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Hupfeld campaign mail fail
A mailer for OKCPS board chairperson candidate Stanley Hupfeld displays an amusing error. (NonDoc)

With only a few days remaining until Tuesday’s runoff election for Oklahoma City Public Schools board chairperson, candidate Stanley Hupfeld’s campaign has unleashed an epic mail fail to district residents.

On a mailer sent to a number of households, former chairperson candidate Bianca Rose is seen endorsing Hupfeld … at least in theory.

In reality, the quote next to her name does not mention Hupfeld at all. Instead, it underscores an old adage known in newsrooms far and wide: If you fart around with placeholder text, you run a great risk of making yourself look stupid.

From the mailer:

“Some people have an ability to write placeholder text… It’s an art you’re basically born with. You either have it or you don’t. It’s about making placeholder text great again. That’s what people want, they want placeholder text to be great again. This placeholder text is gonna be HUGE.”

— Bianca Rose
former candidate for School Board Chair

Indeed, the placeholder text sent is “huge,” as in it’s hugely amusing and a potentially huge distraction for a campaign that appears to be in a tight race with opposing candidate Paula Lewis.

Trebor Worthen with Advocacy Insight is helping to run Hupfeld’s campaign, he confirmed Friday afternoon. Worthen connected NonDoc with Michael Morrison, founder and CEO of a separate company called Comtech that produced the mailer.

“Well, it’s very brief and simple,” Morrison said. “I won’t list any names. We are owning up to our mistake.”

Morrison said Hupfeld had personally approved the correct version of the mailer, but a production person had to make a small change to guarantee a mailing discount.

“Unfortunately, when he did that, he pulled a prior file before the proof that Stan had approved,” Morrison said. “Stan Hupfeld approved the right version, and our pre-pressman did not realize the file he was pulling was not the one Stan had approved.”

Morrison confirmed that “standard” placeholder text is usually either Latin or some sort of “xxxxx” blocks intended to stick out as incorrect.

“Designers are creative,” he said of the text used. “Honestly, it’s just placeholder text. I don’t know where it was pulled from.”

For her part, Rose took the situation in stride in a comment sent by Worthen.

“I am happy to be supporting Stan, but I’m a little jealous that some placeholder text is getting more attention than my actual quote!” Rose said. “In all seriousness, Stan Hupfeld is the best choice to lead our schools. You can quote me on that!”

Hupfeld also reacted with humor.

“I wish I could say this was all a PR stunt to get people talking about how Bianca is endorsing me, but the truth is, mistakes happen,” Hupfeld said in a quote shared by Worthen. “I’m thankful to have Bianca’s support, and I look forward to talking about how best to improve our schools over the last few days of the campaign.”

Hupfeld mail fail
(NonDoc)

Put a great subhead here

In the end, placeholder text fails are not new, and they are common enough for a blog called Elezea to have chronicled a handful in 2014.

If anything, such mistakes highlight the importance of a strict editorial process for anyone working with text, be it political campaigns or journalism entities.

Then again, if people did not make the occasional mail fail in politics, voters would not have nearly as much to laugh about in an otherwise depressing political environment.

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(Correction: This story was updated five minutes after publication to list Trebor Worthen’s company correctly. NonDoc regrets the error.)

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William W. Savage III (Tres) holds a journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma. He covered two sessions of the Oklahoma Legislature for eCapitol.net before working in health care for six years. He is a nationally certified Mental Health First Aid instructor.