Mobile Firm's Meteor Stunt Backfires

Hoaxed Latvians plan to cancel Swedish company's contracts
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2009 4:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Swedish mobile phone company has dug itself into a crater with a marketing stunt involving a fake meteorite. Tele2 dug a hole in a meadow in Latvia and placed burning chemicals in the bottom to simulate a meteor strike, making headlines worldwide and fooling emergency services into cordoning off the scene while they checked for radiation. Unamused Latvian officials now plan to pull the firm's government contracts.

"The Interior Ministry doesn't want to do business with a firm that promotes itself at our expense," a government minister said, accusing the company of "cynical mockery" at the expense of Latvians. The company—which may now face criminal charges—has promised to reimburse the cost of sending security forces to the site, reports CNN.