Wellington, Nov 3 : A halloween pizza ad depicting Sir Edmund Hillary dancing in a graveyard has been criticized by his family and friends, who claim it to be in 'bad taste'.
The animated Hell Pizza ad shows a mostly skeletal Sir Ed, along with actor Heath Ledger and the Queen Mother, emerging from graves to dance to Michael Jackson's song Thriller.
It was posted on the Internet two days before Halloween, and has been dubbed 'grotesque' by Sir Ed's son, Peter Hillary.
"I think it's a bit disturbing ... a little grotesque. I don't think it's funny and I'm not very impressed," Stuff.co.nz quoted Mr Hillary, as saying.
"It is early days and it's still pretty raw. It's extremely poor taste really," he added.
The video clip has been removed for the company's website.
Hell promotions had been under fire, previously, for campaigns featuring Adolf Hitler, a mail drop that included condoms, and a spoof of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's death.
Glenn Corbett, retail operations manager for TPF Group, which acquired the Hell chain in 2006, said the company had no intention of offending anyone, especially the Hillary family.
"Clearly he's revered in New Zealand and we all love him. It's the sort of thing that Hell does to create a little bit of fun and a little bit of humour," he said.
"The idea of Sir Ed being there was intended to be a light-hearted remembrance of Sir Ed that was a bit hellish," he added.