Local Company Capitalizes on “Big Ass” Controversy

(U-WIRE) LEXINGTON, Ky. 09/04/2003- Let’s start at the back end — a 7-foot donkey tail and rump beside the words, “Big Ass Fans.” This mural greets all travelers on Winchester Road. Wild University of Kentucky basketball fanatics may come to mind, but sports enthusiasts will realize they were misguided once they venture into Big Ass Fans’ warehouse. “It didn’t hit me as a ceiling fan advertisement but more for sport spectators,” said Stacey Spears, a communication disorders senior. That’s right — “big ass” cooling devices, not “big ass” spectators. The company prides itself on being the only company that builds large industrial fans, including many larger than dorm rooms. Big Ass Fans isn’t a stranger to complaints because of its name. The company even enjoys them, said Bill Buell, “The Marketing Guy,” as it says on his business card. Big Ass Fans’ Web site posts many of the more colorful comments it receives. “Your company name is obviously the result of a stagnant gene pool!” was posted along with, “How safe would you feel if the office in which you’re reading this had been built by the ‘Buttcrack Construction Company’? What if your natural gas pipelines had been installed by the ‘Fart Big Gas Company’?” Complaints weren’t the only comments posted, though. “The people who are offended by your ads are just mad because they thought BigAssFans was a Porn site,” one comment read. “It means that our advertising is working,” Buell said. “It’s a name that you won’t ever forget.” The business recently moved to 800 Winchester Road because of an increase in business. And Big Ass Fans isn’t limited to air-cooling devices. It also sponsors golf holes at tournaments, using the name “Big Ass Hole” for sponsored holes. T-shirts, hats, mouse pads, sports spectator’s seat cushions and bumper stickers are available at www.bigassfans.com There has been speculation about the company’s controversial sign, but the sign is legal. It isn’t considered obscene because the donkey’s back side justifies the name. Some students, though, didn’t see the cause for excitement. “Coming from Chicago, it’s not that big of a deal,” said Meredith Sislow, a physical therapy freshman. “I’ve seen worse.”