When opportunity jumps up and bites you in the ass...
... I have no idea how to finish that sentence, but no matter.
I know I've veered slightly off the topic of advertising to public relations and marketing over the past little while, but, to be fair, it's what I do for the better part of my waking hours, so it's to be expected, really. While this entry is about PR specifically, it's about missing the point even more.
Long story short, guy is locked into two rents, is having trouble getting by, much less buying furniture for his new place. Instead of sleeping on the floor, he uses a bunch of FedEx boxes to build furniture. It's not just your typical milk-crate and stolen plank type of furniture, either... this is good stuff.
So, he posts them online at www.fedexfurniture.com.
What results is a cease and desist order from FedEx and the threat of legal action under the... wait for it... Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Yes. Copyright. The lawyers for FedEx, who I'm guessing are a lot of fun at parties, maintain that this fellow was clearly doing this for profit, because he registered a dot-com as opposed to a dot-net.
Mind boggling. But what is even more confusing to me is why FedEx chose to go this route. When was the last time a major corporation made themselves look like heroes by suing a guy who couldn't afford to shop at Ikea? They had a loyal customer (according to him) who was promoting them for free. It even backed up their message that if you ship with FedEx, your package would arrive in tact because "look how strong the boxes are!"
Even if they didn't want this to be seen by many, suing the guy gave him international exposure. This has been posted on some of the biggest online communities around, including a story in Wired Magazine. Now millions of people know the story and FedEx comes off looking like a bunch of douchebags who sue poor people for liking their products instead of a company that makes their boxes really, really tough.
Great issue management, guys.