TASER’s PR makes statement to PRNewser about the “Taser Bro”
September 20, 2007
“Don’t Tase me bro” is another great example of a newscycle that’s so fast that very little can be done by a PR pro to soften it except wait until the blaze goes out. Unlike the problem with Crocs, it’s an expected problem for TASER Inc. The product is supposed to be dangerous. Social media blogger Angelo Fernando notes TASER’s change of positioning from protection to saving lives.
Saving lives is the stuff of half of their press releases, based on newspaper stories of thwarted suicide and robbery attempts. Aren’t you supposed to write the release first, then get it in the paper?
Without further adieu, here is the statement from TASER’s VP of Communications.
We don’t we agree with him about the trademark complaint. Having your product become a verb is usually a good thing:
We did receive several inquiries but the questions weren’t issues we can answer since this is an ongoing investigation and this is not our expertise. Our expertise is in manufacturing TASER technology and in teaching certified instructors the safe operation of the system. When reporters contact us on this type of event, it’s akin to contacting an automobile manufacturer when an officer is involved in a car accident on the proper use of driving a car as opposed to contacting the law enforcement agency involved in the actual incident.”
That being said, it is properly the responsibility of each agency to set their own policy based upon their community standards and the totality of the circumstances for any use-of-force, including the deployment of TASER® devices. Law enforcement officers on scene are best able, highly trained and equipped to determine the proper use of force required based on the totality of circumstances in response to any given situation.
When used properly, medical and law enforcement experts have concluded that TASER technology is among the most effective use-of-force interventions available to law enforcement officers to halt violent situations that pose a safety risk to an officer, suspect or innocent citizens. There have been thousands of documented cases in which multiple applications from the TASER system were not only appropriate but were absolutely critical to a safe outcome of the situation. TASER technology continues to prevent numerous injuries and protect lives every day at over 11,500 law enforcement agencies worldwide in over 44 countries.
I do see issues with this incident in terms of trademark violations as well as numerous reporters jumping to conclusions without knowing all of the facts.
In the case of the trademark issues we see the improper use of the word, ‘tase,’ ‘tased,’ ‘tasered,’ ‘TASERing,’ etc. now all over the world in print reported as a verb which violates trademark protection by turning the word TASER into a verb.
I also see the stories that incorrectly state that the TASER system was “fired.” It was not in this case. The application used was called a “drive-stun” in which the probes are not deployed. The “drive-stun” is a lower use of force and in a few reports, this term is noted incorrectly as ‘dry-stunned and an internet search of this incorrect term is found on hundreds of sites.
Is this “damage control?” No. Is there ignorance? Yes.
Is this problematic? Perhaps… but this is nothing new during any controversy while speculation is conducted before an investigation is completed. It does prove that we must continue our on-going education of the TASER technology. TASER technology is here to stay and has forever revolutionized law enforcement. Americans understand that with truly revolutionary ideas and products, there will be controversy, ignorance, misunderstanding, steep leaning curves. Yet, given the traditional habit of American scrutiny and vetting especially during controversy, we have more than survived this microscopic review over the past few years and have turned the corner.”
Vice President of Communications