Carvel Follow-Up

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Real journalism from a site called One Foot Tsunami? While researching last week’s Don’t Eff with Fudgie the Whale feature, I noticed a slight discrepancy. This is the card shown on Carvel’s response to the incident:

Carvel's sample Black Card

The fine print on this sample card indicates simply that the card must be presented when a purchase is being made. The full fine print reads:

The card must be presented at the time of purchase. Cardholder may receive up to $25 in ice cream products per week. No substitutions. Lost, misplaced or stolen cards are not replaceable. No cash value. www.carvel.com

However, Carvel’s page also shows a second image with different fine print:

The card's fine print
[Click to enlarge]

That fine print reads:

Personal appearance of named cardholder required at time of purchase. Cardholder may receive up to $25 in ice cream products per week. No substitutions. Lost, misplaced or stolen cards are not replaceable. No cash value. www.carvel.com

This second set of fine print is far more damning, as it would require Lindsay or Ali Lohan to be present for all purchases. This makes perfect sense, given the nature of Carvel’s marketing plan. Having celebrities in the stores is useful. Giving away ice cream to the awful and unfamous relatives of celebrities is not. But which fine print was on the Lohans’ card?

To find out, I got in touch with Ashley Swann, PR-Communications Manager for Focus Brands (parent company of Carvel), who authored their response. Here’s what she had to say:

We didn’t want to bring any specific celebrity into this story by posting one of the actual cards, but the fine print [the second set] you see on the site is what appears on those cards. The photo you see of the “Carvel Lover” card is a generic card that’s a little different.

In addition to the fine print that details the restrictions & specifies that the celebrity must be present, the Lohans were also verbally informed of this on numerous occasions when we did honor their card.

We never planned for this to be such a media storm. Our Franchise Partners simply couldn’t have been expected to provide free ice cream to someone who was clearly breaking the rules.

So there it is – the fine print on the cards clearly tells the owner that their presence is required to obtain free treats. Even if it hadn’t, the Lohans were informed of this multiple times, and Carvel is free to do what they like with their promotion. But next time, someone at Carvel might want to spend 5 minutes in Photoshop. They’d avoid any confusion, and also demonstrate what miserable bums the other side are.


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