Feeds

Axl Rose may have undermined own case over Dr Pepper stunt

Website statement could imply acceptance

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Guns N' Roses and frontman Axl Rose has threatened legal proceedings against Dr Pepper over an unauthorised publicity stunt that offered a free bottle of the soft drink to every American in celebration of the band's first new album in 14 years.

Citing intellectual property abuse, Beverly Hills-based lawyer Alan S Gutman said Dr Pepper's promotion was "an unmitigated disaster which defrauded consumers and, in the eyes of vocal fans, 'ruined' the day of Chinese Democracy's release."

A trademark attorney said that Rose may have had a strong case – but his own behaviour eight months ago appears to have weakened it.

The high-profile album was the subject of numerous missed deadlines over several years. These repeated delays became the subject of a Dr Pepper press release in March.

"In an unprecedented show of solidarity with Axl, everyone in America, except estranged GNR guitarists Slash and Buckethead, will receive a free can of Dr Pepper if the album ships some time – anytime! – in 2008," it said.

The release made a joke of the album's high-profile delays, pointing out that the soft drink shared Rose's quest for perfection. "We know once it's released, people will refer to it as 'Dr Pepper for the ears' because it will be such a refreshing blend of rich, bold sounds – an instant classic," said the release.

When it became clear that Chinese Democracy would be released in 2008, Dr Pepper said it would honour its promise. However, in what Gutman called "a cynical attempt to mitigate its exposure," Dr Pepper restricted the offer to a 24-hour window. Americans had to visit drpepper.com on Sunday, the day of the album's release, to obtain a coupon that could be redeemed for a free drink.

The rush for coupons caused the website to crash. Dr Pepper extended the deadline for another day, but some fans then complained on other sites that they had been unable to obtain a coupon.

On Tuesday, the day after the offer expired, Rose's lawyer wrote to Larry Young, CEO of Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc.

"To begin with, our clients are outraged at your treatment of their fans and the American public in general," wrote Gutman. He described the company's failure to meet demand as "a complete fiasco".

He accused the drinks company of a "raw and damaging commercial exploitation of our clients' rights" and said that consumers had been misled into thinking that there was a "copromotional relationship" between the parties. "This association is even more damaging in light of your shoddy execution of your disingenuous giveaway offer," he wrote.

However, the letter from Gutman does not mention that his client appeared to respond to Dr Pepper's initial announcement. A statement appeared on the official Guns N' Roses website two days after the original Dr Pepper press release was issued.

Attributed to Axl Rose, it said: "We are surprised and very happy to have the support of Dr Pepper with our album Chinese Democracy as for us this came totally out of the blue. If there is any involvement with this promotion by our record company or others we are unaware of such at this time. And as some of Buckethead's performances are on our album I'll share my Dr Pepper with him."

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.