Hmm, that’s very strange. For the LCD to display that message, it really just requires a running MCU and connections from the MCU to LCD. Some questions/suggestions:
– I assume you have hardware v1.4u, right?
– could you post the number of bytes written as reported by avrdude?
– check the connections from MCU pins to LCD, specifically the following (note the MCU pins are referring to the pin numbers on the body of the MCU, not the Arduino logic pin numbers):
(mcu pin to LCD pin):
2 -> E
3 -> RS
6 -> DB4
11 -> DB5
12 -> DB6
15 -> DB7