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A Cromwell theatre group’s guerrilla marketing campaign set tongues wagging throughout the town last week.

A billboard with a message from a woman named “Allison” outing her “soon-to-be-ex” lover “Chris” appeared in Barry Ave last Thursday, setting off speculation.

The billboard read: “Hello Chris, I know all about your new love your to-be-ex, Allison”.

Scandalous . . . A billboard in Cromwell set the gossip train in motion last week. PHOTO: MARION LOW

Social media lit up with speculation and news reached the Otago Daily Times offices in Dunedin, as news tips came about a scandal rocking the Central Otago town.

In fact the billboard was not the work of a scorned lover but advertising for Fine Thyme Theatre’s upcoming production of Shortland St

Fine Thyme Theatre committee member Brigitte Tait said reaction to the billboard exceeded expectations.

The phone rang hot at restaurant Five Stags owner of the billboard space and people were trying to work out who Chris and Allison were, she said.

The only hint for people to find out more is a hashtag at the bottom, which reads #ChrisIsACheat.

When people searched the hashtag on social media it would come up with posts from Fine Thyme Theatre regarding the show, Ms Tait said.

“We knew we had to put a clue in there, but lots of people don’t know how to use a hashtag.

“We’re teaching the people of Cromwell how to use a hashtag.”

A day or two later people started to cotton on to the billboard’s true purpose and excitement about the production was starting to build, Ms Tait said.

“I had someone who had their partner send [an image of the billboard] to them from the North Island asking go?’

“It’s the most fun thing we’ve done so far.”