|Doin' The Dew Could Make You Spew
By: Shawn Paul Wood
Imagine with me: It's a scorching hot day. You are parched. Your throat is dry and you can't get a drink of anything until you get home. Finally, you pull up in the driveway and you're so tired to boot. You reach in the fridge for an ice-cold Mountain Dew. Crack that thing open and commence to guzzling.
Suddenly, the Dew tastes like...well, doo. It's rancid and sour. You spit out all the drink...and a DEAD MOUSE for grins.
I know, right?! I would rather sit through a marathon of 'Jersey Shore' than experience that, but such was the case for Ronald Bell of Madison, Wisc.
How many times has a potential PR crisis been averted by the quick minds of some aptly skilled PR practitioners? Several. Conversely, how many times has a crisis exploded because of the legal speak of a few dunderhead lawyers? Many. And so, here's the rub of a capital offense:
Plaintiff Ronald Ball claims that after opening and beginning to drink soda he purchased from a vending machine at work, he tasted something foul. He claims he spat out the soda to reveal a dead mouse. The case was filed in 2009...Ball is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 and other relief.
Thank you, anonymous expert, for that awesome testimony. Really?! "Oh no, Mr. Ball. You're a grade-A twit. We know you're lying because if that really happened, the Mountain Dew would have made toxic waste out of Jerry the mouse." Really? Really?!
Ball claims he sent the mouse to Pepsi, which destroyed the mouse body. Pepsi denies Ball's claims, and has moved to dismiss the case. In support of that move, Pepsi cited expert testimony that the mouse would have dissolved in the soda had it been in the can from the time of its bottling until the day the plaintiff drank it.
Sure, the Pepsi lawyers are slapping high-fives across their mahogany desks because there's no way a mouse could do the dew that long without becoming a glowing sludge. But yeah, it would have become a glowing sludge. And this dolt just admitted that under oath. Good on ya', legal dude.
Personally, I think I will find this story on Snopes.com next week because this is too rich. Not to mention, it's fresh from the annals of "Coke will eat up the battery acid from your car's battery." Sure, a mouse would vaporize in a bottle of orange, apple, or grape juice, but that's not the point. If it were, I wouldn't have any fodder for a utter PR nightmare created because of a hapless case of legalese.
The real question is "Will this poor, innocent mouse stop people from buying PepsiCo products?" I doubt it considering I just saw someone I know with PETA drinking an AMP Energy Sugar Free.
Shawn Paul Wood
is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is G.M. and PR Director at Bolt PR
in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here
or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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