Tag Archives: Public Relations

California’s Cannabis Collectibles at The Standard Hotel!


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Recreational cannabis dispensaries will be opening up in the legal states next year.  States like Massachusetts, Maine, and even California are gearing up for the so-called ‘green rush’ that will be hitting the streets.  It’s been more than a year since four more states became 420-friendly for recreational use.

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Image result for California OG Kush

What’s most important to keep watch of is California’s colossal cannabis rush.  California’s recreational dispensaries are opening in January (six months earlier than Massachusetts!) and they have been working for over year to get things ready.  Cannabis played a major role in modifying California’s culture as a part of the United States.  It’s crucial that California rolls out the reddest of red carpet for the 420 audiences next year.  Many audiences, especially visiting tourists, will be traveling down to California to take their piece of the notorious OG Kush.

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California is working diligently to finalize all of the licensing for the dispensaries.  Various dispensaries are set to open in January, while some still have to jump through a few more hoops to get business started.  One business is looking to open up their cannabis shop in a unique location – a hotel lobby.

Image result for the standard hotel hollywood

Image result for the standard hotel hollywood

Lord Jones, a weed edibles maker, is looking to open up a cannabis shop in The Standard Hotel on the Sunset Strip of West Hollywood.  The small cannabis shop would feature products from delicious treats infused with THC to healthy topicals like lotion.  Even better – they may ben able to sell ACTUAL cannabis that you could smoke!

Image result for the standard hotel hollywood

Image result for the standard hotel hollywood

Imagine that – a small shop in the hotel lobby featuring some amazing cannabis products to choose from.  You could stop by to buy a pre-roll of a nice sativa strain like Moonshine Haze during your trip in Los Angeles.  If you’re coming back after a long day, why not go in and purchase some Bubba Kush flowers for the nightcap?  The possible scenarios for this genius marketing idea are ENDLESS!

Image result for the standard hotel hollywood

Image result for the standard hotel hollywood

Providing a small cannabis shop in The Standard Hotel would be killing two birds with one stone – on one hand you’re marketing the product for the guests (that being the cannabis products!).  On the other hand, you’re also promoting the place that the cannabis is being sold at.  Two marketing mixes are being utilized for one amazing strategy happening in West Hollywood.

Image result for West Hollywood

Image result for West Hollywood

While this marketing tactic would bring about a great PR miracle for the Standard Hotel, there are some obstacles that we have to overcome before anything happens.  West Hollywood is still currently in the process of approving its license procedure.  Even after West Hollywood gets its licenses squared away, the Standard Hotel would ALSO need a state license (due to California’s dual-licensing program).  Before we can even see this marketing/PR tactic in play, we must jump through some legal hoops in order to open the hotel lobby cannabis shop.

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Image result for Gay West Hollywood

Image result for Gay West Hollywood

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Even still, this would be an incredible idea.  It’s nestled on 8300 Sunset Boulevard, which is nestled right on the legendary Sunset Strip.  Hollywood is known for its entertaining tourist attractions and West Hollywood reels in some audiences as well.  What’s also intriguing to point out is that West Hollywood is one of many gay neighborhoods of California (others include Hillcrest neighborhood in San Diego and The Castro neighborhood of San Francisco!).

Image result for Licensed Cannabis products

Image result for Licensed Cannabis products

As a PR pro, I thought this was a fantastic concept.  Cannabis trends have been booming since legalization has been sweeping the nation.  It’s important to utilize all aspects of the marketing mix with cannabis.  Even with these complicated legality issues between the state and federal government, we should figure out other ways to sell cannabis.  Dispensaries are wonderful and all, but we shouldn’t narrow our marketing mix to just one type of place.

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How about a trendy nightclub in Los Angeles that features VIP dab stations?  Or a luxurious spa on Beverly Hills that feature THC-infused bath bombs?  These scenarios CAN become a reality, folks!  We shouldn’t let frivolous legality roadblocks prevent us from becoming more creative about how we market cannabis products.  The place of the marketing mix shouldn’t just be around dispensaries; instead, we need to brainstorm every kind of place where cannabis would be most useful.

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With that, I hope that the plan really goes through.  Providing cannabis in a place like The Standard Hotel would be the start of how we utilize where we can provide cannabis.  Dispensaries are amazing and all, but it’s going to take more creative ideas from the marketing mix in order to raise awareness of the product.  Whether it be a trendy nightclub or opulent spa, cannabis should be promoted in every sort of place possible.

Hopefully we’ll be able to purchase Blackberry Kush pre-rolls at hotel lobbies in the near future.

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Socioeconomic Costs of Gentrification


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Image result for Boston Streets

Roaming around the streets of Boston is always fun, especially for a PR pro like myself.  There’s so many attractions coming and going around the neighborhoods.  An organic vegetarian restaurant, a seasonal beer garden closed until the summer, and even concert halls are a few of many entertaining options within the city.  Even though its smaller (both in density and population size) than New York City, Boston still rings in more people every year.  You can’t get bored in this city because there’s another amazing event happening right around the corner.

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Image result for Boston Tourism

Boston’s trendy entertainment options are driving more people into the area (both tourists and those that are looking to move there).  Much of the revenue collected has been going towards increasing the overall atmosphere of the city.  While Boston has been gaining more popularity, that popularity comes with hefty costs.

Image result for Boston Apartments

Image result for Boston Apartments

An apartment within the better neighborhoods go for over $1,000 a month, with some options soaring over $3,000.  The restaurants and bars around your area may be amazing, but they also aren’t cheap (no joke, I’ve almost spent $40 in most places!).  Your destined neighborhood may seem wonderful, but these opportunities are becoming harder to reach.

Image result for Boston High rise

Image result for Boston High rise

Image result for Boston High rise

That little analogy I expressed earlier is a clear sign of gentrification in Boston.  Gentrification involves renovating deteriorating urban neighborhoods by bringing in more affluent residents.  It’s one of the most controversial practices of urban planning that has been going on for decades (since the early 60s and really picked up around the 1970s!).  I mentioned the topic of gentrification in my post involving Denver during the latest episode of Weediquette (which you can read about here) and this post will dig deeper into this discussion.

Image result for Gentrification

Image result for Gentrification

Gentrification involves bringing in the affluent audiences into the city, those that would provide more profits in order to increase revenue.  But it’s not just the economic aspect that appeals employees to set out this provocative PR tactic – These affluent audiences would flourish Boston’s reputation as a city.  Bringing in this wave of audiences would help reduce vacancy rates, increase the social mix, decrease the crime rate, and also stabilize some of the declining areas.

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But the hidden problem lies in what’s being taken out – the middle/lower middle-class audiences.  Gentrified neighborhoods mean some audiences are left out of the mix.  This is NOT good and it is creating a VIP-access type scenario where only those at the higher rung of the economic ladder will get the most out of the city.  It’s leaving out room for people looking to explore attractions in cities like Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle, and many others.

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Generating more buzz for the city is wonderful and all, but it’s squeezing out some audiences from the experience.  Every audience, especially those within the working and middle class, should be able to have that opportunity they yearned for within the city.  Whether it’s the gay couple looking to move out to San Francisco or the artist looking to make their place in New York City, every member of a specific audience is searching to make their place in the country.

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Isn’t that part of our American values? Being part of this amazing ‘land of opportunity’ where we have the option to start our own lives?  This is to set out for your OWN life, not some traditionalistic idea within the social norm.  Some scary PR tactic like gentrification shouldn’t prevent us from providing that option to all of our audiences.

Image result for boston affordable housing

Image result for boston affordable housing

While gentrification may have already happened (and still is in many areas!), we can establish affordable housing units in our flourishing cities.  Affordable housing would only ring in more diverse audiences and raise its reputation even further.  This idea of ‘affordable housing’ stands for a beneficial idea where everyone is allowed to pursue their personal goals.  Cities like Boston or Los Angeles shouldn’t become exclusive VIP access type cities that caters only to those of the Economic High Club (which sounds less entertaining than the Mile-High Club!).

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Our cities should be open to all economic backgrounds, not generate into exclusive clubs.  These tactics could make and break the representation of our ever-growing cities.

Harvey’s Horrendous PR Nightmare


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Hollywood is no stranger to PR nightmares.  Whether it’s a box office blunder or another celebrity partying too hard, PR nightmares are sure to swivel around Tinseltown.  PR pros love a good PR nightmare to work with, especially in the entertainment capital of the world (I’ll say this again – there’s NO such thing as bad publicity!).

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We all enjoy checking out the latest in movies, music, tv shows, fashion and even literature; but it’s the scandals hiding beneath the curtains that make the show that much more spectacular.  As social media’s popularity grows, the thirst for juicy scandals become much more desirable.  There’s one PR nightmare stemming from a man who co-created a movie company known for producing some of the best independent films to date.  Get ready, folks – this is the PR nightmare of Harvey Weinstein.

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Harvey Weinstein was born in New York City on March 19th, 1952.  He’s most known as the co-founder of Miramax, a subsidiary film and television company founded in Buffalo, New York.  Miramax is known for producing some of the hottest independent films such as Clerks, Sex, Lies, and Videotapes, Pulp Fiction, and The Crying Game.  What’s interesting to point out is that their television production division (Miramax Television) produced series like Project Runway and Clerks.

Image result for The New York Times

Image result for The New Yorker

All the scenes were set smoothly for Harvey Weinstein…that is, until the PR nightmare began.  In the beginning of October, The New Yorker and The New York Times reported that a dozen of women accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault, and even rape.  Many of these women reported having similar experiences with Weinstein, in which he denied all of these accusations.  Due to the results of the accusations, Weinstein was fired from his own production company.

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But the PR nightmare was JUST getting started for Harvey.  His wife, English fashion designer and actress Georgina Chapman, left him once the accusations started.  Not only was he fired from his own company, but he was also expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Many leading politicians he supported started denouncing him.  This horrific PR nightmare was only getting worse each day.  It only took one match to engulf his reputation into flames.

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Image result for Hollywood

Even while writing about this particular piece, Harvey’s PR nightmare is only drudging along ever so slowly.  His wife, political supporters, and even his own company are out of his grasp.  Hollywood is a small town where everyone hears through the mounting grape vine.  It only takes one small vine to connect with its other branches in order to ignite a PR nightmare.

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Image result for Frightened gif

That is the tragic PR tale of Harvey Weinstein and his entertainment career.  The cat is already out of the bag (and continues to be out as well), so there’s very little damage control that can be done at this point.  Only strategic PR move would be to roll with the punches.  Word has already gone out, so only time will heal this reputational wound.

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Rather than dwell on the horrors of the accusation, we should take this as a lesson in the muddy world of Public Relations.  Secrets will be shocking to hear, especially if you’re higher up on the totem pole.  The higher you climb up, the harder you will fall.  These scandalous sexual accusations will only plunge Harvey down further into his nightmare.

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Sometimes the scariest event is not so much the monster, but the leading events that happen once the monster is caught.

The Price-Gouging Parasite!


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Image result for Hurricane gif

We’ve been having a slew of crazy weather around America these past few weeks.  First hurricane Harvey invaded Texas, flooding thousands of acres of land within the state.  Hundreds of thousands of people are still affected today and the state’s natural environment is heavily damaged.  Now we’re in the midst of the environmental PR nightmare that is hurricane Irma; a PR nightmare that is so strong that Man is losing its deep-rooted battle with Nature.

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Thousands of homes have been destroyed, people are migrating to better land, and food supply has already become dangerously low.  This dangerous shortage of food supply (or supply of any commodity for that matter) leads to the controversial tactic within the marketing/economic world known as price gouging.  To marketing and economic enthusiasts, price gouging is a taboo subject because of its drastic effect it has for the consumers.  It’s a strategy so horrifying, it can only be described as… The Price Gouging Parasite!

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Image result for Price Gouging

Image result for Four P's of Marketing

Let’s start dissecting this dreaded monster within the marketing and economics world – price gouging is the event where the seller purposely spikes the goods, services, or commodities to an insanely price level.  Price gouging is considered to exploit the hidden dangers of the economic system, showcasing a worst-case scenario for its consumers.  Marketers don’t want to touch upon this provocative idea that occurs when marketing prices (Four P’s of Marketing: Product, Place, Promotion, and PRICE!).

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Image result for South Park chaos gif

Image result for South Park chaos gif

Price Gouging usually occurs in the event of a natural disaster like hurricanes; in this case, it’s happening with Hurricane Irma.  Travelers are paying thousands of dollars for one-way tickets out of Florida, the scarce food supply becomes increasingly expensive due to such a large demand, and the communities themselves have become total anarchy.  This dark marketing/economic tactic is driving people insane, acting in animalistic behavior in order to satisfy their basic needs.  When basic needs such as food and shelter suddenly disappear, all HELL breaks loose for every living creature in the area.

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Now here’s where things get interesting – price gouging is LEGAL in sixteen states.  Thirty-four states enacted anti-price gouging laws with natural disasters being part of the exceptions.  Florida is one of those states as well as California, Massachusetts, Vermont, and even Hawaii.  More than half of the country set up anti-price gouging laws and the irony is that majority of states deal with natural disasters every year.

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Image result for Parasite Monster

Rather than just discuss this as price gouging, we should label it with its true identity – the Price Gouging Parasite.  Why is it called the Price Gouging Parasite you may ask?  Price Gouging is the idea of sucking up as much money from the consumer by setting an outrageously high price.  As the price rises higher, more profit is being sucked up into the system.  Think of it like a parasite sucking the blood from you skin, smooching up trillions of essential blood cells.  The more blood it sucks up, the stronger the parasite becomes and you grow even weaker.

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Just like that parasite sucking the life out of you, price gouging weakens your economic life.  It’s one of the dirtiest strategies within the marketing and economic world during a time of crisis.  What’s even more disturbing is how it feeds of people’s fears during these catastrophic events.

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So how do we deal with the Price-Gouging Parasite?  Where does this monster’s true weakness lie?  Is there a negotiable loophole that could put an end to it?

Image result for Natural Disasters

Image result for Natural Disasters

Unfortunately, there is no straight answer towards defeating the Price-Gouging Parasite.  It’s inevitability during natural disasters makes this one tough monster to defeat.  As a hard truth to admit, price gouging is just something that’s bound to happen one way or another.  Whether it’s airlines charging travelers thousands of dollars or vendors jacking up prices for water bottles, the Price-Gouging Parasite pops up one way or another.

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As a consumer, you do have one alternative option – opt out of the purchasing process.  If you find that the price for your desired product is simply not worth it, then head off and find the same product with a lower price.  You, as a consumer, make the choice whether or not to go ahead with buying that bottled water or last-minute plane ticket out of the state.  These are frustrating choices to make, yet these are what you will have to choose during these chaotic times.

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And that right there folks, is what we are dealing with right now.  The Price-Gouging Parasite strikes once again during these times of environmental disasters.  Essential goods are becoming scarce, prompting human beings to initiate hasty decisions in order to survive another day.  This parasite sucks people dry, leaving many to fend for themselves.

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Here’s to hoping that Floridians survive another day in the midst of hurricane Irma.  All we can do is wait for the storm to pass so that the Price-Gouging Parasite is laid to rest.

Send in the IT Clowns


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Image result for Fall Horror Films

With fall coming in around the corner, the horror films will be screening in theaters nationwide.  Horror movies are great to watch and they’re extra special around Halloween time.  The summer blockbuster franchise season may be ending soon, but now it’s time to get scared silly with the horror films.  One horror franchise that everyone is excited about this year is Stephen King’s IT.

Image result for Stephen King IT 2017

Image result for Stephen King IT

IT is set to release in theaters nationwide on September 8th.  Based on the novel Stephen King wrote in 1986, the classic tale follows seven children in Derry, Maine who are terrorized by a creepy clown known as Pennywise.  Pennywise is responsible for the dozens of children that disappeared from the town.  After being terrorized by the traumatic clown, the children face their own demons as they got older.

Image result for stephen king it 2017

Image result for stephen king it 2017

Fans of Stephen King’s novels will definitely be looking forward to the film.  This horror franchise will definitely open up a whole new fear of clowns.   One movie theatre is pushing that clown culture over the edge by hosting a ‘clowns only’ screening.

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You heard me right, people – a CLOWNS-ONLY screening of IT will be taking place in September!  The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas is hosting the screening just for clowns.  Some activities that will occur before the film starts include raffles, face painting, a photo booth, and some other terrifying events.  Moviegoers are encouraged to dress like a clown for this special screening.

Image result for women only wonder woman screening

Image result for women only wonder woman screening

This whole ‘clowns only’ screening idea came about after the Wonder Woman screening controversy.  After holding a screening of Wonder Woman for women only, a lot of men grew angry over the event.  One of those complainers asked if there would be a male-only screening of Thor: Ragnarok or a special screening of IT for the clowns.  Sure enough, The Alamo Drafthouse decided to take his idea of a clown screening.  Other ‘clown only’ screenings will be happening in Brooklyn, Dallas, Omaha, Phoenix, San Antonio, and other places.

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It’s interesting how The Alamo Drafthouse went along with the man’s idea of screening IT just for clowns.  Rather than spark up some political controversy, The Alamo Drafthouse decided to get creative for the upcoming IT film.  This makes for an interesting PR stunt to drum up buzz about the movie.

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Screening events for films like Wonder Woman and IT are great publicity stunts to generate more buzz on franchise.  These kinds of stunts pull audiences from all around the area to check out the latest film hitting the theaters.  Fans of Stephen King’s IT novel will don their best clown outfit to celebrate their favorite story.

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I think this is an incredible PR stunt!  Moviegoers will be even more freaked out with all of these clowns sitting around them.  It’s a shame that there isn’t a ‘clowns only’ screening in Boston because that would’ve made for quite a movie experience!

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Screening events like ‘clowns only’ screening for IT are great examples of publicity stunts for movies.  Publicity stunts will only help the product/service grow higher if it is pulled off correctly.  It’s important to strategize your stunt so that you reach your goals/objectives for the work.  Any errors that happen with the stunt will create a PR nightmare for the company!

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The Alamo Drafthouse showcased a great example of how a publicity stunt like ‘clowns only’ screening of IT will help flourish the franchise.  Not only will this pull more potential audiences into seeing the film, but it will generate some fantastic publicity.  PR pros should take note of this case study for a future reference.

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Last year we had some craziness with the clown sightings around America and now we have a screening event where clowns are encouraged to attend.  All clown enthusiasts should attended the ‘clowns only’ screening of IT in September!