It has been said that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but one Texas car dealership may not agree.
In a Facebook posting, Travis Potter, general manager of Gorman McCracken Volkswagen/Mazda, acknowledged an embarrassing mistake.
“Dang it!” he wrote on April 30. “We had a billboard installed at our dealership that used the wrong word in a common phrase. It was a mistake and we’re currently working on a fix for the billboard.”
That wrong word? “Piece” instead of “Peace.” The billboard, which had been up for at least six months before someone noticed the mistake, read: “Piece of Mind Warranty on All Makes.”
Marco Camacho of Automotive Advertising Agency of Austin, the new ad agency for the Longview, Texas, car dealer, said the previous ad agency was responsible for the billboard.
“The billboard actually faces away from the dealership, from the employees in the dealership, so I guess no one ever really studied it and saw that there had been a misspelling,” he said in a Tuesday evening interview with ABCNews.com.
He added that a passing motorist who saw workers performing maintenance on the billboard called the error to the dealership’s attention. From there, people started commenting about it on the dealership’s Facebook page and, “it just took a life on of its own,” Camacho said.
Posters on the Facebook page of KTRK-TV, ABC News’ Houston affiliate, had mixed reactions when the station reported on the situation. While more than a few lamented the misspellings and others offered puns, some believed it was marketing genius.
“So if they used the correct word none of us would be talking about them. Smart marketing…,” wrote one poster, while another added: “It’s gotten the attention of a local news station in Houston, 905 likes, 291 comments 174 shares… what would i say to the advertising company who put up this sign? Mission Accomplished.”
The dealership is trying to turn the mistake into a positive. It’s made a donation to the East Texas Literacy Council to the tune of about $150 for each letter of the incorrect word, Camacho said.
As for the billboard, it remains up.
“We do have a fix for it, and so what we are going to do is over the word piece that is misspelled, we’re actually going to put a peace sign over that … so kind of take a little creative license and, again, make a positive out of everything that’s happened,” Camacho said.