Nothing taps into the spirit of youth rebellion more than when a corporation uses its power (and army of lawyers) to sue a young person. Whether the company is technically right or wrong, the fact that they are suing "the little guy" inherently paints them in a negative light. I've blogged about this when Apple went after a teen blogger for divulging a leaked secret and related to the music industry.
Now there's a case where A&P (yes, the grocery chain) is going after two brothers from New Jersey, who used to work at the store. They called themselves "The Beet Patrol," and made a parody rap video (filmed at the store) all about...produce. Granted, it's not too flattering when it comes to A&P's produce selection to put it mildly. And they do something to the produce you never want to imagine anyone who works at a grocery store doing to your produce. It got an 18+ rating on YouTube (where it has been viewed over 50K times). You got to give them some props though for their lyrical creativity if not their cringe worthy rap skills.
According to this Associated Press article:
A&P claims the video by Mark and Matthew D'Avella motivated at least one "disgusted and distressed" customer to boycott the supermarket because of the video's "repulsive acts."
The Montvale-based chain seeks at least $1 million in compensation and demands that the D'Avellas remove "Produce Paradise" from the Internet. On Tuesday it remained on YouTube and the brothers' Web site.
The company asserts that the video "contains numerous false and defamatory statements that are injurious to the reputation and livelihood of A&P." It's also suing for trademark infringement, charging that an A&P logo can be seen on a ballcap shown in the video, though the D'Avellas contend the resolution is too fuzzy to make it out.
Of course there are already a stream of negative comments against A&P below the YouTube video rallying support for the brothers, encouraging them to sell hats and t-shirts to raise money for their legal defense.
Employers may think it's common sense that young employees would know not to film inside a store or company without permission...but obviously it's not. Any retailer or store with younger employees has to remember to clearly go over policies about what's appropriate and not appropriate to do at work, especially as it relates to technology, video cameras, camera phones, etc. The store fired the brothers, which they deserved, but suing them for $1 million dollars only brings on the wrath of the YouTube generation.
What do you think A&P should do about the video...Make their own parody? Ask the brothers to put a disclaimer on "Produce Paradise"? Do you think should A&P have fired the brothers? Should they have embraced the brothers and asked them to make less crude viral videos promoting A&P?