So let’s get right to it…yup, I’m pissed. Why? Well, because of a business ethics fail with a big back story. A major manufacturer of bikes in the Stand Up And Ride industry started using the phrase “Stand Up And Ride” in their marketing efforts to promote their new stand up bike. But that’s not what pissed me off. What really burned my bacon was that they did it knowingly and strategically. OK, nothing new here, a bigger company wants what they want, so they take it knowing that the little guy either can’t, or won’t do anything about it. I think in schools they call it bullying. But in the business world they call it justified. Which is exactly the response I got when I called them out on it.
I have a long history with this company including the CEO who I’ve known since 2010. I wrote him an email to see WTF:
I’ve attached two images to this email for your review. I don’t know if you’ve seen the Google Ad words spot that’s running, but I assume you’ve seen the (His Company’s Name) home page recently. I wanted to bring this to your attention if you weren’t aware of it, or get your stance on it if you were. You and I had a conversation about purchasing Stand Up And Ride and you weren’t interested, but now it appears that it’s being used in association with (His Company’s Name) . I just wanted to get your take on it.
He called me on the phone and I was shocked by his response. He told me that it was just a phrase and they could use it. What The Firetruck?!?! Are you serious? He acknowledged that I’d been using it since 2010 and that it was on my bags, shirts, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I produced. After our hour long conversation my jaw was on the floor.
What I took away from the conversation was that they aren’t sorry, and they’re not going to stop using it. Wow!!! Did I say Wow?! Un-fricking-believable. I should have recorded the conversation because I’m still not sure I even believe it. I would have liked to play it back to ensure myself I hadn’t drifted off to la la land or something.
So what am I going to do about it? Great question. The better one is how much time and money do I want to commit to it. I’m still thinking about that one, but for now, I’m trying to bring some awareness to what’s going on. Stand Up And Ride has been great but this little bump in the road has put a bitter taste in my mouth and makes my want to puke. Thanks for nothing you dicks #standupandride #businessethicsfail