Everyone Being Dumb About IP: McDonald's No Longer Offering Dope Custom PS5 Controllers In Australia
from the all-about-control dept
If you search for stories about McDonald’s on Techdirt, you will come away with the impression that the company, like many large corporate entities, puts heavy emphasis on its intellectual property rights. Sony, the company responsible for the PlayStation consoles, exudes a similar reputation, despite some recent moves to loosen its IP grip as of late. So, just to be clear, everyone involved in this story tends to trend toward the more restrictive end of the IP spectrum.
Which makes it super-duper stupid that McDonald’s Australia had a plan to offer up customized PlayStation 5 controllers, but never bothered to formalize any part of this plan with Sony. And, if you’re like me, that’s a shame because the cosmetics on the controllers are pretty dang fun.
mcdonalds australia is giving these away but put 24 nuggs on them and i’ll just straight up buy it pic.twitter.com/7ftLWHlTEB
— Luke Plunkett (@LukePlunkett) July 30, 2021
Shortly after the announcement, McDonald’s Australia had to issue a follow up cancelling the whole thing. It turns out that nobody at the company bothered to get in touch with Sony before the announcement and, well, you know what happened next.
As of last week McDonalds Australia had been planning on giving away a bunch of custom PS5 controllers, each plastered with a burgers + fries motif in celebration of the company’s 50th birthday (in Australia). Weirdly, the international dining behemoth forgot to ask Sony about this first.
You’d think that would be the first thing a company with an actual legal team would have thought to do if you were going to be mentioning “PlayStation 5″ and using a controller image as part of your own marketing, but nope! McDonalds just got straight to it, announcing plans to give the controllers away as part of a competition, along with sending some out to local streamers as well.
So, Sony stepped in and put an end to the entire promotion. While that is absolutely Sony’s right, it’s also incredibly stupid. What, really, is the end result of this promotion? Sure, McDonald’s is attempting to sell more of its fast food. But it also would have served as essentially free advertising for Sony’s PS5, wouldn’t it? The giveaway was part of McDonald’s upcoming “Stream Week”, an event that also had to be canceled. And the communication to the public by McDonald’s puts the blame squarely on Sony for that.
Sony PlayStation has not authorised the use of its controller in promotional materials related to the proposed Stream Week event and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. McDonald’s stream week has been postponed and Sony PlayStation controllers will not be included in the giveaway.
Which is how Sony managed to turn an opportunity for the free promotion of its consoles in Australia into a PR negative, where the company is now blamed for the delay of McDonalds’ Stream Week. It didn’t have to be this way. Sony could have instead reached out to McDonald’s and quickly worked something out, given that both sides in all of this would have benefited.
But, no, instead the company is apparently reinvigorated with the IP maximalist attitude of control over everything. That this concerns the control over video game controllers is at least partial evidence that the universe is not without a sense of irony.