals at its base to create the impression of a smouldering meteorite crater.

News of the apparent strike attracted worldwide media attention on Monday as Latvian security forces cordoned off the area to conduct radiation tests.

A spokesman for Tele2's Latvian unit said the stunt had been intended to divert attention from the country's economic crisis and give people something "creative and exciting" to talk about.

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