Big Red and secrets of the Berluscomix serial
The benefits for the exploitation of Big Red's image by the Berlusconi empire are estimated at 250 million dollars, according to the Western Kentucky University (WKU) and Crossland enterprises, owners of the royalties. This huge sum might be beneath the damage, of which for having turned the image of an honest American sportsman into a presumed promoter of charlatans and of misleading publicities.
Big Red is a kind of giant red frog and the mascot of the Western's basketball team, who collect funds aiming to constitute grants for the students in need. It became "Gabibbo" explained Antonio Ricci in 1991, to the "Novella 2000" magazine. Its eyebrows were depilated and it wears red velvet dinner jacket.
Since, eleven million televiewers finds an effeminated image of Big Red in "Striscia la Notizia", a Mediaset talk show depending of the Berlusconi Empire, ironically to uncover swindles, to take the defense of the consumers and people oppressed by corrupted politicians or an ineffective bureaucracy. The "Velines" are pulpy young women, dressed in skirts so short that they let appear the round-off of their buttocks. They have mission of bringing a note summarizing the case to be treated to Antonio Ricci and Gabibbo. Many Italians sees them as a benefactor of humanity and his prophet.
In 2001, Big Red's image, Antonio Ricci and pulpy Velines had taken five years to discover that 140 complaints had crossed their own television set. Mediaset had been used for promotion of the Marchi family enterprise, to sell magic sliming salts and branches of ivy. A Brazilian "wizard" offered "free telephone consultations", at the price of €-1.80 the minute (149-USD per hour). They employed 40 telephone operators ten hours per days and seven days per week, which supposes around 22 million USD of telephone income per annum. They also threw "bad spells", of which they freed the victims for an average price of 6.890-USD. November 28, 2001, the family passed from glamour to prison, except for the wizard who was able to take the first plane to Brazil.
Three weeks after the arrest, December 20, 2001 the action group "Telefono Antiplagio", who is tracking charlatism as from Sardinia, made a press release: "The sensational blunders of Striscia Notizia". Big Red's image had again been exploited for the tele promotion of Vit'Alba, containing "Bach's Flowers". The "magic" properties of this "natural slimming" product, explained Telefono Antiplagio, are identical to salts and the small ivy branches of the Marchi'. Hundreds of "New Age" associations, spiritual movement characterized by "an individual and eclectic approach of spirituality", as well as operators of "the occult" sell these Flowers of Bach as magic potions.
Vit' Alba' Internet website invited to ask information by telephone, for the price of 40 cents the minute. At the same time, the image of Big Red invited eleven million televiewers to do the same, by calling five minutes maximum to a number which varied only by the two last figures, but for 28 cents the minute: 70% of the original price. The call reached a recorded advertising, which after thirteen minutes, made the publicity of "Striscia Notizia". No one knows why Antonio Ricci felt aimed, but he answered by filing a complaint for "slandering"!
Vit'Alba was sold by IBS which in 2006, had accumulated 18 judgments for misleading publicity, of which for the flowers of Bach. Its last judgment for a for a magic product allowing to lose weght while eating spagettis and fried patatoes, was matched of a 54.500 euro fine, motivated by the so many repetitions. Should half percent of the eleven million televiewers have called as Telefono Antiplagio, the publicity will have brought 286.000-euro, of which 70% five minutes of Mediaset represent 77.000-euro.
When the Western and Crossland filed a complaint against the Berlusconi empire for violation of trademark and unfair competition, for having cloned and renamed Big Red Gabibbo, Antonio Ricci answered that he had seen the American mascot for the first time when the journalists of Novella 2000 had shown him its photograph: that the interview was only one "joke". He filed two complaints, one in against Crossland, the other of Telefono Antiplagio for "slandering"!
The Berlusconi empire, which weighs 12.8 billion dollars, had acquired the domain name www.striscialanotizia.it, but still leaves dozens of other extensions accessible to the public. Telefono Antiplagio, which weighs only what its founder can save of his teacher's wages, acquired the .net extention and was prosecuted for "unfair competition"!
Mediaset claimed the prohibition of the use of .net by Antiplagio together with a 50.000-euro damage, extravagant presure enough to release the domain name. Rather than to acquire the domain name supposed to provide so much money, .net was repurchased at advertising ends by an unknown person, whose contact is the Tueffe pastry & C in Umbria.
Four years later, an administrative skid allowed a judgement without the defendant being invited to appear at the audience. Magnanimous, the judge condemned Giovanni Panunzio to pays only 45.000-euro for 7 months supposed benefit of publicity on a site which did not even show a banner and for Mediaset's to publish the judgment on its internet sites
Antonio Ricci and Big Red's image will thus be able to claim 50.000-euro from the pastrycooks. At least 80 extentions of Striscia Notizia and Gabibbo are to be sold, that is to say a possible benefit of 4 million euro, amongst other things for www.gabibbo.info, now on sales for 1.99 dollars.
Stuck and ready to the extreme to save his organisation, the founder of Telefono Antipalgio decided to put one of his kidneys on sale. The Press Office Striscia la Notizia retorted in the publication "Veline" that the judge had retained defamatory contents of the site, whereas the word neither appears in Mediaset's complaint, nor in the judgement. Yet, it is Antonio Ricci who files annother complaint against Giovanni Panunzio for... slandering, in the content of his interview by the AGI press agency, according to the Velines.
In conclusion, the past and future income of Big Red's image is likely to largely exceed the 250 million euro, which is likely to irritate Mr. Berlusconi... unless he fears that Antonio Ricci files a complaint for slandering!
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