Did you hear about the recent case bought against Red Bull as it failed to “Give You Wings”?. It centres on a claim – or ‘suit’ as our US attorney cousins would have it – bought by regular Red Bull drinker Benjamin Careathers after he concluded that the drink’s regular imbibing failed to improve his athletic or intellectual performance – and hence failed to give him wings.
Now I accept this is the US – where you’re likely to get sued for serving hot coffee without warning customers that the contents of the cup may be hot – and on reading of this ‘suit’ worth some $13 million – was prepared to dismiss it as another nutty decision from over the pond. But the amount of case law – particularly in contract – surrounding advertising is huge – after all it is possible to contract with the world at large through an advert – (see the case of Carbolic Smoke Ball Company  EWCA Civ 1 )
But then I wondered how much credit should really be given to what firms say about themselves and their products and what they can do for you – or more specifically to what extent legally firms should be held to their straplines and advertising.
Look at us for a second – I appreciate it is bad advertising form to talk about yourselves as opposed to the benefits you can bring to potential clients etc, but bear with me. After all we are ‘Seatons – The Friendly Professionals’ – but I can think of a fair few lawyers who have represented our clients’ opponents who would consider us anything but friendly – and I’m sure if we were in the US opponent lawyers may even have sued us for taking a hard line on a case or being less then ‘friendly’ in the course of litigation. But of course the strapline is not meant for them – it is meant for potential clients.
Even on any objective level I would conclude that we are a friendly bunch – and if pushed for evidence on the point I would draw attention to the fact that the majority of my clients and I call each other by our Christian names; the fact that fact that many of our clients have their lawyer’s personal mobile number in case they have any out of hours queries. We really are a friendly fairly normal firm to deal with – and we speak English not legal jargon. Let’s face it – we wouldn’t be going strong after 30 years if our clients found us unapproachable, pompous and unfriendly.
So I am not too worried by the Red Bull ruling in the US. Indeed I doubt Red Bull is overly bothered about a huge payout given that the case has everyone (self included) talking about Red Bull. But in any event just in case the fad for holding firms strictly to their straplines takes off over here I suppose we had better rethink and qualify our boast – possibly:
The Friendly Professionals who are friendly as long as you’re not a lawyer on the other side of litigation in which case we reserve the right to be hard nosed, aggressive and as difficult as we feel the need to be to ensure our clients get what they want.
Possibly a good idea just to avoid any US Red Bull style ‘lawsuits’.
Right – I am off to issue claims against Orange – for the future not being bright; McDonalds because personally I’m not lovin’ it and possibly Audi after I have put ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik” through Google translate and find out what it means (and possibly Google – given that their “Don’t be Evil” strapline is somewhat at odds with their entirely respectable and legal tax arrangements)
So if you have a legal problem give us a call and test our strapline – and let us know what you think.
The Friendly Professionals (We really are)
01536 276 300