Posts Tagged ‘Litigation Public Relations’

Stay for the Credits – They’re Better than the Feature!

December 20th, 2010

Since the dawn of the first (and now annoying) chime of “you’ve got mail,” content copyright battles between mom-and-pops and mega-behemoth titans rage on predictably.  More often than not, the default outcome is the titan unleashing litigation, at considerable cost and embarrassment.

That’s why it’s refreshing to see Warner Brothers apply a dose of PR common sense in a recent skirmish over its newest film release “Yogi Bear” (now the negative film reviews, that’s another issue entirely).  Edmund Earle, a young animator and apparent fan of the decades old characters, made his own digital parody with Yogi and Boo Boo based on another film, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.”

Say what you want about Earle’s unusual taste in story telling, but give your real kudos to Warner Brother’s PR team.  No doubt the studio was set to, err, pull the trigger and litigate the video into non-existence.  Instead, somewhere along the way the PR and legal minds met at the table and everyone took a deep breath.  Knowing how costly it would have been to fight this battle, and appreciating the reality that once a video goes online it never truly disappears, the Warner Brothers team did the sensible thing.  They contacted Earle, requested that he add a disclaimer in his clip’s credits, and poof… the story got little to no traction.

Now imagine if this play-by-play were replaced with scorched-earth litigation.  Not only would the video have bounced around Facebook status updates and Twitter, but other animators would have rushed to Earle’s defense and probably have produced other parodies that skewered the studio.

As much as litigation PR is about telling your client’s side of the story, it’s also about appreciating the likely outcomes of a lawsuit and knowing that a small lump here and there beats a costly legal battle any day of the week.

Litigation PR: Lindsay Lawsuit Is the Best Press Possible for E*TRADE

March 9th, 2010

“Never interrupt your enemy when [she] is making a mistake.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“Bizarre Media Aesthetic” seems a more appropriate category than “Litigation Public Relations” for this blog article: today delusional personality celebrity Lindsay Lohan sued E*TRADE, the online financial transaction powerhouse, for $100 million in damages.  Here’s the miserable play-by-play:

E*TRADE’s current ad campaign showcases its mascot, a wise-cracking baby who brags about the company in simulated video chats.  In the most recent ad the E*TRADE baby chats with a girl his age, who accuses him of flirting with another baby girl named “Lindsay” who has a compulsive milk-drinking habit.  As the E*TRADE baby attempts to deny this, baby Lindsay’s face appears and interrupts the chat.  Hilarity ensues.

Lohan’s lawsuit claims that E*TRADE purposely included her “name, characterization and personality” in the ad, that she has not “given her consent” for such usage, thus violating her “right of privacy … causing injury” and entitling her to $100 million.  Hilarity ensues.

• Um, wow…

Normally when a company is involved in a high-stakes lawsuit, they seek litigation public relations support.  A common step such companies often forget (or ignore) is placing a prominent statement on their website to stop the press and others from drawing any conclusions.  As of today, E*TRADE hasn’t taken that step.  But, maybe this is the best move by E*TRADE.

First, we don’t even need to get into the merits of the lawsuit.  The Blog Aesthetic will go out on a limb and predict outright dismissal, not to mention the possibility of ethics sanctions against Lohan’s lawyers for filing frivolous litigation.  The more important thing is that celebrity media is probably the loudest, highest-profile, social-media saturated platform that exists.  As Lohan’s antics frequently vault her to the bottom top of this heap, the lawsuit will shove E*TRADE into glaring headlines for at least the next few days.

However, given the absurdity of the lawsuit, E*TRADE should simply heed Napoleon’s advice as Lohan’s own statements will likely destroy any shred of credibility behind her allegations.  This will direct any and all sympathy toward E*TRADE as the sensible party, and the company then can relax and bask in the glow of millions of dollars of free publicity, courtesy of an errant actress and ethically-compromised attorneys.