Axl Rose and the band are bubbling over with anger at Dr Pepper’s botched soda giveaway.
The Guns N’ Roses singer is accusing the beverage maker of profiting from the band’s name — and then bungling its promised giveaway of a free 20-ounce soda to every person in America.
The soft-drink maker said in March that it would give a free soda to everyone in the country if the band’s “Chinese Democracy” album were released this year. Notorious for being delayed since recording began in 1994, the album went on sale Sunday.
While the band finally made good with “Chinese Democracy,” Dr Pepper did not, lawyer Alan Gutman, who represents Rose and the band, said in a letter to Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. dated Tuesday.
The soda-maker’s Web site malfunctioned during the 24 hours it offered the free pop to consumers on Sunday, causing many fans to get upset, said the Beverly Hills-based attorney.
“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.”
The lawyer demanded a full-page apology in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal; an expanded time period to redeem the soda; and “an appropriate payment to our clients for the unauthorized use and abuse of their publicity and intellectual property rights.” He did not say how much was being sought.
“Had you wished to engage in a commercial tie-in with our clients, you should have negotiated a legitimate relationship,” he wrote.
A Dr Pepper spokesman did not address the demands, simply saying it was “a fun giveaway” that the company took great steps to fulfill.
The company extended the promotion by 18 hours through 6 p.m. EST Monday, and set up a toll-free line and an interactive voice recorder to accept coupon requests because of demand, he said.
“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,” he said.
The dispute comes after rapper 50 Cent sued Taco Bell Corp. this year, seeking $4 million in damages and claiming the fast-food restaurant chain used his name without permission in advertising asking him to change his name.
The rapper was upset by a print ad run by the Mexican-themed chain asking him to call himself 79 Cent, 89 Cent or 99 Cent to help publicize its value menu. His real name is Curtis Jackson.