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{ Branding } Don't do this to your business or brand! #epicfail

It all went pear-shaped for one Australian business owner, when his branding went viral for all the WRONG reasons!

I'm sure when John Webb from Wicked Campers came out with an idea to start a travel rental van business for backpackers in Australia, I wonder if the conversation in his head or to others was anything like this?:

"I'm going to start a business with a Wicked brand! It will include really disgusting and disrespectful sexual slurs against women and girls especially, I'll also have images that will go with them on the vans! Yeah, we'll definitely stand out from our competitors then for sure!!"

(this is hypothetically speaking of course...)

And the result is...

Photo: change.org

Photo: adstandards.com.au

Photo: adstandards.com.au

Oh I'm sorry, did this offend you?

Well, you're not the only one it offended; men, women, mothers, fathers and families across Australia are up in arms about this and there are currently 115,007 supporters for the petition started by Mum and blogger (Warrior for Change) Paula Orbea, who's 11 year old daughter saw this writing (see photo above) on the back of a Wicked Campers Van recently.

However, the way she read it was that 'she' is a slut! Can you imagine your own 11 year old daughter thinking that about herself and possibly believing it? No me either! :(

I have an 8 year old daughter and I will be damned if this is going to be seen by her, so I stepped up, had a voice and signed the petition immediately this morning!!

Oh, no no no... this isn't the ONLY vile and disgusting advertising on the Wicked Camper Vans (and believe me, writing their business name only infuriates me more and I am NOT wanting to advertise this business or services and do not encourage, advise or inspire ANYONE to do business with this company, I would boycott them myself!)  - here are some more slurs which appear on the back of Wicked Camper vans all across Australia:

  • 'If God were a woman would sperm taste like chocolate?'
  • 'In every princess, there's a little slut who wants to try it just once'
  • 'If you woke up with a sore arse and $100 in your pocket would you tell anyone?'
  • 'It's not the length of the wand but the magic in the stick that counts'
  • 'She can't wrestle, but you should see her box!'
  • 'I may not go down in history, but I'll go down on your sister!'
  • 'If you loved me... you'd swallow that!'

Hmm WTF is right there you nailed it in one my friend! WTF indeed!... :( makes me soo bloody mad too!

My question to the owner of this business and any advertising critics or experts out there:
Is this advertising and/or branding?

My answer is Um... Hell - YES! Of course it is! Which is why it is so wrong!

I am disgusted this has gone on without further action before now! It is a very, very poor attempt to get attention for your business and brand and could potentially cost his business hundred's of thousands of dollars to not only rebrand but to remove the offensive words and images.

You see, according to the Australian Advertising Standards website, complaints can be made, but in some cases it is up to the company or organisation to change it or remove it altogether. 99% of the companies change, there is 1% that couldn't care less, John Webb was apparently that 1% when he first received the complaint from Paula, however, due to the viral nature of her petition and blog post, he did appear to retreat with his website and Facebook pages being in maintenance mode. Hopefully under a brute force DOS attack! Oh please no one DOS attack his server ok :) I really mean it! ;P

No one wants to see an Aussie business go down in flames, especially me! That is of course if he doesn't do anything about the disrespectful, distasteful, and misogynistic messages that are travelling around Australia by foreigners as we speak, then he deserves whatever legal action is taken against him!

What kind of image is he portraying to travellers to this country, may I ask?

'Oh come to Australia, the girls are easy, NO doesn't mean NO, they take it anyway you give it!'

That's the kind of thing this business is displaying in our culture. A RAPE culture! Don't we have enough shit going on in the world??

Aren't we one of the most wealthy, socially independent, modern and successful countries in the world? And this is how we advertise in our country and show our blatant disregard for women!

We should not be supporting a rape culture, we should be standing up for the rights of our society and children to say: "NO, that is NOT acceptable and we do not have to put up with it!" I was a proud Australian, until I saw this! This is very UN-Australian!

What if John Webb decided to take that next step further and plaster racial slurs at our indigenous people? It's the same thing to me! Either way, not acceptable in our society.

That is WHY this is an epic fail in business and branding, this could be the end of Wicked Campers all because he didn't realise his target audience wasn't his ONLY audience!

I bet John's not a HAPPY CAMPER now!!

Stand up and have a Voice! 

Change.org - "Eliminate misogynistic and degrading slogans and imagery.Petition by Paula Orbea Blog: Questions for Us - questionsforus.com

To all PARENTS, I am asking you to please consider signing this petition:

John Webb, Founder (Wicked Campers): Eliminate misogynistic and degrading slogans and imagery. 


The Inspiring Mums® Petition:

"I have an 8 year old daughter who can now read, she would attempt to read this because it is written on the back of a van in 'funny' writing because she'd want to know what it is. What kind of message is this sending to boys who will be men and girls to be women. This particular message is saying to boys "it's ok  to treat a girl like a slut" - it's like they have been given 'permission' to do this, so they will think it's common practice and do it! It's not about not being able to take a joke, we can all see the funny side in statements, but not like this. This is being freely advertised across the country to EVERYBODY.

John Webb, get your bloody fingers out of your ears, and start listening to the people. We may not be the target audience, but we are still AN AUDIENCE. We are forced to witness this disrespectful and disgusting advertising while we are out on the road with our kids, taking them to school, doing the shopping, going on holidays. Why do you think we should tolerate and accept this, just because it is your business. I am all for business making their mark, branding and getting their business scene, that is what I coach with my clients, but this is not marketing, this is an offensive attitude of a misogynist man using his business to say it is ok to exploit women. 

You don't have to be a feminist or a parent to find this disturbing, just a human being that cares about other people in general. We have the collective RIGHT to stand up and demand the right to a society where this is not acceptable by any means. An advertising company would not be allowed to put this on a Billboard or in a TV advert, then why the hell do you have the right to sprawl his hideous and very disturbing mindset and garbage across what is basically a billboard that travels and forces it on the public audience.

You can have a WICKED business without the misogynistic and degrading slogans and imagery, you just have to hire the right company to give you the right campaign and brand to go with it. Be a man, suck it up and make it right! Stop this shit today! 

We will fight til it's gone, or your gone, one or the other! "

Petition By Heather James Inspiring Mums®
Community of mums supporting Mums at Inspiring Mums®


Have your say!

I'd like to hear what you have to say about this topic and blog post today.
How do you think this business can survive this viral disgrace?
Will he survive? Will he rebrand?
How do you think he could rebrand his business, what ideas do you have?

Thanks for reading and I do hope this post has inspired you to TAKE ACTION and stand up for the rights of ourselves, our children and their children!

Smile & Shine®!

Heather