Graphics Gaffe

Ever had one of those weeks where you wanted to crawl under a rock? No one would have blamed the folks at Pendennis if they had done so in early September. After all, Pendennis is a highly regarded sailing-superyacht builder in the UK. The interesting thing is, not only did the management and marketing teams not run and hide, they embraced the opportunity to generate publicity, laughing at themselves in the process and raising the profile of a worthy cause.

It’s a lesson that can benefit us all.

Here’s the back story. Pendennis recently had two vans painted with its logo. Unfortunately, no one realized until it was far too late that, when the van doors were slid open, “Pendennis” became… well, take a look at the photo below. A passer-by just couldn’t help but take it and post it to Twitter:

Um… yeah. Pretty bad, right?

Oh, it gets worse. Within the course of two days, that photo went ’round and ’round on Twitter (one report says it was re-Tweeted 6,000 times). It also flew across the desks of several major media outlets. Van-gate was in full swing. As you can imagine, the British press in particular had a field day with the graphics gaffe.

Now, many companies in this situation might take the stance of “ignore it, and it will go away.” But given social media and the newspaper articles, the van door disaster was certainly not going to go away. So, Pendennis acknowledged the goof, posting the following along with a video on YouTube:

Thanks for all the comments about our unfortunate van design. The Directors and Marketing Team at Pendennis would like to use the publicity we’ve received to raise awareness of a local charity that promotes awareness of testicular cancer http://www.pantscancers.org.uk. If you have laughed at our van graphics feel free to donate!

Here’s the video:

Pendennis didn’t stop there. Its social media team tweeted out the video link, and it got shared… and shared, and shared, and shared. As of this writing, one week after the video was posted, it has been viewed 3,248 times. That’s a tremendous achievement in any period of time.

What a great way to turn an embarrassing situation into a triumph.

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