Off The Beat: City Should Use More Caution In Its Choice Of Tape
UPDATED Honolulu workers use yellow Suzuki advertising tape during Occupy Honolulu raid.
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UPDATED 2/1/12 7:30 p.m.
Is the city exploring new revenue streams?
Usually, you’d expect to see “Police Line: Do Not Cross” cordoning off the scene of a crime — or serious government activity.
But Honolulu workers rousting the deOccupy Honolulu encampment at Thomas Square Park earlier this week used a different kind of yellow caution tape to rope off tents they confiscated. This tape was emblazoned with a logo for Suzuki, along with promise of $1,000 off select models as part of the dealership’s “Countdown Sales Event.”
UPDATED “It seems like we have a case of good intentions gone wrong,” city spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke said Friday in an email. “Someone on the city crew thought they were doing good by saving taxpayer money, using the tape they had lying around rather than buying new tape.”
“We apologize to the company whose logo was on the tape,” he said.
Still, it’s a mystery how city workers came to be in possession of what appears to be a large roll of Suzuki advertising tape. Broder Van Dyke said he planned to find out Monday where the tape came from.
A photo and video showing Honolulu workers using the tape is making its way around the Internet after blogger H. Doug Matsuoka documented the raid and tweeted about it.
We called the Suzuki car and motorcycle dealers and both were aghast at the incident.
“That’s definitely not part of our marketing plan,” said Kim Randall, vice president of marketing at Servco, which distributes Suzuki vehicles. “I don’t know how (the city) got that.”
In the two years she’s been on the job, Randall said, Servco has never ordered up yellow tape like that for an event.
“Even if something did get mixed up before I got here, obviously our intent was never to have it used publicly at an Occupy Honolulu police event,” Randall said.
Montgomery Motorcycles, which distributes Suzuki motorcycles, said the same.
“It’s not ours,” said marketing manager Christina Riner. “If they were using it to recycle it they should at least have turned it in the opposite direction.”
Then there’s the question of whether advertisers would even want their brand to be associated with a negative event like a police raid.
After this story was published, Broder Van Dyke said that although the police were present during the raid, the operation was carried out by city Department of Facility Maintenance workers.
“It’s not a negative event, this is the city responding to hundreds of complaints the city receives about the encampment there on a constant basis,” he said in an email.
In Houston recently, police accidentally used yellow tape advertising for “GarageFloorCoating.com” to block off the scene of a fatal traffic accident. The company was not amused, and thought it was probably a mixup by the tape manufacturer.
What’s next? Customized chalk outlines around bodies?
Watch a video of the raid, showing city workers unrolling the Suzuki yellow tape:
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