Woman Who Appears Bound, Gagged in Truck an 'Experiment in Marketing,' Sign Company Says

PHOTO: KWTX
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A controversial tailgate decal of what appears to be a helpless woman bound and tied in the back of a pickup truck has critics crying foul over what turned out to be a Texas sign company's ploy for business.

Hornet Signs, a vehicle graphics company in Waco, Texas, decided to stick on the car wrap as "an experiment in marketing," according to its website.

"I wasn't expecting the reactions we got," Hornet Signs owner Brad Kolb told CBS's Waco affiliate KWTX-TV. "It was more or less something we put out there to see who noticed it."

The life-like depiction of the "kidnapped woman" has created a social media maelstrom on the company's Facebook page.

"As a Waco native I was horrified and embarrassed for my hometown. I am emailing everyone I know to boycott your business. Stupid decisions have consequences. I hope Waco stands up to your 'experiment,'" wrote Shell O. Littleton.

"There's nothing you can say to justify this horrific business of yours. You all have mothers, if you have daughters and wives and they had been kidnapped, I'm sure you would think twice about glorifying that type of violence on a truck decal," said Angela M. Gonzalez. "I'll be shocked if you're still in business by the end of the year."

The car wrap even spawned a MoveOn.org petition, demanding Hornet Signs to "remove the decal of a hog-tied woman from your advertising and catalog."

"Using imagery of a hog-tied women on the back of a pickup truck is unacceptable in today's climate of violence against women," the petition says. "We stand united against any and all imagery glorifying violence against women. Cease and Desist. "

The company took to its website to try and spin their vehicle wrap in a positive light.

Hornet Sings posted a video in light of controversy featuring Kolb, who said the company "embraced the situation as an opportunity to help victims of abuse all over the country and partnered with the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children in Waco to raise money and awareness."

Hornet Signs is also running a poll on its website, asking voters to pick what the company should do with the actual tailgate from the picture -- take the decal off the truck, leave the decal on, or put it on Ebay and give the proceeds to charity.

"To those from all over the nation who are both shocked and offended, Hornet Signs and our individual employees do not condone abusive behavior in any form, to any individual," Kolb said.

Hornet Signs has no plans to sell the contentious car wrap, according to its Facebook page. The company did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment.

The Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

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