Axl Rose accuses Dr. Pepper of malpractice

By | December 1, 2008 at 10:06 AM

All is fair in Chinese Democracy, except when the citizens are denied the opportunity to drink what the Dr. ordered.

Axl Rose, wholely mum when Dr. Pepper announced that it would bestow a free 20-ounce bottle to all Americans when Guns N’ Roses’ years-in-the-making album finally dropped, is taking the company to task via his attorney after learning that not all customers were served.

The soft-drink slinger had arranged to bestow online coupons to any thirsty freebie-seeker who visited its website on Nov. 23, but the site crashed due to…well, high traffic brought on by people’s insatiable desire for free stuff.

The promotion was extended for another day, but the site was unreachable for most of it, per Rose.

And despite what surely is Rose’s sympathy for those who have trouble meeting customer demand, his lawyer is calling the attention-getting ploy an “unmitigated disaster which defrauded customers.”

In a letter to Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., Beverly Hills-based Alan Gutman demanded that the company extend the promotion and place full-page apologies in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Calling the campaign an “exploitation of my clients’ legendary reputation and their eagerly awaited album,” Gutman wrote that “mocking undertones” in the Dr. Pepper promotion made for a “raw and damaging commercial exploitation of our clients’ rights,” which was then made even worse by the “shoddy execution of your disingenuous giveaway offer.”

Oh, and the band would like some money now, too.

Threatening further legal action if no reparations are made, Gutman requests “appropriate payment…for the unauthorized use and abuse of their publicity and intellectual property rights.”

UPDATE: In a statement to E! News, a Dr. Pepper rep says: “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.”

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