Kryptonite's PR manager Donna Tocci is popping up all over the place. She's been interviewed on well-respected tech blogs, is featuring in a 2006 book on corporate blogging and has taken the time to respond on the blog of Tom Biro, a PR and marketing guru. Biro - great name for such a topic - had written a piece called New PR & the Kryptonite Situation, a musing on crisis communications. The Kryptonite vs the blogosphere myth - long debunked by - also got a pasting on on Tuesday.

Biro spills ink on Bic lock pick

A long interview with Tocci is featured in Debbie Weil’s book ‘ The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get it Right’ (Penguin Portfolio 2006).

Weil regrets not pre-publishing this interview on her blog because she was beaten to the scoop by technocrat Dave Taylor.

However, both Taylor and Weil agree that the first debunking of the ‘Kryptonite was humbled by bloggers’ myth happened right here on

Weil links to the BikeBiz index of Kryptonite vs Bic stories, a series of articles that coloured articles in the Boston Globe, CNN, The New York Times and other mainstream news sources. The BikeBiz revelation that the Bic pick was first mentioned in a British bicycle magazine in 1992 (not, as Weil says, a UK bike discussion list, a claim since amended) was cited in group actions against Kryptonite even though the lawyers never revealed that Kryptonite was never named in the 1992 article.

Weil said notable business bloggers "jumped on the ‘Kryptonite is clueless’ bandwagon before checking out the story directly with the Kryptonite folks. I think there’s a cautionary tale in here about ‘blogging’ vs. ‘journalism.’"

Debbie Weil: "What REALLY happened behind Kryptonite’s blogging fiasco and what it means for the rise of corporate blogs."…/what_really_hap.html#trackback

CNN: The Rise and rise of company blogs:…/company.blogs

Dave Taylor’s debunking myth story:…/debunking_the_myth_of_kryptonite_locks_and_the_blogosphere.html

Diva Marketing Blog: "So many bloggers posted that Kryptonite became (ta dah!) the poster child of the blogosphere of how not to handle a crisis."…/the_blogosphere.html


16th Dec: Bloggers did not humble Kryptonite…/article.php?id=6323

Just about every media story that promotes the ‘power of the blogosphere’ mentions the Bic vs Kryptonite story of 2004. But the story was broken on an online forum, not a blog, and the main coverage was disseminated by news websites such as and the websites of the Boston Globe, CNN and the New York Times. Now, a marketing/PR blog has, at long last, debunked the ‘Kryptonite humbled by bloggers’ myth.

13th May 2005: Kryptonite becomes wedded to the B-word…/article.php?id=5558

Blogs. If you’re not writing one, you’re nobody. Or so it seems in the blogosphere. When the mass media now mentions the word blog, the name Kryptonite isn’t far behind. And this is unfair because Kryptonite wasn’t taken to task by bloggers, it was a forum wot did it. ‘Blog tracking and search’ companies don’t see it like this, though. a CEO from one such company has just told that Kryptonite was "clueless" about the "digital assault" on its reputation. Not true, but the news piece does reveal that Ingersoll Rand, owner of Kryptonite, has appointed a blog watcher…

Wednesday 16th March 2005: What does Kryptonite Corp think about blogging?…/article.php?id=5369

Steve Down, the English general manager of the Kryptonite Corporation of America, is facing the media this week. He’s painfully aware that September 2004’s Kryptonite vs Bic problem is the "poster child" for the power of internet chat-rooms to influence corporations. Kryptonite was on the receiving end of thousands of online complaints, starting on The company has recently settled one of the class action suits filed against it in the US and Canada.

Monday 10th January 2005: Bic vs Kryptonite to be case-study in PR textbook…/article.php?id=5122

‘Cases in Public Relations Management’ will be published in the US by McGraw-Hill Publishing and is to feature the online brand mauling suffered by the Kryptonite Corp in Autumn 2004.

Tuesday 28th December 2004: US distributor of OnGuard locks has a dig at Kryptonite…/article.php?id=5082

The European lock company has long known about the vulnerabilities of cylinder locks and has shunned their use. Todson, the lock brand’s US distributor, has today issued a press release that knocks Kryptonite, even though Kryptonite has voluntarily recalled the locks which could be opened with Bic pens.

Wednesday 17th November 2004: Kryptonite, rejoice, it’s now Oxford Products taking the heat…/article.php?id=4912

The December edition of Ride, the British motorcycle magazine has an "exclusive investigation" on the Bic lock opening trick that’s been exercising minds in the bicycle trade since September. However, the four-page piece fingers tubular cylinder locks from Oxford Products rather than Kryptonite. "It’s possible some Kryptonite locks are affected," said the Google-averse writer of the article.

Wednesday 6th October 2004: Kryptonite lock replacements to ship to public before dealers…/article.php?id=4753

That’s the consumer-focussed message being promoted from the busy Kryptonite booth at the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas. Kryptonite launched its recall programme after a US consumer posted a Quicktime movie to a forum, showing how tubular cylinder locks could be opened with Bic barrels. The exchange locks will ship from the beginning of next week via UPS, after being airfreighted from the Far East.

Saturday 2nd October 2004: MasterLock stung into recall action…/article.php?id=4739

When Kryptonite’s Bic problems surfaced, Master Lock of the US issued a statement saying its top-end locks were immune to pen-attack. The fact the company also produced u-locks with cylinder tubular mechanisms was not majored on. Master Lock did not follow Kryptonite and launch a recall programme: until now, that is. News of this went on on Friday

Wednesday 29th September 2004: Brand attack: how many ways can consumers tell you they’re unhappy?…/article.php?id=4723

At first, disbelief. Anger follows. Tort lawyers then smell blood and launch putative class actions. Is sarcasm the last stage or merely another point along the road? A US consumer has placed Kryptonite replacement keys on Ebay. They’re felt tip pens. "If you really bid on this, you missed the point of the auction, but I will still gladly take your money anyways," said russw19.

Friday 24th Sept 2004: Bike bosses round on round-key lock makers…/article.php?id=4696

Gordon Fisher, MD of Fisher Outdoor Leisure, has told he and other bicycle trade execs were interviewed by newsreader John Humphries on BBC Radio 4 on 3rd December 1992. The subject matter? Bike locks which could be opened with Bic pen barrels. Prices for locks secured with ACE mechanisms dropped overnight, indicating the Bic method was well known at the time. Nigel Moore, MD of Moore Large, said: "It does our industry no good if the public are ripped off."

Monday 20th Sept 2004: hit by upsurge in Bic-fondling visitors…/article.php?id=4659

As of late Sunday night, the Kryptonite vs Bic posting on had been read 340 000 times, and the movies, hosted elsewhere, downloaded by half a million unique users. Forum owner Joe Gardner, who holds down a full-time job and runs the site in his spare time, is now out of pocket because he had to lease extra gigabytes of server space to cope with the rush on his site following reports on,, 370+ news-sites, and a front page splash in the New York Times.

Wednesday 22nd Sept 2004: Cycling attorney files class action against Kryptonite…/article.php?id=4668

The class action has been filed at the San Diego Superior Court Case, California. Despite the fact many lock manufacturers supply security products which can be opened with deformable plastic tubes – such as Bic pen barrels – it’s only Kryptonite mentioned in the class action. Attorney firm Estey-Bomberger bases its action on Kryptonite’s failure to change from tubular cylinder mechanisms after the Bic-opening method was first publicised in a British bicycle magazine in 1992. is cited as a source of evidence in the class action.

Wednesday 22nd September 2004: Kryptonite does not win ‘dilution’ case against DC Comics, owner of Superman brand…/article.php?id=4672

Ingersoll-Rand’s Kryptonite execs are probably seeing more lawyers than they like right now. On top of the Bic wrangle, DC Comics has come out best in the first stage of a long-running dispute over the use of the name usually associated with Superman.

Thursday 23rd September 2004: Kryptonite changes tack; offers free product exchanges…/article.php?id=4676

Last week, Kryptonite came out with a caveat-heavy crossbar upgrade programme. This has now been scrapped. Now, owners of Kryptonite tubular cylinder locks – the ones that can be opened with Bic pens – can hand in their locks in an amnesty programme that will see them walk away with free locks. No other supplier of locks using ACE cylinders have announced any sort of exhange programme.

Friday 24th September 2004: $200m locks lawsuit launched against Kryptonite and others…/article.php?id=4686

A class action against Kryptonite was filed in California earlier this week. Now, a Canadian lawyer has launched a lawsuit to help gain compensation for "hundreds of thousands" of bicycle lock owners. Significantly, Sack Goldblatt Mitchell of Toronto names not just Kryptonite in the suit but Norco and Bike Guard, too. The company says it will also add "bicycle retailers" to the list.

Saturday 18th September 2004: Kryptonite was not too slow to respond to consumer attacks, says Tocci…/article.php?id=4651

Donna Tocci is getting lots of media name-checks at the moment. She’s the Kryptonite spokeswoman quoted in hundreds of news-site articles syndicated across the US and beyond. She believes Kryptonite has acted as swiftly as it could, given the circumstances.

Thursday 16th September 2004: Write it down to experience, Kryptonite to offer lock upgrades…/article.php?id=4640

Sheath those Bics, Kryptonite is to offer owners of Evolution and KryptoLok locks the ability to upgrade their crossbars to the new disc-style cylinder. The mechanism for this has yet to be worked out, says the company.

Thursday 16th September 2004: The pen is mightier than the….u-lock…/article.php?id=4637

In a bizarre case of coincidental product syncronicity, the plastic barrel of a certain type of biro can easily open a certain type of tubular cylinder locking mechanism, popular on u-locks. This was first described in a British bicycle magazine in 1992 but the issue then disappeared from public view. But, in a powerful demonstration of how quick and cruel the internet can be, an American cyclist has rediscovered the Bic-pick and posted a Quicktime movie to a bike bulletin board, showing a Kryptonite lock being popped open in seconds. Kryptonite has responded, but slowly…

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