Big bold and embarrassing: Ad meant to woo Boeing becomes a punch line

by: Monique Ming Laven Updated:

Look closely, the plane pictured is not a Boeing plane, but one from Airbus.

There's a big, public embarrassment in the bid to convince Boeing to build its newest plane in Western Washington.  A group called Washington Aerospace Partnership ran a full page ad encouraging support for Boeing's new 777x. 

But now that message is turning into a bit of a punch line.  You can call it the latest development in "errorspace" or getting it just "plane wrong"-- there are a number of puns that come to mind when you see the ad entitled "The Future of Washington."

Anyone who knows much about Boeing sees the problem right away.  It took aviation expert Scott Hamilton a "nanosecond" to spot the big goof.  "I just laughed, I shook my head," he said.

The big bold, had a message signed by labor groups, business groups, government groups.  Essentially it says bring it home, do what's necessary to convince Boeing that Western Washington should build the new Triple 7 X line-- despite a contract dispute with the union.

But this ad has hit some turbulence

"There you have an Airbus in a Boeing ad," Hamilton pointed out in his study, surrounded by model airplanes.

The crowning image of the ad is not a 777.  It's not even a Boeing plane.  It's an Airbus -- as in Boeing's chief competitor.

"That wingtip fence versus the winglet is clearly the immediate giveaway," Hamilton said as he pointed to Airbus's signature split wingtip in the ad and on a model-- versus the Boeing winglet.

He can also quickly point out more subtle differences in the shape of the engines, landing gear, and cockpit windscreens-- the things people who know Boeing -- know.

Jeff Johnson, of Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO, has his name right on the ad.  He knows the planes, but he says he received a a copy of the text to proofread.  There was no image attached. "Sometimes the best made plans get bolloxed up, right?" he said.

Johnson doesn't believe the mistake does any real damage to the effort to get the new 777 line built here.

But, right now the ad's message is getting drowned out by its mistake.

Notes Hamilton, "This would be like Microsoft having an Apple product in their advertisement."