A sign writing company in Waco, Texas (you couldn't ask for a better location for this story) has come under fire for putting a decal on the back of a truck which shows a tied up woman apparently being abducted.
A spokesman for Hornet Signs described it as a 'marketing experiment' conceived to test how realistic their decals are. The result has been an avalanche of criticism from the public and abuse charities. Across the world the story buzzed across social media, generally with a negative take on the promotion.
However, one supporter on Facebook commented; 'This American business owner has a decal that made the news. Like it or not, it works.’
Is that an acceptable point of view? There is a general feeling that social media is now such a vast and noisy arena that attention has to be grabbed. Many companies are embracing controversy as a strategy and, as more and more do so, the bar is consistently raised as companies market to an increasingly jaded audience.
The result can be seen in this campaign. A company has used a picture of a woman being abducted in a marketing campaign and some people think that's okay.
We get what we deserve. We get the television, the politicians and the culture that we deserve. So when we complain that things have gone too far it's often because we allowed them to. It's apathy that allows this to happen, combined with a tendency to ridicule campaigners who try to bring balance to the situation (remember Mary Whitehouse?)
Is it okay to say 'it's only marketing' with a stunt like this? Where is the line?