legal schmeegle…

Are you kidding me? The brain trust at Red Bull have sic’d their legal beagles on a fan.

http://www.red-bullog.com/2009/03/28/the-end/

That’s right. Someone took the time to set up a blog a few months ago to celebrate, promote and support their favorite Formula 1 team and along with it the sponsor, and got rewarded with a cease and desist letter, on the eve of the first race of the 2009 season, thus sucking the joy of the sport right out of the lad, and his readership.

Their reasoning? “Potentially, this could confuse members of the public”
Yes, the quiet beige and blue wordpress blog titled: “the red bullog: An unofficial blog on Red Bull Racing” could easily be misconstrued as the official website of the multi-mega bazillion dollar company.

The only thing that truly confuses me is how cushy things must be at the office that THIS is what their legal team is getting paid to waste time on.

I have to wonder when the suits at these various companies, series, teams, etc… are going to remove their craniums from their rectums long enough to realize that ultimately it’s the FANS that are their bread and butter? Especially right now.

Alienate the fans, you lose. Period. You’ll have a bunch of shiny cars, covered in shiny sponsor stickers, driving around in front of lots of shiny aluminum.

This chap, in addition to falling silent now, will likely rethink his future purchases of A) Red Bull B) Red Bull team swag of any sort C) race tickets D) many other loosely related objects & events related to Red Bull or F1.

In addition to that, his friends, who he likely would have prodded and begged to get on board to support all of the above, will now most likely no longer do so, taking their support and their money elsewhere. Perhaps to another team, energy drink, hell maybe another sport all together.

On top of that the word of mouth, now negative instead of positive, will grow and travel like a virus. (it’s already happening) I didn’t know about this fella or his blog this morning. But I do now. For all the wrong reasons.
Do I see him as the bad guy? Nope.
He’s just another one of us here in the trenches supporting the sport he loves.
Do I feel a little differently about Red Bull than I did this morning? Hell ya.

In this economy, when everyone is tightening their belts, and cutting back on perceived “frivolous” purchases, isn’t it in a companies best interest to sit back and enjoy the free publicity and the grassroots ground swell of support from fans of their products or the programs their products support and thus reap the benefit of?

There are no ad banners on his site. No sales of swag with illegal usage of logos. No monitizing of any sort.

Just a fan, taking time out of his schedule to promote the series/team/drivers to other current and potential fans.

Perhaps they need to take a page out of the VERSUS playbook. Not only do they not mind if we mention or promote their station and it’s wares, but they are actually reaching out to the fans, in particular those of us with blogs and encouraging us to spread the word, providing us with banners to display and link to them, as well as swag to give away. They understand the value of not only the entire social media/word of mouth phenomenon, but also the value of a happy, supportive fan base. Hell, I can’t even GET VERSUS here in Canada, but I’m so thrilled that they are providing my fellow racing enthusiasts with a well thought out product offering, that I am gladly participating in spreading the word.

Dan, I don’t know you buddy, but I think it’s pretty sucky that you’ve been treated the way you have. If you ever want a place to scream and shout, contact me. I’ll give you a “guest spot” here in Shwitville! LOL

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15 responses to “legal schmeegle…

  1. “Alienate the fans, you lose. Period. Youโ€™ll have a bunch of shiny cars, covered in shiny sponsor stickers, driving around in front of lots of shiny aluminum.”

    This needs to be made into a T-shirt somehow. Lots of them. Spot on, Meesh!

  2. I should add the ‘unofficial’ notes were added to the header and sidebar this morning AFTER the letter was received. Yet it’s patently clear from the design and style of the thing that’s it isn’t connected to the team, it’s a fan site. That’s no slight on Dan, just that a Red Bull site would be in corporate colours and be plastered in videos and all the rest of it. There’s no doubt it is a fan blog. The stupidity of some people is mindblowing.

    Dan is a regular at Sidepodcast.com and I’ve been following his comments about this there this evening.

    • exactly. Even without the disclaimers, you’d have to be a bit of a “maroon” to confuse this with an official anything.

      On top of that, the guy’s posts appear for the majority to be ALL favourable! (unlike some more critical voices out there… *cough*) LOL!

      A fan who is 100% supportive and positive, and you shoot him in the back? For shame.

    • Perhaps this guy should just come up with a more creative name???

      BULL Horns?

      The Crimson Toro F1 Report??

      Driving my BULLS off in F1???

      No Crimson BULL$h*T: Unauthorized RedBull F1 News????

      Ways to use the Red Bull name without pi$$ing off the lawyers? Know what I mean?? Those odd names might help him build up more of a following… Who knows???

  3. I think this definitely deserves an “epic fail” tag. I’m guessing that they went to the Bernie school of marketing: it’s not enough to bow before us, you must do things unmentionable in a public forum for me or you’re nothing.

    • Lets remember Bernardo screwed with Force India & USF1… making them spend $$$ to redesign their logos & merchandise.

      USF1 might have got off easier as they have not launched yet. If they will weasel their own teams, do fans expect better?

      Good news is Bernie is old & Nazi-lovers can’t be popular when elections come, eh?

  4. I don’t think its PERSONAL it just the lawyers earning their $$$.

    RedBull can’t let a guy they like get away with things they would go after people they DID NOT like. Boot-leg RedBull merchandise, websites, etc are shutdown because of naming domain rights & likenesses are covered under a complex set of copyright laws, WORLD-WIDE.

    Lets be real folks… lotta dumb-ass people out there. Internet searches could bring the unsuspecting to the WRONG RedBull sites. Granted they are really fucking dumb if they confuse this dude’s blog with the slick RedBull F1 & Toro Rosso sites…

    I remember reading a story a few years back about a small day care center. The owner had a mural painted with EVERY Disney, Warner Bros, (…etc) cartoon character you could think of. Time passes & one day in walks lawyers from Disney there with a COURT ORDER to have the mural wall PAINTED OVER!!!

    The order also allowed them to conduct a general review of the property. Discovered that the adults showed a variety of cartoon & Disney DVD’s to the tikes during their stay.

    Bottom line? The layers beef was the daycare center was a FOR-PROFIT biz… the wall “entertained” the kids & was a copyright violation. Parents want to paint a cartoon mural? Fine, private property & artistic expression. The DVDs were also for private use. If they insisted on a group showing for the kids they wanted a fee. The Disney lawyers also CC’d Warner Bros (& any other media company used on the property)

    Sounds heartless & petty, I know… but copyright violations & knock off merchandise costs Disney & others a crap-load of $$$. I have friends who work for Pixar & Disney productions… they worked hard to create this stuff & boot-leg pirates take $$$ out of their pocket.

    Just another viewpoint

    I kn

  5. Oh & a follow up to my sad-ass Disney story???

    Disney caved & made an exception due to the public telling Disney they looked like corportate ass monkeys!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    An old instructor in college once told me… You don’t want BAD PRESS tied to (1) Kids or (2) Pets… Ask Alec Baldwin about the kids & Mike Vick about the pets!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. It must have been a solid broadcast on Versus. I’m basing this off Meesh’s review. . . and also the positive review just posted on Crapwagon. No word on if the poster has been banned yet. lol. I guess even the haters are getting excited for 2009.

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