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Fathead's Tim Tebow Blunder Makes for PR Plunder
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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There's "The West Wing" and "Jersey Shore." Could be Sting and Nicki Minaj. Perhaps even a PR professional and a Hollywood publicist. Polar opposites are everywhere, and in every profession. Take 7th-round draft pick, three-time Super Bowl winner, and future NFL Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady and...1st-round draft pick, NCAA Football legend, and a guy who sucks so bad at pro football the CFL won't even look at him Tim Tebow. If the NFL were a popularity contest for the best all-around guy, the world would be Tebowing. That notwithstanding, NFL is about skills, some of which Tebow has proven not to possess. 

So, when NFL-engrossed paraphernalia giant and wall decal lambaster Fathead has properly listed merchandise of each aforementioned player, you would assume they have a surplus of some and a hard time keeping in stock of the other. Meet 'Anonymous NFL fan' who decided his office wall was a little barren and needed some sprucing up. He loves New England, has a man crush on Tom Brady, and decides to call Fathead. He sits patiently by his mailbox waiting for his delivery like he is on "A Christmas Story" anticipating the hallowed Red Rider BB Gun. Finally, his big day is here, and he digs into the box with a feverish pitch. He grabs his package, unrolls it only to find one Tim Tebow staring back at him, posing and poised to throw yet another incomplete pass. Not happy about this flub, the guy takes to Reddit with his angst

Ordered a Tom Brady Fathead for my new office. Opened the package and got this. You've gotta be f#$%ing kidding me. 

Ah, yes. Eloquence. According to this story from SportsGrid.com, there are pictures to prove it. More importantly, how can you not tell the difference between Tebow and Brady? Four days later, Reddit is full of hilarity, vitriol, and snark about this issue. Said fan also posted, "What did I do to deserve this?" First of all, you are much older than my nine-year-old son and are calling Fathead to decorate your office. There's that for starters. Other than that, I can't help you...but Fathead sure did. They realized the error of their ways and more than made up for it by sending the hapless fan all 13 Tom Brady fathead decals they makeaccording to FOXSports.com. Where some companies see lost profit, mad props to Fathead for seeing PR frenzy: 

"It started last Tuesday with the Reddit post and we watched it and were wondering if the press was going to pick it up," Fathead VP of public relations Brian Stevenson told FOXSports.com. "They did and went with it on Wednesday. And it just exploded. We were like, 'What do we do to counter that?' We sent an email to the Reddit fan: 'You want Brady? We're gonna give you Brady.' So we sent him all 13." 

While the rest of the story is unwarranted braggadocio, Fathead embraced this faux-pas and handled up on this. Then took to social media with hashtag #OOPS. Well played. And it begs the question: What would you advise your clients do if they screwed the pooch like this? Wallow in it and hope it fades away, deal with it quietly and continue to deal with the hate mail, or this...take it head-on in a self-deprecating fashion. Granted, if this guy wouldn't have taken to social media — and the post didn't become viral — I think it's obvious Fathead may not have cared. However, they stood up and dealt with it. And good on them for that part, at least.

Continuing the advantageous mojo, Tim Tebow is now a Patriot. So guess who is getting the very first Fathead decal of Tebow donning the silver, red, and blue? Yup. I suppose the garage this guy lives in will be full with Patriots regalia now. Just hope it's okay with his mom.

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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