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Banksy stolen – by rival agency staffer

maura tuohy banksybanksy cctvNaked Communications’ Steal Banksy stunt on behalf of Art Series Hotels appears to have come to a premature end with a member of staff from a rival agency completing the heist just four days into what was going to be a month long promotion.

Maura Tuohy, social marketing strategist at Reprise Media, tweeted an image of herself holding the stolen Banksy about an hour ago. Her message said: “They call me Banksy.”

The Steal Banksy promotion – which had been due to run until January 15 – only began on Thursday. However, Naked has hinted that there is more of the promotion yet to come.   

Customers were challenged to steal the $15,000 art piece No Ball Games by the British artist as it hung on the wall at one of three Art Series hotels in Melbourne. The rules of the game stated that if somebody was caught removing it, they had to put it back.

However, the stunt had already generated strong PR for the brand. On smh.com.au today, Amy Cooper tries and fails to steal the work.

At the time of posting, Tuohy was understood to be in a client social media training session. Earlier today, when one person asked her on Twitter how she got the Bansky, she replied: “mad skillz and social media sleuthing! Like taking candy from a baby really!!!”

She also posted: “take that Naked!”

Naked’s founding partner Adam Ferrier confirmed to Mumbrella: “It has been stolen. She did it in an incredibly sophisticated, systematic, organised manner. We congratulate her.

‘Obviously we’ve planned for this and you’ll see what’s happening next later today.”

megan aney banksy1.30pm update: Tuohy told Mumbrella: “We thought it was an absolutely brilliant activation by Naked.”

Tuohy told Mumbrella that she worked with colleague Megan Aney (pictured) to pull off the heist.

3.30pm update: The Arts Series has revealed more details of how Tuohy pulled off her coup:

“The theft was carried out in classic art crook style – right under our noses.

“Maura Tuohy checked into the hotel on Saturday night pretending to be from an Art Series Hotel agency. She claimed she worked with various members of the agency team and told hotel staff that she was asked to drive the painting to another hotel… Tuohy provided the number of her accomplice. Megan Aney, who verified the story.”

Reprise is the sister search agency to UM and Initiative. In 2010, Tuohy was Australia’s representative in the Young Lions media category at Cannes:

The hotel has now put another Banksy work on display.

A new Banksy is now up for grabs instead.

banksy pulp fiction

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