Last week, the HTC Magic was launched with a big party in Auckland after a long PR campaign nationwide, with handsets being given away in competitions. The party featured semi-naked women painted with Google and Vodafone logos (more picshere).
TVNZ gadget reviewer Ben Gracewood attended last Wednesday's party andblogged about it, taking pictures. He tells Computerworld that Vodafone asked him to take the pictures down, and speculates that the reason for the request is the inappropriate use of trademarks.
Vodafone has also removed the HTC Magic pages from its website, and Computerworld understands, from its stores nationwide.
Vodafone external communications manager Paul Brislen apologises for the disappearance of the Magic, saying by email:
"Having a bit of an issue — apologies to all. Not a technical issue... hope to have it back on board shortly.
"That’s all I can say."
Brislen declined to elaborate further on the problem.
Gracewood says Brislen himself called and asked him to take the photos offline because they'd "gone international" and were causing a stir.
Brislen has now confirmed he asked for the pictures to be removed but is not prepared to comment further.
Vodafone's invitation to its "Black & White Launch Party" last week reads: "Elephants, snow, oompa loompas and roller girls, Vodafone parties have them all and more. This year it's time for party goers from outside the walls of Vodafone to experience Black & White Magic.
"Create history with us as we combine the infamous party style of Vodafone with the Magic of a phone even Google have put their [sic] name on.
"Heck, if you ever needed a reason to party this is it, dress in black or dress in white but dress to be seen at the only party this year that will have you struggling to explain the facebook snaps to your granny."
Now, it seems, it's Vodafone doing the explaining.
Spark Activate, the PR agency that worked with Vodafone on the HTC Magic launch and the party, would only say that "this is a Vodafone supplier issue which they're currently working on" and referred further queries to Brislen.
Google's Australian office was approached by Computerworld for comment on the sudden withdrawal of the Magic from the New Zealand market, but hasn't responded yet.