The gauntlet had been thrown down. Dr. Pepper let it be known in May that it would give every American a free soda if Guns n’ Roses released itsChinese Democracy album this year. Since the album had been in the works for 10 years, perhaps Dr. Pepper didn’t think they would ever have to pay up. Fast forward to November and Guns n’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy release, and soda company found themselves on the hook for quite a lot of soda pop. It was time to pay the piper. Fans of the Dr. Pepper, Guns n’ Roses and freebie seekers crashed the server while trying to access the site on November 23, the one day allotted to fans to sign up for the free coupon. The soda maker insists it held up its end of the bargain; however, Axl Rose of Guns n’ Roses begs to differ as fan backlash over the site’s failure has soured fan relations. Axel Rose asserts that fans are blaming the band, and not Dr. Pepper, for their angst over not getting a free soda as promoted. And now, according to a CNN report, Guns n’ Roses has lawyered up.
My own experience trying to access the Dr. Pepper site on November 23 and November 24 for the Chinese Democracy promotion
As a freebie seeker, Guns n’ Roses fan and Dr. Pepper drinker, I did try to access the site on November 23. I knew I had but 24 hours to access the site and sign up for the free coupon, and tried multiple times that Sunday to get through. I left the window open while doing other activities, going back countless times to refresh the page. A friend also emailed me to voice her frustration at being unable to get into the Dr. Pepper site. Countless blank pages, 404 errors or just plain “Site Unavailable” left me a bit irritated. Once I did get to the front page and logged in (perhaps?) only to get another blank page. No amount of refreshing brought a page up, so I gave up. On November 24, I heard that Dr. Pepper had extended the offer, but I was still unable to gain access to the site.
My thoughts on what went wrong with the Dr. Pepper/Guns n’ Roses Chinese Democracy promotion
I can see where Axl Rose is coming from when he points his finger of blame toward Dr. Pepper. In all honesty, a company that invites all of America to log onto their site in one 24 hour period of time has to expect problems. Perhaps Dr. Pepper didn’t have enough technology in place to handle such unprecedented hits on its site or have the framework in place to spread the traffic out across servers. America’s population is well over 306 Million people and inviting the masses to log into a site on just one designated day is a recipe for disaster. I don’t know how the company could have expected to get all ofAmerica signed up for a free soda on just one single day.
A better solution to reconcile Dr. Pepper, Axl Rose of Guns n’ Roses and those unable to access site
I do not feel that Dr. Pepper did enough to ensure that the 24 hour promotion ran smoothly. If the blogosphere is full of angry bloggers unable to get through to get their promised free coupon, one wonders how many people actually did get through the site to request a coupon. However, an easier solution to the Dr. Pepper/Axl Rose fracas would be that Dr. Pepper should issue every registered member of their site a free coupon and invite only those who were not members back to join and get their own coupon for a free Dr. Pepper. The Christmas season is upon us and a little goodwill would go a long way toward soothing the rift between the fans, Axl Rose and Dr. Pepper.