Specialized and the Cafe Roubaix PR disaster – might the worm have turned?

by crankpunk

cafe roubaix, bicycles, cycling, studio, specialized, marketing, PR, disaster, roubaix, crankpunk

i wasn’t gonna get involved in this. not because i don’t care, i truly do, but just because what Specialized are doing is so unarguably wrong that i figured everyone got it this time.

first Levi and his massively popular Grand Fondue, now this! has a secret Trek agent taken control at the head of Speccy’s marketing  juggernaut?

anyway, seems that someone, somewhere deep in the bowels of the American company has realised the massive cock-up they have on their hands, and probably seen that if they’re not careful (though it may already be too late), this PR disaster will be taught in business classes for decades to come.

this is from the Cafe Roubaix Cycling Studio facebook page:

Folks, We can announce that your voices have been heard.

We are now back in discussions with the other party. We are aware of recent announcements by third parties within the industry. We thank you for your continued support. Also note, we are working on getting a pre-order sorted out for our popular shop jersey. Made by Santini. On our online sales – YOU are amazing people.

Needless to say, we will be sorting out orders for a while. Over the weekend, we have received over 3500 emails, hundreds of phone calls and messages, how many #s and @s? Tweets? Do numbers go that high? Our little studio is just barely 900 sqft and cycling fans, cyclists, Velomintus, industry leaders & big shots, pro riders, and icons have all made their voice heard. Thank you.

crankroubaixpunk says, power to the people folks, power to the people!

Author: Lee Rodgers

Cycling coach, race organiser, former professional cyclist and the original CrankPunk.

7 thoughts

  1. It’s hard to see a “good” (or should i say acceptable) outcome for Specialized in all of this, especially given their radio silence to date. How can they now make amends? First a sincere apology from the top (of course). Then reparation – perhaps i’m being over cynical to think that they will now do everything in their powers to now see that @CafRoubaix becomes a stockist….

  2. Fuji who are the real owner, although I have stated that A.S.O really could lay claim to the branding and trademark as they own the actual race that made the name Roubaix name famous in the first place…. but any roads: Fuji have basically told Cafe Roubaix that they can use the name….. .there is also undertone that speccy is in the dog house for their underhanded registering of the name Roubaix in Canada.

  3. I live in Alberta not too far from this wonderful little shop. I currently own two Specialized bikes and I am currently looking to off load them and replace them with anything that this shop sells. I thought Specialized were innovators but in truth they are just bullies. How can anyone have intellectual rights to a town name except the town itself. I am outraged and have let Specialized know that.

  4. A “Goliath” in business terms to the “David” Specialized…..Del Taco (a taco bell- like chain in the USA) just introduced the EPIC burrito, now what Spesh?

  5. What no seems to grasp here* is that Specialized had every legal right to pursue this course of action.
    Was it a great PR move? No.
    Was it perfectly within their legal rights? Yes.
    Fuji makes a claim that Specialized had no right to file for a trademark in Canada, great Fuji go on and talk to the Canadian trademark office who approved it.
    As for pursuing legal action against a taco restaurant, well maybe Specialized lawyers actually have a clue about how trademark law. In case there was any confusion about what constitutes infringement here is a link with some of the pertinent info.
    I find #5 to be the most telling in this instance, “the similarity of marketing channels used;” say for instance both companies advertise in bicycle related print publications.

    *or anywhere on the internet for that matter.

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