Truck stop vs. travel center

That sound you heard a few days ago were jaws dropping in newsrooms all over Knoxville when a certain political TV ad began airing.

For years the Pilot PR machine has bashed anyone in the local media who was foolish enough to describe the business founded by James A Haslam II, the company’s powerful and politically connected chairman, as a truck stop operator.

The hammer has come down hard on those who dared utter “Pilot” and “truck stop” in the same sentence. It’s travel centers. Repeat: travel centers. Don’t make that mistake again.

Which makes one wonder how the TV spot ever saw the light of day.

The ad touts Knoxville mayor and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam’s experience with the family business. The narrator extols the many tasks Bill handled for Pilot, including ” … opening hundreds of truck stops. Good ones.”

At first, I wasn’t sure I heard what I thought I heard. Couldn’t be, I thought.

Next time I saw the ad, I paid closer attention.

Wow.

Well, at least they were good ones.

My guess is the offending copywriter is picking up a lot of trash and stocking a lot of coolers, right about now.

Otherwise, the TV spot does a pretty good job of introducing Bill the working man to voters who may not be as familiar with him as the hometown folks.

Watch the ad here.