La Mesa RV, with outlets in four states, has taken down Facebook posts and advertisements using the hashtag #HappyPearlHarborDay.
“We do not know how many people saw the advertisement, and the ad did not run very long,” said Timothy O’Connor, chief financial officer of the San Diego-based recreational vehicle dealer.
“To the best of our knowledge, we did not receive any complaints, other than yours,” he told Times of San Diego.
Scott McGaugh, a spokesman for the USS Midway Museum, said he thought “someone (perhaps naively) just didn’t think it through. My bet is that someone young is responsible for that social media advertising and he/she might not have the maturity/awareness appropriate for such a day.”
O’Connor said his company gave its social media staff great leeway, and the ad was placed by an employee without his manager’s review.
But he said a quick Google search of Twitter and Facebook of #happypearlharborday suggested the term was held in a positive light.
“There has been some discussion that the genesis of the hashtag may have been after a U.S. Navy admiral gave a speech commemorating Pearl Harbor’s 75th anniversary,” O’Connor said Friday. “We’ve not spent any time, however, researching the validity of this story to determine if it is true as we are in the business of selling recreational vehicles, not researching hashtag origins.”
On a Tampa Bay blog this week, Scott Harrell remarked: ”’Happy Pearl Harbor Day’ is one of the weirdest things you’ll ever wish you’d taken a minute to think about before actually saying.”
O’Connor said: “The hashtag appears to have a positive spin regarding that fateful day in December 7, 1941, based on the aforementioned quick Google search.
“However, even with the swiftly changing and sometimes confusing new lexicon we are witnessing in this digital media age, we have concluded we will not use the phrase or hashtag in advertisement and have shared that conclusion with our social media team.”
Times of San Diego spotted the sponsored Facebook ad about 8:30 p.m. Thursday — the day after Pearl Harbor Day, formally called National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The online ad began: “#HappyPearlHarborDay: Tis the season to visit the Best RVShows across the US if you’re looking for a variety from Motorhomes to Toy Haulers & Travel Trailers.” It promoted RV shows in Florida and Arizona.
O’Connor said: “La Mesa RV deeply values its longstanding relationships with all branches of the military, and we proudly employ many, many veterans.”
Launched in 1972 with a single RV dealership in La Mesa, the business boasts of having become “one of the largest multi-location RV dealerships in the world. We are proud to be recognized as a leader in the industry.”
It has 10 dealerships in four states, including Arizona, Florida and New Mexico.
La Mesa RV is active on Twitter (with 3,000 tweets since July 2011 and 2,053 followers) and Facebook (nearly 4,500 “Likes”). It also has accounts on Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as a YouTube channel (with nearly 80 videos) and a blog.