Specialized has apologised to a destroyed Seattle bike shop for plastering its boarded-up windows with posters. G&O Family Cyclery was blown apart by a gas explosion in March. Specialized had employed a guerrilla fly-posting agency to litter the city with posters proclaiming "Better bikes come from better bike shops." Specialized's Erick Marcheschi has donated $1000 to G&O's rebuilding crowdfunding campaign and said Specialized's agency did not know the hoardings hid a bike shop.
Posting on the shop website co-owner David "Davey Oil" Giugliano said Specialized was "rude" to have commissioned the possibly illegal flyposting, and pointed readers to a report on the campaign by Seattle Bike Blog.
Davey Oil was also annoyed about the poster's content:
"When I got closer, I realized that the posters were actually an ad for Specialized Bikes, including a fairly sexist ad for a sporty, pink commuter number, titled, “the Significant Other.”
Donating $1000, Marcheschi said: "we hope you accept our donation to rebuild, and continue to make a positive impact on families and cyclists in your community. We are deeply sorry for the regrettably placed poster on your shop earlier this week. As you are aware at this point, our team had worked with an outside agency to put up posters on vacant buildings and by a stroke of bad luck and an uninformed street team, the poster was placed.
"We want to reinforce that this was in no way intentional or malicious, and instead an honest mistake. We are taking the appropriate actions to have it removed immediately. We very much respect and stand strong with local bike shops such as yours, as owners like you are what keep the bicycle culture thriving. Regardless of bike, brand, or location, we want to see local bike shops succeed and continue to serve their communities."
However, Specialized's stunt has angered local bike shops, including Specialized stockists.
Kat Reinhart, markering coordinator at Gregg’s Cycles wrote on the Seattle Bike Blog:
"This is NOT something we endorsed or had any part of ... I just got off the phone with our [Specialized] rep. He had just come from meeting with Davey, and it sounds like there should be a formal apology (from Mike Sinyard himself), along with a “sizeable” donation to the GoFundMe."
Reinhart also complained about the flyposting campaign.
"The decision to hire Poster Giant was certainly questionable and I hope that that will never happen again, since it reflects poorly on us as retailers as well as on the big S brand. Even our rep was unaware that this campaign was taking place, Poster Giant claims to be unaware that the building was a bike shop. All in all this is hugely unfortunate for everyone involved.
"This was a very unfortunate placement of an ill-conceived marketing campaign by a brand in an effort to support local bike shops. Hopefully their efforts to make it right will end up strengthening G&O more, and help us all get back to the job at hand of putting more people on more, better bikes."