A van rental company in New Zealand called Wicked Campers has annoyed some New Zealanders by painting some obnoxious slogans on its vehicles. They’ve painted slogans on their vans “Drink ’till she’s pretty” and “I tried to drown my sorrows, but I can’t get my wife to go swimming.” There’s one of an egg having sex with a chicken with “who came first” on the side of the van. There’s another one of Snow White smoking a crack pipe. Yeah, seriously, a crack pipe.
(I’ve actually seen some goofy campers painted up like this up in Canada, but they weren’t what I would call offensive. I loved this Primus van I saw in Banff a few years ago.)
Well, here’s the one that pissed me off: A slogan that says, “Smoking is cool.” And it shows some smiling guy smoking two cigarettes. That just left me thinking, “WTH, man!” I mean, the crack pipe one was bad enough, I can’t imagine there’s much of a crack epidemic in New Zealand, but why the hell would they have a van promoting cigarette smoking? For free?
Anyway, these campers are apparently hugely controversial in New Zealand and Australia. The Lonely Planet Travel Guide has erased the company from its publications, and a major NZ fuel vendor Z Energy is contemplating refusing to sell gasoline to anyone driving one of the campers. I know if I rented one of these things, I would want a big “Smoking is Cool!” on the side of my camper! Christ.
Probably the best approach are these sorts of boycotts. You could argue that being controversial gets them attention and attention is making them money, but when you’re getting kicked out of travel guides and facing fuel vendor boycotts, maybe you’ve taken the schtick too far. You can still have goofy and silly paintings on your campers without going to such extremes to offend.