Axl Rose sues Dr Pepper over Guns N' Roses giveaway

Did he not get his free soda?

Axl's not a Pepper anymore

Who says Axl Rose has sold out to the man and gone all corporate rock? Not this badass dude.

In a remarkably street-cred move, Rose is suing the soft drinks manufacturer behind Dr Pepper for the misuse of the Guns N' Roses name in a marketing campaign.

The company offered a free can of soda to everyone in the US (with the exception of Slash) if Guns N' Roses released their long-awaited album Chinese Democracy before the end of 2008.

No one, certainly not the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, could have thought Chinese Democracy, an album 15 years in the making, would see the light of day in 2008. But when the record's drop date was imminent, the company announced people could get their free can by registering on its website for 24 hours after midnight on 23 November to get a coupon through the mail to redeem at any retailer selling Dr Pepper. Kind of a hassle, but hey, it's a freebie.

Initially, all seemed fizzy and frothy and hunky-dory, but now Rose has lashed out at the company, criticizing the way it conducted the giveaway as well as seeking payment for using the Guns N' Roses brand.

"Dr Pepper has now magnified the damage this campaign has caused through its appalling failure to make good on a promise it made to the American people" Gun N' Roses' attorney

Dueling statements

A letter to the Dr Pepper Snapple Group from Rose and Guns N' Roses lawyer Alan Gutman reads: "In and of itself this campaign brazenly violated our clients' rights in numerous respects. Unfortunately, Dr Pepper has now magnified the damage this campaign has caused through its appalling failure to make good on a promise it made to the American people."

Dr Pepper, as you would imagine, has a different view: "For us, this was a fun giveaway that has always been about the fans, and we've taken great steps to fulfil 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, and 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."

Crashing the server

It has been reported that many American consumers attempted to obtain vouchers from the Dr Pepper website but could not sign on as it became overloaded with visitors and the server crashed. Dr Pepper has suggested it may re-run the promotion to allow those who did not get their free soda to sign up again.

Hey, maybe this time even Axl can get though. What else does he have to do? Promote his album, maybe?


Joe Bosso is a musician and journalist from New Jersey, USA. He is ex-Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine and ex-Vice President of A&R at Island Records