welcome to the jungle

It’s bad enough when you mess up your own publicity stunt and damage your own brand. It’s worse when you drag someone else into it.

While last week’s Dr Pepper fiasco hurt the beverage maker, Axl Rose is saying it also hurt Gn’R and is pursuing legal action.

A celebrity is a brand. Some of them have better brand management than many companies. (and some much worse) Yet, it seems to be the marketing idea du jour for companies to randomly pick a celebrity brand out of the phonebook and use it in their own marketing campaign without consultation or approval from the celeb. (See also – Taco Bell vs. rapper 50 Cent.) What it is — is lazy marketing. Instead of building traction with your own attributes, it’s easier to leech onto something else to create an artificial buzz.

Leaders of both Dr Pepper and Taco Bell (who is countersuing) have said in official statements in response to lawsuits from the celebs that they can’t understand why Axl and 50 can’t just take the events in the “fun” they were intended.

What if I started using Dr Pepper’s and Taco Bell’s brand assets to market my business? A chihuahua that appeared on stage with me at speaking engagements. A book entitled the “23 Flavors of Marketing”. I wonder if they think that would be “fun” or would their lawyers attack me with a cease and desist?

doesnt work at 10 2 or 4

So on the surface, it looks like a publicity win-win-win-etc when the Dr. Pepper folks good naturedly agree to pay up on an outrageous bet that they made with the public. That is until the public tries to collect and their website is inaccessible because of the slam in traffic (which they should have anticipated).

CONSPIRACY THEORY ALERT: Or maybe they purposely held back on shoring up the website so they wouldn’t have to payout all of their “23 flavas”

In either case, it turns a great publicity opportunity and chance to build the brand into an example of an online branding disaster. Forget the MotrinMoms. It”s time for the Dr. Pepper Pain.

UPDATE: (thanks to Doug – see comments) They’re trying to limit brand damage. Dr. Pepper has extended the offer until 6pm Monday

Suicide Attempts at 10 2 and 4

You can pay a lot of money to have your logo placed everywhere.

Even in places where you have no control over how your brand is presented.

Sometimes you can stay top of mind with a strategy like that.

And sometimes you’re associated with suicide denials.

Who says there’s no such thing as bad press?

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