Imagine owning your very own TRON Legacy lightcycle. That’s what Parker Brothers Choppers in Melbourne, FL is trying to sell you at a measly $35,000 (starting at that is). According to the eBay ad that’s recently been making headlines, the custom motorcycle brothers will be constructing a fully functional custom bike based on the non-functioning model that Walt Disney Studios debuted at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con and has been toting around to D23, E3 and a whole bunch of other alphanumeric acronyms.
But why trust a third of a hundred-grand to an eBay seller you’ve probably never heard of, for a bike that hasn’t even been built yet? Of course you know these guys! They built the famous ‘Batpod’ replica that they recently listed on eBay for $100,000. But why no feedback? and if it didn’t sell, why didn’t they just re-list it?
That’s because — according to this article from FloridaToday.com — the Brothers Parker opted to use a copyrighted image from The Dark Knight to advertise it, an action Warner Brothers didn’t take too kindly too, and promptly shut the auction down.
Lesson learned: Now the boys are seeking attention from Walt Disney Studios with a brand spankin’ new sale. You see, they don’t have a shop to speak of as of yet, they barely have a website and they’re promoting a product that doesn’t exist (I suppose they know how to think 4th dimensionally).
You see, the Parker Brothers are playing a game they like to call trademark and copyright infringement. Parker Brothers? Game? Nice! And the objective of this game is to draw attention to yourself and garner free publicity by selling snake oil with someone else’s name on the label (or not selling by placing outrageous prices on it).
In order to do this, the eBay ad is littered with TRON Legacy this and Lightcycle that and Disney’s own photos and the ad conveniently forgets to mention that none of those photos are theirs, let alone the product.
And simply the best part is the company’s slogan: If you can dream it, we can build it — a motto remarkably similar to one uttered by Walt Disney himself.
The worst part of this publicity whoring scheme? It works.
UPDATED 7/18/10: We see there’s still a lot of interest in this article as we seem to be the only media calling these eBay auctions into question. For that we’re going to do what we should have done when we first wrote it (but were later reminded of when reading responses elsewhere) and prove once and for all that the photos posted of the bike does not exist are in fact nothing more than Disney’s own publicity photos. From this article in which we cover the appearance of Flynn’s Arcade at last year’s Comic-con, here’s a photo of the very same bike being displayed along with the film’s stars. It’s just a shame that Parker Brothers couldn’t swing the same endorsement from Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, et al.