Bobcat fans were unhappy to see the face of former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy plastered on a Grande Communications billboard at the Hopkins Drive and C.M. Allen Parkway intersection.
The billboard, placed July 29, read, “Hey Bobcats! Get ‘hooked’ on Grande like Colt McCoy.” Upset fans made phone calls and sent e-mails to Grande Communications, whose headquarters are in San Marcos.
Hutch Bass, vice president of Grande Communications, said the billboard was part of a new statewide campaign for the company’s back-to-school cable and Internet bundle promotion.
He believes the billboard’s word choice is what angered Texas State fans the most.
“It was clearly an unfortunate choice of words,” Bass said. “I think the use of ‘hooked’ on the billboard (upset fans). It was meant to send the message of, ‘Get hooked up to Internet and cable,’ but I think people associated it more with ‘Hook ‘Em.’”
Andre BouMitri, Texas State alumnus, was most upset at seeing McCoy’s face rather than the slogan.
“My first thought was, ‘Are you kidding me? How can you have Colt McCoy on a billboard in San Marcos?’” BouMitri said. “If you want to make some money, put (former Bobcat quarterback) Bradley George up there. It was definitely a mental mistake on (Grande’s) part.”
Colter Ray,vice president, created the Facebook group, “Take Down the Grande Communications Colt McCoy Billboard on Hopkins” in hopes of driving a response from Grande Communications. The group attracted 365 members, and the billboard was removed within two days after its creation.
Ray, public relations senior, believes the group, along with fans’ phone calls and e-mails to Grande Communications, spurred the company’s quick response.
“I was impressed with how many people got involved (in contacting Grande Communications),” Ray said. “Grande did an excellent job of reacting to the fans’ response, and they acted so quickly.”
Grande Communications employees removed the billboard Aug. 2 after a slew of phone calls and e-mails to the company. Bass said Grande Communications received about 25 e-mails from Bobcat fans complaining about the billboard. Comments were posted on the BobcatFans website and the Facebook group’s wall.
Bass said he decided to remove the billboard because of fans’ reactions.
“We could tell it was a sensitive issue to Bobcat fans, and our intent was not to upset any specific fan group,” Bass said. “Grande is a longtime supporter of Texas State, and we want to stay a good, corporate partner with the university.”
An important factor Grande Communications should consider, according to BouMitri, is that Texas State is in the midst of moving from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
“I’ve talked to a lot of fans, and there are individuals (in San Marcos) who want to help (athletics) be successful and move to the next level,” BouMitri said. “You’re not helping students do that if you’re telling them to ‘Get hooked’ with a Colt McCoy billboard.”