Do you remember how Dr. Pepper promised a free can of soda pop to everyone in America if Guns ’n’ Roses actually, finally released the 15-years-in-the-making Chinese Democracy album in 2008? And do you remember how everyone, including Weather Station 1, predicted the disc would never arrive and Dr. Pepper had made a pretty good marketing move that wouldn’t cost them anything?
Chinese Democracy has finally been released. I think it sounds like a roomful of cats with their balls caught in mousetraps, but that’s just me. A lot of people really like it. Many don’t. Here’s a cool podcast about it.
Anyway, Dr. Pepper was suddenly forced to live up to that promise. And they messed it up. The website they launched to process the giveaway went down, and now there are millions of Americans crying about not getting the free can of Dr. Pepper they really, really wanted.
So the company just received a letter from someone called Alan Gutman, lawyer for Guns ’n’ Roses. It went like this: “The redemption scheme your company clumsily implemented for this offer was an unmitigated disaster which defrauded consumers and, in the eyes of vocal fans, ‘ruined’ the day of Chinese Democracy‘s release,” Gutman wrote. “Now it is time to clean up the mess.”
Gutman then goes on to ask for full-page apology in The New York Times, L.A. Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, more time for sugar-rush cravers to get their free pop, and of course, cash: “An appropriate payment to our clients for the unauthorized use and abuse of their publicity and intellectual property rights.”
Ah … I knew there was going to be money mentioned in there somewhere. Gutman makes a valid point: “Had you wished to engage in a commercial tie-in with our clients, you should have negotiated a legitimate relationship,” he wrote. But really, it was all in fun, as Dr. Pepper keeps saying.
The offer was extended, by the way. People will get their free pop. But that was happening before Axl sent Gutman in as his soda-pop pit bull. As for the rest of the band’s demands? Who can say. All I know is the marketing people at Dr. Pepper couldn’t have asked for better ink.