SONORA (CBS13) – The lettering has since been changed on a Sonora motel’s marquee, but the short phrase caused a whole lot of controversy during its short shelf life.
The marquee read: “Having an affair?” And it listed a phone number.
“My name is Dave. I’m the owner of the Aladdin Motor Inn and I’m the responsible party,” Dave Kalash told CBS13 on Thursday.
Dave knew the play on words would raise some eyebrows.
“My wife thought it was a little bit trite,” he said. “I thought it’s fun.”
Almost immediately after the message went up, complaints poured in.
“There are seven meanings to the word affair, and one of which is having a love type relationship,” Dave explained. “Being that the marquee is adjacent to the motel sign, a lot of folks put two and two together and think the opposite of what we were trying to present. What we are trying to present? People noticing the sign and giving us a call.”
What was supposed to be a clever marketing idea caused an uproar in the small foothills community. And once someone posted the picture online, folks from out of state weighed in.
“We had one comment that they thought the number was a prayer number and it wasn’t. All you had to do was call it to find that out,” he said.
The double whammy of a down economy and dismal ski season has hurt the motel and conference center. Business is down 10 percent in the first quarter. The owners wanted some attention — and they got it.
“The marquee is old school and it’s hard in this day and age to know if you are reaching particular accounts as far as advertising,” Dave said.
On Thursday the sign featured a discount for anyone attending a community event. Dave says he’ll continue to find creative ways to attract business.