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Boss apologises for dead goldfish

The CEO of the body tasked with promoting Adelaide and South Australia has apologised after a marketing stunt resulted in dead goldfish ending up at media agencies around the country.

As Mumbrella revealed yesterday, the goldfish were sent out by Advantage SA and co-brand Advantage Adelaide to media agencies across the country. The message was: “Be the big fish in a small pond and come test the water.”   A number of the fish were dead by the time people took delivery. Advantage SA describes itself as “an influential membership-based organisation that uniquely connects with the South Australian Government, media and businesses enhancing confidence and pride in the State.”

The organisation has not yet returned Mumbrella’s calls, but this morning  CEO Karen Raffen went on air on 891 ABC Adelaide to apologise for the stunt.

Raffen, who said that 55 goldfish were sent out, said: “We offer our sincere apologies. There was absolutely no intention to cause distress or harm to the fish.”

She said that prior to Mumbrella’s article, Advantage SA had received three complaints. She said that the agency would be happy to take custody of any goldfish that agencies did not want to look after. She said: “We are willing to collect any fish not being looked after and provide them with a good and healthy home.”

She added: “In hindsight we would probably not do this again.”

3.50pm update: Raffen issued a statement saying:

“Advantage SA has played and continues to play an integral role in the positive promotion of South Australia. For over 25 years Advantage SA has worked tirelessly to ensure the advantages of living, working and doing business in this state are clearly communicated.

“Advantage SA included goldfish as part of an invitation to come to Adelaide and ‘test the water’; to be the big fish in a small pond. Because SA is a small market it often gets bypassed when national brands are planning their media spend. The program aims to highlight the value of South Australia’s marketplace to interstate media buyers.

“On behalf of Advantage SA, I would like to personally apologise for any offence caused by the arrival of the fish. It was certainly not our intention to either harm or cause any distress to the fish or those receiving the invitation.

“All fish were healthy when they arrived at their destination. We worked closely with interstate fish suppliers in close proximity to each of the offices to which they were delivered. Each fish was carefully hand-delivered and was housed in a large, sterilised bowl with fresh water. The fish were fed before they were delivered, and each arrived with enough food to last six months.

“Advantage SA is in the process of contacting all recipients to check on the fish, and to find good homes for any that are not wanted.

“Advantage SA will be making a contribution to both the Animal Welfare League and the RSPCA.”

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