The Real Fight for "It's the Real Thing"

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Coca-Cola Executive Ira Herbert sent out a letter to Richard Seaver urging Grove Press Inc. to immediately end their use of the slogan "It's the real thing," which Coca-cola claimed rightfully belonged to them. Seaver responded to the letter by stating the company recognized Coca-Cola's reasons as to why they should stop the use of the slogan; however, Seaver employs satire/irony, allusions and a condescending tone to assert the fact that Grove Press Inc. will not render their privilege to use the phrase, "It's the real thing."

Seaver uses satire at the beginning of his letter when stating "the public might be confused…and mistake a book…for a six pack of Coca-Cola." He speculates whether or not the public has enough common sense to justify the difference between the two. Seaver sarcastically aims to solve the confusion by "notifying bookstores that when a customer comes in…they should request the sales personnel to make sure…the customer wants a book, rather than a Coke." In doing this he hints that the request to stop the use of the slogan because of the confusion it may spark is both ridiculous and meaningless. He then uses irony to address the fact that if people will indeed mistake the book for a Coke it will ultimately increase Coca-Cola's consumer rates making it more beneficial for them and bringing greater recognition and exposure to their company.

Seaver then testifies that Grove Press Inc. has personally been in the same shoes as the Coca-Cola Company in this debate. He alludes to two of their own published books: One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding and Games People Play. He illustrates how their situation was far worse in the sense that it was not only the motto that was being recycled but the name of the product itself with a few minor changes. However unlike the Coca-Cola Company, they did not make a major objection to it and instead embraced the fact that it was became widespread and significant. Seaver also refers to the First Amendment in...
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