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Monday, December 28, 2009

Legal called—they have a problem with, well, the whole thing basically.

Saw this clip on Gizmodo (via Nerdcore), and the first thought besides all the views it got (257,000+ 379,700+ 419,000+ in five six seven days), is that again, no brand would touch something like this except for maybe a model airplane or video game. Even then, there’s too much from a legal point of view that would make them skittish. I can just see the email to the agency now:

“We have concerns over a few things in the aforementioned clip.

The first concerns the use of the AC/DC track throughout. While the editing in the clip does match the song nicely, we have concerns that the band’s management will not agree. Many artists lose significant income each year due to copyright infringement
and we need to be sensitive to this.

Suggest instead the use of royalty-free music, or perhaps the ambient sound of the plane’s motor and/or screams of the children below.

Speaking of, having minor children in such close proximity to fireworks presents not only a public relations issue for the company, but one of safety. Many children are seriously hurt each year due to improper handling of fireworks and we need to be sensitive to this.

Suggest instead perhaps a sparkler held by an adult in an adjoining field.

Then there is the issue of “buzzing” the children. As depicted in sections of the video (such as 1:24), said strafing runs of same imply a certain imminent physical danger and potentially future trauma, which in turn, could likely affect them well into adulthood. Many young adults struggle each year with issues stemming from traumatic childhood experiences such as these and we need to be sensitive to this.

Suggest instead that all persons view any and all aerial maneuvers from the safety of the home’s front porch or other suitable dwelling nearby. Additionally, it is recommended that any and all spectators also wear regulation fire-retardant suits in accordance with OSHA standards.

As for an attempt to shoot down our product by means of surface-to-air fireworks, we feel this may not quite be the best representation of the brand we would’ve hoped for. While many may find the sequence beginning at 2:38 to be “quite awesome,” we have concerns. Due to the ever-present threat from terrorists both domestically and abroad, we need to be sensitive to this.

Suggest instead performing a series of safe aerial maneuvers away from spectators and free of the threat of anti-aircraft fireworks from the ground. Perhaps a figure eight or loop, maybe even a barrel roll. (Two if conditions permit.)

Additionally, we feel the description of the video that states it was by someone “unemployed” is perhaps not setting the best example for any children watching, let alone those adults also out of work. (The latter who might possibly be encouraged to participate in any activities depicted here.) Many people are unemployed each year and we need to be sensitive to this.

Suggest instead showing a scene or two with the father engaged in meaningful pursuits, such as looking for employment on craigslist, or perhaps exploring a local estuary with his sons and a nice box lunch.

While there are a few other issues we have regarding the clip, we feel these minor changes will be a good first start at helping improve and ensure our customers’ safety, not to mention their continued goodwill towards our brand.

Furthermore, please know that we here in the legal department stand ready to offer additional creative options should you need.”

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