Paris Hilton's vacant? Billboard industry seeks new ways to fill empty space

When advertisers slash spending, ad-dependent newspaper companies cut costs by reducing the number of pages they print. Billboard owners aren't as lucky. They're stuck with the unsold ad space. During past recessions, that space would stand empty, aside from bleak black type declaring "Available." But, in this recession, billboard companies are getting much more creative.

New Zealand-based billboard company, Media5, is getting plenty of press for this billboard in Auckland, which features a photo of Paris Hilton with the word "Vacant" emblazoned below her mug. Funny -- unless you're either Hilton or one of the country's hurting billboard companies. In fact, Hilton thinks its so unfunny that she is now threatening legal action.