Guns N’ Roses madman Axl Rose has issued a legal threat to Dr. Pepper over the company’s online promotion tied to his “Chinese Democracy” album.
Dr. Pepper had offered to give everyone in America a free bottle of soda if the long-awaited GNR project actually came out in 2008. So, when Rose and crew released “Chinese Democracy” this past Sunday, Dr. Pepper told everyone to come to its Web site and get a coupon.
The problem — the Dr. Pepper site wasn’t prepared for the traffic. Its servers buckled under the pressure, leaving many people unable to get through. Despite an extended deadline and the addition of a toll-free number to call for a coupon, Rose says the company “defrauded” customers, leaving scores empty-handed.
A letter sent by Rose’s attorney and obtained by E! Online demands a new extension of the promotion, along with full-page apology ads printed in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.
The letter goes on to say the campaign was an “exploitation” of Guns N’ Roses’ “legendary reputation and their eagerly awaited album,” claiming that “mocking undertones” in the effort combined with the “shoddy execution of [the] disingenuous giveaway offer” caused a “raw and damaging commercial exploitation of [Guns N’ Roses] rights.”
It then requests “appropriate payment … for the unauthorized use and abuse of [Guns N’ Roses’] publicity and intellectual property rights.”
Yikes. Get in the ring, indeed.
Dr. Pepper issued the following response in a statement to E! News:
“For us, this was a fun giveaway that has always been about the fans, and we’ve taken great steps to fulfill it, including:
• extending the window for the giveaway from 24 to 42 hours
• Adding a toll-free line to handle consumer requests for the coupons
• Setting up an interactive voice recorder to accept coupon requests.
This was one of the largest responses we have ever received for a giveaway, and we’re happy we were able to satisfy the thirst of so many Dr Pepper fans.”