In mid-December 2012, a one-minute video titled ‘What has Brighton Council done to annoy the person that puts up their Christmas lights?' hit the Internet, featuring a montage of holiday light installations from locations across the Sussex seaside town which included a variety of rude images and messages, such as depictions of genitalia and spelled-out messages such as "Buy more shit" and "I hate my job":
Brighton officials quickly confirmed that the video was a clever hoax, accomplished through the use of editing and special effects:
Business Improvement District manager Gavin Stewart said the video had caused quite a stir, but added: ‘It is a prank, it’s a hoax. They don’t look like that in real life. It’s a funny thing. We’re taking it as tongue in cheek.’
Brighton councillor Jason Kitcat confirmed the video was a hoax.
‘The video is a creative spoof, but it is making people smile and getting thousands of people talking about Brighton and Hove in the run up to Christmas,’ he [said].
‘That has got to be good news for the city and good news for its traders.’
He added: ‘The lights are paid for and put up by local traders through the Business Improvement District Brilliant Brighton, not the council.
‘I’m sure they will be delighted at the extra publicity at their busiest time of the year.’
The video was reminiscent of a much-circulated photograph from two years earlier which supposedly captured a crude message spelled out in lights outside Harrods department store.