Chinese democracy stunt backfires. Rose vs. Pepper headed to court? ~ Brand Mix

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Chinese democracy stunt backfires. Rose vs. Pepper headed to court?

This is not what the doctor ordered. What started out as a bit of a joke has become a PR and now, potentially, a legal nightmare.

Axl Rose's new album Chinese Democracy had been so long in the making (15 years) that people thought it might never be released. As I posted earlier, sometime earlier this year Dr. Pepper in an "if that happens, I'll eat my hat" moment promised to give away free soda to everyone if the album was released this year.

Well, in this year of unexpected events, it has been released and Dr. Pepper then faced the challenge of honoring their promise. Which turns out to have been a logistical challenge that it botched. The idea was to let people sign up online in a 24-hour period for a free coupon but, as I can personally verify, the site was not able to handle the traffic and was out of action for most of the day. The offer period was extended but, apparently, many free-coupon seekers still couldn't get through.

So now Axl Rose himself has got involved. According to this story from E! Online, his lawyer Alan Gutman has called the Pepper stunt an: "unmitigated disaster which defrauded customers." Wait there's more. He goes on to say that the "mocking undertones" in the Dr Pepper promotion made for a "raw and damaging commercial exploitation of our clients' rights," which was then made even worse by the "shoddy execution of your disingenuous giveaway offer." He wants full page apologies in major newspapers, an extension of the offer and payment for the unauthorized use and abuse of their publicity and intellectual property rights.

Ugh. Sometimes these bright ideas can go horribly wrong. Very similar to Taco Bell's idea about trying to get 50 Cent to change his name for a day to a Taco price point of his choice (see here) which has already headed down the legal road.

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