Swiss Newspaper Falls for Prankster’s Fake Gucci Ad
Published: February 27, 2007 10:00 AM ET
ZURICH, Switzerland Some people will do anything to appear in the papers. But few have the audacity of a man in Switzerland, who conned one of the country’s biggest media companies into publishing a two-page ad he created of himself posing semi-naked beside a bottle of Gucci perfume.
The man, who claimed to represent the Italian fashion giant, called up the Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung last week to book the expensive color spread in Sunday’s edition, a spokesman for the paper said.
Christoph Zimmer told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the man asked for the 60,000-Swiss-franc (about $50,000) bill to be sent to Gucci.
“We’ve spoken to Gucci and apologized for the mistake,” Zimmer said. “We’re going to try and get the money back from this guy, but we don’t rate our chances.”
The Milan, Italy-based Gucci could not be reached for comment.
Zimmer said the paper fell for the scam because the call arrived too late for the advertising department to check whether it was genuine.
It wasn’t the first time that the mysterious model — a dark, handsome man appearing to be in his late 20s — tried to sneak his way into the limelight.
According to the Zurich-based daily Blick, the man attempted to book concert venues by passing himself off as Puerto Rican singer Chayanne. The paper said it narrowly avoided also being conned, but was tipped of the hoax by record company Sony BMG, which represents Chayanne.
The man is under investigation for alleged fraud, said Meinrad Stoecklin, a spokesman for police in the canton (state) of Basel.