Supermarket A&P Makes Sure That People Associate Mock Gangsta Rap Video With A&P

from the nice-work,-Streisand dept

Well, here's an interesting variation on the Streisand Effect. Apparently, the well known supermarket in the northeastern US, A&P, recently fired two young brothers who worked at the grocery store for making a satirical gangsta rap video about the produce section of a supermarket. The brothers never actually mention A&P in the video, which is clearly just parodying typical gangsta rap videos, but the company now says that it's going to sue the brothers for a million dollars for defamation. Of course, in doing so, they've now made it so that a lot more people will both see the video and associate it with A&P. Before this, it's unlikely most people would have known that it was filmed in an A&P. But, now that they're suing... everyone will know and a lot more people will see it. It's hard to see how that's beneficial to anyone. In the meantime, the video remains up on YouTube:


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Lance Fisher, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 10:24am

    These guys are in the wrong business

    They mentioned this on the news the other day. One newscaster said the store was trying to take down the video, and the other newscaster said, "Good luck with that." Being a long-time reader, I immediately thought of the Streisand effect.

    This video is really funny though. These kids, with their creativity and motivation, should have much better opportunities than working in the produce section anyway. A&P should have just let it go. I had never even heard of them before.

     

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  2.  
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    matt (profile), Aug 30th, 2007 @ 10:33am

    here is the response I got back from their corporate when I inquired about why they did it and that it's a bad idea.

    Verbatim: "“A&P management’s position on this matter should be self explanatory. Producing a video that intentionally and unjustly depicts our company in a negative light, and utilizing company facilities without management knowledge of the specific content involved, is obviously a blatant violation of our policy.

    Accordingly, the company has dismissed both employees, and is exploring legal avenues for the recovery of damages, and the removal of any and all videos about the Company from the website where it has been posted by the individuals.

    We will continue to work through our store management, labor union and legal process to bring this unfortunate series of events to an appropriate conclusion, and will have no further public comment while that process continues.


    (name protected for the company's own protection),
    Senior Director, Corporate Affairs"

     

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  3.  
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    Kyle, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 10:33am

    Stupid!

    Wow A&P is fucking retarded. They brought the defamation on themselves. For one, I had no idea what the grocery store they were in. Second, I didn't know there was a grocery chain called A&P. And third, they didn't even mention A&P. This is a stupid lawsuit. And a million dollars?!?! There two kids. Hell, now I'm gonna go out and find an A&P, and put up a Youtube video of me egging the sign outside. Stupid ass corparations.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 10:40am

    I could have sworn A&P went out of business years ago. Oh well, I guess it's not all bad publicity.

     

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  5.  
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    Spuds, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 10:47am

    Laughed out of court...

    This will likely be LITERALLY laughed out of court.

    Remember when Al Franken wrote the book "Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right" With "Fair and Balanced" being a DIRECT--- DI-RECT 'ripoff' of Fox News' tagline "Fair and Balanced"... The court was in session all of about 5 minutes when the judge LITERALLY laughed the case out of court.

    Parody and Satire are protected speech in this country as of the moment. If I were those kids, I'd countersue A&P for defamation and the firing and lost wages associated, legal fees, and tax, title and registration just to make sure.

    And the only reason to REALLY countersue... is for the parody and satire effect. ;)

    Stick to your guns, guys!

     

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  6.  
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    Matt (profile), Aug 30th, 2007 @ 10:49am

    oh yeh

    oh and mike if you wish the see the original that I was quoting that email from just give me a buzz at my email.

    As you can see from their response, they're pretty ignorant.

     

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  7.  
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    Aaron, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 11:02am

    Good "bad" publicity

    By making a big deal about this they are going to get a lot of free publicity, and although some of it is negative, it isn't so negative that it is bad for the company.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 11:27am

    Re:

    I, for one, will never set foot in an A&P EVER again. The free market must punish corporations who choose these foolish legal paths. I can't imagine how "educated" executives could possibly believe this was the best option.

    If I owned the company, I'd promote them. I'd give them better equipment and their own team in the marketing department. I'd give them a couple months to see if they could come up with anything useful.

     

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  9.  
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    scate, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 11:30am

    I dunno, I found the video kind of lame. I also wonder if they even had permission to shoot it in the store they were at?

     

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  10.  
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    Sean, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re:

    "I can't imagine how "educated" executives could possibly believe this was the best option."

    At times like this, I tend to believe it has nothing to do with executives, and everything to do with a legal department that's given free rein to "do it's job".

    The executives might even be completely clueless, and the marketing department is probably going ape-shit right now.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 11:53am

    Re:

    [i]I dunno, I found the video kind of lame. I also wonder if they even had permission to shoot it in the store they were at?[/i] Yes they had permission from the store manager, and they had bought all the stuff they messed with in the video (says so on their site). They really need to counter sue for unfair dismissal and lost earnings etc etc.

     

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  12.  
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    Out of Business, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    I too thought they went under in the 70's, at least in St Louis they did, these kids just revived them, they should be rewarded. All they will get is a judgment, nobody has to pay those anyway, unless they are rich enough or a business with enough assets, looking at these two you might get a laugh and a broken ipod.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 12:03pm

    I also thought A&P was out of business -- so not all bad publicity.

    I also found the video lame - I couldn't watch it in it's entirety.

    I concur, these kids will be cleared - and they do show potential, just not my cup of tea.

    The important thing here is to make sure that any money A&P spends on this lawsuit comes from the marketing dept.

     

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  14.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 12:16pm

    I can kinda understand...

    the viewpoint of the grocery store. But only in the fact that they did not give permission for the kids to use their store and that is the only leg they have to stand on I think. (Goes to watch the viedo)

    I don't recall seeing or hearing any mention of the store's name so I don't think they can claim defamation or anything else except for the fact of using the store without permission (I suppose trespassing maybe...). In fact I would go so far as to say that defamation only occured after the store made a big deal over it. While doing nothing may not be the solution for every situation like this I do believe that if they store had not acted on this the video would have been forgotten in a week.

    Face it Mike. Businesses are using the Streisand Effect to their advantage now. You better go patent this and then sue everyone that's doing it.

    How is that for a business model. If someone creates any material that uses your location you create buzz by suing. Mind you the buzz you are suing over was non-existent until you decided to sue.

     

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  15.  
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    Michael Vilain, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 1:05pm

    It could have been any commercial grocery store

    There's a large chain here in the SF Bay area where I know if I buy milk there it will go bad by the next day. So, I stay away whenever I can. The video could have been filmed in this firm's stores just as much as A&P's.

    I think these boys have a great case for a countersuit. Whomever that senior director is of A&P needs to find another job. Hopefully, when and if these boys sue, they will.

     

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  16.  
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    ehrichweiss, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re:

    I think the dismissal will probably stick if it's written in the store policy and that's legal, not nice but legal. Hell, the retards have a "media policy" that suggests that you might have to PAY them to use their store for any form of filming. You'd figure they'd want people showing up at their stores with cameras as much as possible.

    However, the lawsuit will sink like the Titanic.

     

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  17.  
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    John Updike, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 1:57pm

    I can't believe I wrote that sotry

    Well clearly there is a reason that A&P went from having thousnds of stores to having arund 300 on the eastern seaboard now. Didn't John Updike write a story about the A&P?

     

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  18.  
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    Joe, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 2:27pm

    Yup, it's obvious it's about A&P

    Although I can't watch the rest of this video, the kids go almost out of their way to say it's A&P without saying it's A&P. To anyone who lives in the northeast, it's obvious at least. The "America's Choice" labels on some of the merchandise is a dead give... that's A&P's private label. Also, the circular's a dead give... that's A&P's style of circular. They're big here in the northeast. They're on the NYSE under GAP and just made a bid about 1/2 year ago to buy out Pathmark stores. So yea... I can understand why A&P would say something. Besides, IMHO, it's pretty defaming.

     

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  19.  
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    D, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 2:50pm

    Doesn't matter

    More like an A&P lawyer needed to bill more hours. This case is frivolous, they cannot get $1million from minors, and they look stupid for doing it. But to a lawyer at A&P, it's an easy sell to an executive that the company is being defamed and if they don't pursue the suit they aren't really being responsible to the company are they? Given a choice between the right thing and covering one's ass, covering one's ass always wins in the corporate world.

    Until judges start assessing damages to LAWYERS for bringing the cases, there is no disincentive for them to stop using any excuse to litagate nothing and bill for it.

     

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  20.  
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    GLW, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 3:19pm

    The video looks just like every grocery store in the midwest. I wouldn't even think of suing them. If i was the CEO of A&P I might be pressing charges for theft of produce(unless of course they purchased their video props. I think that is acceptable.... but suing?? come on... I know it's been said already but look at how many more people know about A&P because of this. If i ever DO see one I'm not shopping there because the company is obviously a bunch of morons.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 6:04pm

    Re: I can kinda understand...

    The kids, on their web site, claim that they had the store manager's OK to shoot the video, that they did it off-the-clock, and, just to be sure there weren't concerns about them not buying produce they touched for the video, carried in produce that they bought elsewhere.

     

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  22.  
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    Dosquatch, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 7:19pm

    Re: lame?

    Lame? Really? It's goofy, but my guess is it's meant to be. I"m looking at this and thinking, WOW! The production quality and editing of this (as compared to your "typical" gootoob vid) is ASTOUNDING. These kids have talent.

     

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  23.  
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    Lewis Salem, Aug 31st, 2007 @ 7:26am

    Wait...

    "Wait a sec... cant take down the video? What do you mean the internet? ...oh shhhi"

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2007 @ 5:16pm

    A&P Response

    I sent A&P a "boy are you guys being stupid" email. Here's what I got back:

    "A&P management's position on this matter should be self explanatory. Producing a video that intentionally and unjustly depicts our company in a negative light, and utilizing company facilities without management knowledge of the specific content involved, is obviously a blatant violation of our policy.

    Accordingly, the company has dismissed both employees, and is exploring legal avenues for the recovery of damages, and the removal of any and all videos about the Company from the website where it has been posted by the individuals.

    We will continue to work through our store management, labor union and legal process to bring this unfortunate series of events to an appropriate conclusion, and will have no further public comment while that process continues.

    Richard De Santa,
    Senior Director, Corporate Affairs

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    TM, Aug 31st, 2007 @ 8:38pm

    Only reason I knew this was an A&P was because I worked there. And I was not surprised at all that the A&P is suing the two guys, who I know the older one personally, just for the fact that after a year of working at that store I left because they were managed so horribly. The two guys did in fact have the manager's permission to film the video, so there is no violation of company policy, which leaves the A&P with a frivolous lawsuit, and I think as a Marketing Major that this will pretty much leave them in the position they were before, with getting their name out there that is. The positive publicity and negative publicity will pretty much balance out and leave them with nothing gained and money wasted on a lawsuit, which is a perfect spot to be in since they are a horrible store anyway.

     

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  26.  
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    RKK, Sep 1st, 2007 @ 5:44pm

    Some BS

    Well if it is true that the manager gave them permission, I can pretty much guarantee he will be fired next. Big corporations are so lame in how they handle employees. Just my two A&P cents.

     

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