I have blogged before about how animals can upset the applecart and create negative publicity. I am keen to talk about the positive use of publicity to make people and brands famous, but my research continues to stumble on gaffs made by publicists trying to lure the media with a tale involving animals.
In 1950, the German publicist Wolfgang Meyer, used a wild boar called Fritz to publicise a film being made in Germany, loosely based on the Arthurian legends. His idea was to let the boar loose in a little village outside Mainz where the film was being shot. Clearly his aim was to stir up the press in a “hunt the missing boar” escapade.
Unfortunately the boar had other ideas than to see his hairy face in news print. Instead it went on a violent rampage, savaging children in the vicinity. Luckily he was cornered by a friendly restauranteur Otto Gruber, who noted the animal’s thirst and put a bowl of water, laced with alcohol, in an attempt to pacify the ravenous beast. History doesn’t tell what was brewed in the doggy bowl, but it did the trick and the animal calmed down, but was not sent back to the film set. Instead, the boar was used as an attraction in the restaurant where it was tamed and spent evenings wandering around being petted by diners. It lived for years and was much loved. Here he is, on his first birthday at Otto Gruber’s famous restaurant.
Unfortunately, Meyer got into very hot water as the filming was delayed in order to find a new boar. Meyer lost his fee, was fired, and never used again by that particular film production company.