Subaru of Wichita gets worldwide attention for response to union sign

WICHITA — Subaru of Wichita is getting the proverbial kind of advertising that money can’t buy since it retaliated against the “Shame on Subaru” sign the United Brotherhood Of Carpenters And Joiners Of America Local 201 planted in front of the dealership last week.

“It’s been a wild ride,” says Aaron Wirtz, who handles marketing and media for Subaru.

As Have You Heard? reported last week, the union is upset with Subaru for not hiring a union contractor for part of a remodeling job. Subaru responded with its own sign that plays off the “Shame” by saying, “For having unbeatable prices.” It also took to the Internet to share its side of the situation.

Since the story has been picked up by other news outlets, Wirtz says the dealership on East Kellogg has been inundated with attention from around the world. That included an interview that Fox News did with Wirtz on Wednesday morning.

“Can you believe that?” he says.

Wirtz says while the attention has been great, it’s not necessarily going to translate into selling a lot more cars. He points to an e-mail from someone in New Zealand.

“In the case of New Zealand, we’re probably not going to ship a new Subaru there,” he says. “However, I do feel like this has worked out about as good as it could have.”

One person commented online that it was like Oreo cookies capitalizing on the temporary blackout at Super Bowl XLVII with an immediate funny tweet about it.

“That’s kind of heady stuff there,” Wirtz says.

“I like this whole being a marketing genius thing,” he says, laughing. “I’m into that.”

He adds, though, “By no means do we want to gloat or just absolutely revel in this attention.”

Wirtz says the dealership is simply turning lemons into lemonade.

“We’ve been giving away cans of lemonade,” he says of the people standing at the dealership’s sign.

Wirtz says the sign is “just a direct response to a specific situation.”

“Some people are trying to turn this into the beginning of a grass roots movement,” he says.

“We’re a friendly dealership, and we’re trying to have fun,” Wirtz says. “At the end of the day, we’re here to sell cars. We’re here to provide great customer service, and that’s what we’re going to do.”