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