Big Ass Fans turns complaints about name into music video

ctruman@herald-leader.comSeptember 4, 2012 

Big Ass Fans wants customers to know that in addition to its big fans it has a large sense of humor. The latest exhibit in this campaign is an online video that riffs on voicemail complaints the Lexington company, which makes low-speed, high-volume fans, has received about its name.

Some people don't get the company's mildly naughty name as a statement of purpose and call or write to object. Two such phone calls are satirized in the video, available on YouTube.

The comic '80s-throwback music video, complete with a cheesy hip-hop soundtrack and dancing, was shot by Big Ass Fans' video manager, Jim Voskuhl. It stars public relations manager Sherrell Watson and exhibit manager Pam Lawless as women apparently inspired by Dana Carvey's "Church Lady" character from Saturday Night Live.

To look appropriately dowdy, Watson donned a wig that makes her appear older and Lawless found a suit with shoulder pads and pulled her hair back tightly.

Titled Big Ass Fans Fan Mail — Because Not Everyone Is a Big Ass Fan, the video is set against a white backdrop with Watson and Lawless lip-syncing to audio from actual complaint voicemails — "I disapprove of using foul language," "I do not approve of this name, "My husband and I are discouraged and dismayed." There is copious head- and finger-wagging.

At one point, Watson chimes in with lyrics inspired by the 1999 TLC song No Scrubs: "I don't want no junk. Your junk can't get no love from me."

As of Tuesday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 2,000 times on YouTube.

This might be the first in a series of videos that feature a group of occasional actors informally called the Big Ass Fan Players.

The budget for the video was minimal, and it was shot in about an hour.

"Making and selling fans is not glamorous," Lawless said. "We like to have fun with it."

Although the video pokes fun at those who don't like the company's name, Big Ass Fans makes concessions to them. For sensitive customers in, say, religious or school environments, it has created what is informally called the "No Ass Package." Company materials are tailored to leave out the offending word and replace it with the logo of a donkey's butt.

Big Ass Fans is used to complaints about its name. It even has a photo album on Facebook called Haters Gonna Hate filled with images of complaint mail.

In 2003, David Stevens, then an Urban County Council member, railed against the company's 40-foot sign at the Big Ass Fans location on Winchester Road. He said the sign was swearing, which he called "uncouth behavior and not desirable in a civilized society."

But the company finds its current name more memorable than the former moniker, HVLS Fans, which did not roll memorably off the tongue.

"The name is tongue-in-cheek," Watson said. "It's not meant to offend."

Cheryl Truman: (859)231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.

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