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musings and oddities about PR at the college level by Charlsie Sturm

Very Clever Rips, Very Clever!

We all know it was April Fools Day last week and SOMEONE over at Rips Licorice thought it would be a brilliant idea to do a little tom foolery on the day designated for pranks and good fun.

So natually I visited the Facebook page and read the “release”. This is what it said:

PRESS RELEASE

HULL, IA–FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Foreign Candy Compan, Inc. has announced an intention to stop what it says is unauthorized commercial use of its trademarked term “RIPS”.  The company claims the use of the phrase “R.I.P.” implies an affiliation with their trademark “RIPS” and that the company’s image is tarnished by the association with death and dying. On this basis, the candy company asserts broad rights restricting use of the phrase RIP in written form including, but not limited to, electronic media.

A public relations director for the company explains, “We see #RIP as a top trending phrase on days when semi-famous rappers, actors, and other celebrities pass away and we don’t want Twitter followers to mistakenly associate our product name with the demise of another human being.”

Therefore, the company is now asking the United States Patent and Trademark office to enforce U.S. Registration #2848847 on the phrase “RIPS” by requiring any tweet containing #RIP be accompanied with the following phrase: “RIPS is a registered trademark of The Foreign Candy Company, Inc. and is not associated with death, dying, or the aforementioned dead person or animal.”

Initial reaction by twitter user @DeadCelebrities claims this clarification takes up too many characters in the allowable 140 limit, so the company suggests using the Latin phrase #RequiescatInPace instead, noting that tweets such as I wudda luv 2 c marvin gaye n michael jackson on stage live #RequiescatInPace :'(“ will still be understood by the majority of twitter users without infringing on the name of their licorice candy nor associating it with the sadness of the loss of legends of the music industry.

Company Spokesperson, April F. Oolsday comments, “It’s all fine and dandy for Snickers to allow the public to use their name in association with quiet laughing, but death is no laughing matter.”

RELEASE DATE: APRIL 1, 2011

So there you have it folks, good April Fools fun! However if they were trying to promote publicity I don’t think they did a very good job, they have a PR student covering it and I am loyal to Twizzler brand licorice!

In other news, who thinks that the Bronx Zoo Cobra escape was a big PR stunt? I do, especially since they are having a naming ceremony and all that jazz.

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