Subaru of Wichita one-ups union protestorsEnlarge Photo
As Ferris Bueller once said, life moves pretty fast. Nowhere is that more evident than in the world of marketing, where today's advertisers use social media to respond to all kinds of things -- from customer complaints to world events -- on the fly.
According to The Wichita Eagle, a Subaru dealership in Kansas is doing the same thing, but instead of using gifs and jpegs to get its message across, it's taken a decidedly old-school approach.
Subaru of Wichita recently launched a $1.5 million renovation of a former Suzuki outlet, converting it to a Subaru showroom. Subaru of Wichita hired a range of local contractors for the upgrade, including a firm called Hi-Tech Interiors, which carried out some drywall installation.
The problem is, Hi-Tech Interiors is a non-union shop, a fact that didn't sit well with the United Brotherhood Of Carpenters And Joiners Of America Local 201. And so, the union took to the streets -- or, more precisely, the right of way directly in front of the dealership. Members unfurled a large banner that reads, in big, red letters, "Shame on Subaru of Wichita".
In return, the dealership's director of marketing, Aaron Wirtz, did what any bright, grammatically oriented person would do in that situation: he finished the sentence with a sign that reads, "for having unbeatable prices".
Apart from the words "labor dispute" written in the corner of the union sign and fact that the fonts don't quite match, the two banners are nearly identical. Read as one, they are also hilarious -- to anyone who has a beef with unions, that is: "Shame on Subaru of Wichita for having unbeatable prices".
The union hasn't commented on the dealership's "reply" banner, but the public clearly has: as of this morning, a photo of the two signs has nearly 1,000 likes on Facebook and over 500 shares. Wirtz says that the dealership has fed the union reps and invited them inside. He adds that the people manning the union banner don't look as if they want to be there and has a hunch that they're not even union members, just folks hired to stand by the side of the road.
Our take? No matter which side of the union debate you fall on, there's no denying that this is a clever move by Subaru of Wichita -- on par with Oreo's now-famous "You can still dunk in the dark" post during the Super Bowl 2013 blackout. Let's hope the dealership's sense of humor helps diffuse tensions so that an amicable resolution can be reached.