Archive for the ‘Marketing techniques’ Category

amsterdam bicycle club toronto

Ok, perhaps it’s just me travelling so much, but I love theme bars. When venue owners show their creativity in décor, of course in addition to creativity in food and drink menu, this just gives another reason to go there and be truly entertained. Why not have more fun? Why…

Here is my list:

Pravda Vodka Bar has been around for a few years and was inspired by Red Square in Las Vegas. Their theme is what I call Russian Communistic Eclecticism. You will find lots of red color, some rifles, some matryoshkas and of course Lenin as a part of the décor. All of this creates an atmosphere that simply makes your reach for a vodka shot and some caviar – yes, they have lots of this on the menu. When trying to get in however, make sure you plan ahead of time – I have made two attempts and every time failed due to extremely long lines and both times crossed the street to the next featured bar – Marché

Marché is a whole mini cluster of European food kiosks and stands surrounded by crafty seating area. Walking by some of these kiosks that offer anything from Danish pies, to Italian pizzas to French soups and crepes, will make you feel that you are in Tuscan village market square or Paris busy quarter. For more sophisticated visitors there are a number of sit down restaurants part of the venue. There is Italian, Seafood and French options to satisfy any taste. One of the best theme resto bars in Toronto.

Amsterdam Bicycle Club’s theme is in its name. Creative décor features old fashioned bicycles, stained glass

pravda vodka bar toronto

chandeliers, and beautiful photos of Amsterdam, its surrounding towns, events and history of bicycles. Bar has opened in July 2010 and is a great fresh spot for stylish drinkers.

Tattoo Rock Parlour is not your ordinary rock club – it is a fancy, polished, theme nightclub featuring beautiful leather seating, gigantic photos of “may be you” and some “Adams Family” styled chairs. The word tattoo in the name actually has a direct meaning – you can get inked here while listening to a live band. Place is very clean and high scale, so don’t be shy bringing your business partner here.

Laide Bar uncovers a theme you would expect in Toronto – sex. To be more precise – getting laid. Theme is supported by very sincere naked body sculptures facing each other that stand so close together that it’s hard to walk by and not get touched by them. Some of the figures are actually touching themselves – ooh, ok I won’t elaborate anymore. Go there, see, experience and enjoy.

Cadillac Lounge has a theme devoted to stylish cars and Elvis. May be it’s because Elvis liked Cadillacs? Hm… who knows. Bar is famous for its patio, cozy interior and size – it’s very big. There is also a big real car hanging over the main entry, so you won’t miss it. This lounge is popular among local crowd of all different calibre – business, friend groups, birthday party celebrators.

If there are bars/pubs/lounges that didn’t make our list, please comment and I will gladly add them. Our criteria for this article were a distinctive narrow theme and creative décor that truly resembles that theme. So something like Irish bar won’t make a list, but something like “Titanic” would.

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Mike Esterman - Celebrity Booking Agent interview for UtoldUsTo continue the topic of paid celebrity appearances at  nightclubs we got together with Mike Esterman – currently the most renown Celebrity Booking Agent. He is a CEO of Esterman.Com, agency that currently represents over 200 reality TV stars, music artists, models, actors and movie industry kings and queens. Currently himself a celebrity, Mike shares with us his story, gems and pitfalls of his industry and his opinion about the future of nightclub promotions.

Mike, please tell us how did you start.

It all began when I was about 16. I was a dancer entering various local competitions. One of them was “American Bandstand”, 50-80s version of “So You Think You Can Dance”. I spent eight months on “Bandstand” as a spotlight dancer, six months on “Dance Party USA,” and on the others maybe a few months after. While having very active nightlife I got introduced to nightclub business and began assisting a local Washington nightclub owner. Part of my job was act as a VIP host for the artists and celebrities that performed at our venue.

So, you acted as a Promoter for a Washington club?

Yes. I organized promotions and created new ways to popularize our venue such as record release parties, listening parties, after-concert parties, music video locations, etc., many of these concepts were still new at that time in Washington.

When exactly did you officially open the agency?

In 1998. While promoting a club, I developed contacts and established friendships with most of the artists I met. As I was in contact with music stars I started to be approached by other venues who were interested in booking talent at their clubs and events throughout Maryland. I realized that my heart was in talent management and went to open Esterman Entertainment, a full service talent booking company. I began receiving calls from promoters and club owners like Angel Sanchez, Philip Neary and Kevin Novak outside Maryland to set up after-concert parties for artists performing in their cities. Now I work with club owners worldwide like Mike L. in London and Eddie Perez in Dubai.

Who were your first celebrity clients?

Roger Lodge of blind Date TV Show, Carmen Electra and Rob Base and EZ Rock to name a few…

My current celebrity list is long and growing.  I work with many artists such as Kim Kardashian, Pamela Anderson, Antonio Sabato Jr., Tito Ortiz, Garth Brooks, Jessica Simpson, Don King, Paris Hilton, Carmen Electra, Mario Lopez. I also work on events and after parties for music artists like, POISON, Third Eyed Blind, 3 Doors Down, Lady GaGa, Jay Sean, Colby O’Donis, Alicia Keys, Usher, Nelly, Beyonce, Fabolous, P. Diddy, Vince Neil, LL Cool among others.

What are the types of events various types of celebrities commonly appear at, and what they are expected to do?

Music artists like events that promote their business. These include album release parties, concert promotions, music festival after parties etc. Music artists are often expected to perform when booked at events, play a song or a few. This makes a great win-win for both clubs and artists.

Models and movie stars are a fit for a wide range of appearances that span from meet & greet, conventions, health clubs, radio stations, nightclubs, autograph signings, hosting contests or promotional campaigns of their shows or movies to the public.

We hear sensations such as Paris Hilton being paid $350,000 for a few hour club appearance. Is it really that expensive to book a celebrity?

No, it is quite affordable for most of venues. It is true that the price can range anywhere from $500 to a few millions. It all depends on a celebrity profile, scale of the event and how many people are involved. Playboy models and reality TV stars are very affordable. There is a difference between a Playboy model and a Playboy Playmate though. You can get a model for about $500. A Playmate is about $1000. You can get reality stars, kids from MTV shows like The Real World and Laguna Beach or The Bachelor for about $1000.

When we are talking a private concert, say, Justin Timberlake, price can shoot over $2 million. But remember, a concert takes time to prepare, there is a back vocal and dance team attached in addition to full blown music entourage that comes on stage with the artist. Payoffs are also different. Private concert will typically get ticket sales, on occasion it is a corporate event and budget is allocated in advance.

What should a venue keep in mind when booking a celebrity?

Celebrities are very busy people, they work long schedules and often book 12 months ahead. Clubs should always keep this in mind as it will help them get right people and for the better price. As a part of booking arrangement a venue is expected to cover a flight, hotel, meals and ground transportation. If the celebrity is already going to be in your area, that’s a good way to save money on travel because you don’t have to pay for some of it. For example, many of the MTV Real World kids go around the country speaking at different colleges and like to pick up a nightclub appearance as well. Or a musician who is already performing a concert on Thursday may want to pick up a nightclub appearance on Friday. Then you don’t have to pay for airfare, just an extra hotel room night.

Knowing who will be in your area is often tricky. I list the ones I do know about on my Web site at www.Esterman.com. If it is a music star, you most likely can get their schedule off their website, or check the ticketmaster.com to see who is in your area during the dates you are working on to fill.

What is the process of booking a talent through you?

First, you tell me a few names you want to book. You can check my website for ideas. If a name you are interested in is not there, I can still contact them and make them an offer. The ones who are listed on my web site are actively looking to book these types of engagements, so it may be easier to get them as a result. If you don’t have names or ideas, you can tell me what kind of event you are doing or perhaps type of celebrity: film, model, music, reality TV and I will make a few recommendations.

So you choose a celebrity, tell me how much you’re willing to spend. Then, I make the offer to the celebrity, and if they’re available I draw up a contract and you put down a deposit. It’s that easy. Contract is more than just a bunch of legal terms, in fact, it’s nothing like that. It is a working schedule that spells out everything you need to know in advance about your actions, celebrity responsibilities and mine.

What happens if a star cancels? Has it ever happened?

When cancellations happen which are very rare, the purchaser gets their deposit refunded and a new date may be scheduled.

What is venue responsibility in area of security?

The purchaser always provides the security requested in each instance per the rider which usually includes only 1 personnel assign to them at the venue.

Besides the daily business is there anything new and unusual you are working on now?

I’m now in the process of expanding the scope of operations by venturing into new areas of branding and entertainment. I will be working with E! TV to produce its own TV show “The Real Life Entourage” type of program to highlight the daily grind that goes on behind the scene to make the end result possible to book any celebrity at any location worldwide.

You can see some of my past TV appearances here: http://www.youtube.com/estermanentertainmen

Another area of development is to provide in-house marketing and endorsements for clients and some Management roles with select clients where needed.

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Many of us heard that single nightclub appearance can make Zac Efron or Jude Law $10,000 a night. Historically successful artists, show biz figures and movie stars have been giving out speeches in their  spare time and it was common to pay high fees for such skilful entertainment and motivational acts. This is still highly practiced today, but over the past 10 years a new trend has emerged – to pay celebrities for simply showing up.

The highest paid celebrity appearance recorded in a nightclub industry was $350,000 paid to Lindsay Lohan by Pure Nightclub, Las Vegas. Although diva had to later repay the fee because party was cancelled due to scheduled rehab session, the fee was record breaking so far. Same club paid Paris Hilton $200,000 to celebrate her 24th birthday a few years ago. Britney Spears has also earned $350,000 for hosting a New Year’s Eve at the Pure, but this event was more than just appearance. Britney had to do more work than hang out, she gave speeches, made introductions and was expected to perform.

Another club famous for such promotion techniques is Tao Nightclub, Las Vegas. Records show $50,000 cash to Kim Kardashian and $110,000 to Pamela Anderson. Shore Club in Miami cashed $150,000 to Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz.

Why would a night venue pay such a high price for celebrity clubbing? Some clubs do state that they never pay celebs. Of course we do see photos of stars coming out of clubs posted on People, Yahoo and other websites and it is often the case that they just came to party along with everyone else. ­There is also a number of clubs owned by famous persona such as Viper Room, Los Angeles (owned by Jonny Depp), Eve, Las Vegas and Kiss, Los Angeles (both owned by Eva Longorina) where it is a given that occasionally you may spot a rightful owner who is there for a completely different reason.

There are instances, however, when clubs recruit a celebrity as part of a promotional effort to attract customers to a special event such as New Year or Prom Night. When marketing is done right, celebrities can generally account for substantial increases in business. In case of featured appearances, or so called “celeb nights”, a higher cover may be charged or much more people are expected to show up. If you do a simple math, with a cover fee of $40, all it’s needed is additional 250 people to break even on average celebrity cost. Visitors also tend to spend more on bottle service as mood is better and calibre of event is higher. Such marketing trick also becomes an instant PR as generated buzz lasts for weeks after party is over giving more credibility and fame to a club.

“Everyone pays celebrities to come to their clubs,” says Andrew Sasson, co-owner of Jet Las Vegas. “It’s all part of the marketing in this business. Anyone who tells you they don’t is lying. The question is: Do you pay with cash, or provide a jet, a meal, drinks and hotel rooms?”

As to Canadian clubs, most common to host celebrities are Muzik (David Beckham, Jude Law), The Fifth (Paris Hilton, Matt Damon) and Ultra (Lady Gaga, Perez Hilton, Lindsay Lohan).

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There are over 500,000 social networks today. This number is growing very fast. UtoldUs, just like other 500,000, has responded to the market readiness to embrace the concept of dynamic website with “social” features. Yes, this is how we define social network – it is nothing but a website that has functionality letting you communicate alternative to e-mail or in-person meeting. It is a new concept – as new as blog was 10 years ago.

We decided that there are enough people who want to take advantage of this concept and socialize on the topic of nightlife. When doing our research we also discovered that there are no social networks for professionals operating in a night life industry. So we decided to build UtoldUs. It was very expensive to build and when we were done, it was most natural to invite our best friends to join first. To our great surprise 90% of them didn’t join. Even after multiple invites they still didn’t join. In the meanwhile many of these friends were joining other niche social networks that their friends didn’t built and they were inviting us! Did this hurt? Yes it did. If you were to spend 8 months to build a store, let everyone know about it and then your best friends would never visit you, would it hurt?

We quickly learnt that people who were responding to invites or just finding UtoldUs on the Internet and joining were people who we had no personal relationships with at all. The least we knew the people, the more likely they joined. We also learnt that if we get mad on our friends for not joining we will have no friends. Perhaps it is just a simple human nature. Many of us have friends who own their own stores and service businesses but we still give business to their competitors because they suit our needs more.

We are quite curious and would love to hear your experiences with other social networks. It is still a new trend and it will take a while for it to become as established in everyone’s mind as blogs are today.

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We have been hitting a lot of clubs lately and over time came to a very interesting realization – 70% of all people who go out are single! In fact it appears that sole purpose of going out, to night clubs specifically, is to get a partner. Girls come to pick guys, guys come to pick girls, or guys to pick guys, girls pick girls. By “picking” I mean, pick as a short-term or long-term partner. Almost no people come with what it seems a partner – boyfriend or girlfriend. And those who are not alone are often at early state of the relationships.

Is it that after we hook up with somebody, we no longer like to dance to loud music with couple of drinks?

One reason could be because when people are not very close, clubbing atmosphere takes attention away from negative sides of appearance and personality. Unless you are a good observer, it is unlikely that you’ll learn a lot of depth about a character, career and even appearance of someone you just met in a club. Because of the lighting and fun music, you’ll likely be more attracted to that person. Girl will look at her best with all that makeup, cute little dress and high heels. Or at least she will pick her best clothing and make her hair so you’ll like it. Meet her on the street next day, you may be surprised what you see. Guys will likely have nice perfume and dress shoes on. If not, at least they will have their favourite clean shirt and smile on. Mood is also important. In club your mood is good. You have a few drinks, chat with friends and get into a playful mood which adds to impression of meeting new people.

And this all good, great in fact. But, what happens after you get closer to your partner. Why clubs is no longer cool? Good reasons are that you find entertainment in something less public – watching a movie together, go shopping, travelling. You will still go out, but more to lounge type of venues, restaurants, wine bars that let you concentrate more on talking and listening.

So, my conclusion is:  clubs  – perfect for dating, lounges and wine bars – for deep level of relationships, comedy clubs – for very long time relationships that need a boost hehehe…

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First, a few words about why links are important. If you have a website for your business or venue you most likely want people to find you on the net as often as possible. It is great if people know that you have a website and go there by typing your URL directly in the browser. But what if these people just came for a visit from out of town and Googled or Yahooed “best pub in Toronto for over 40 crowd” or “limousine service in Hamilton”? Is there a chance your website will come up in search results?

Most of search engines put you on the top of search results based on how much you paid for keywords or how many back links you have to your website from other relevant websites. The theory behind this is that Google and its peers think that the more people link to you (thus talk about you on the net) the more important you are. Everything is even more complicated as search engines like relevant links. If you are a DJ for example and someone back linked to you from their Shore Repair website or some completely irrelevant place this link won’t be considered by search giants. So, you need to have as many RELEVANT links as you can.

If you would like to learn more about link building, we recommend reading the Search Engine Watch magazine or starting with the Link Building 101 article. In a lot of cases businesses will cooperate with each other and exchange links. We at UtoldUs (http://www.utoldus.com) provide great relevant ways for you to build links to your website. Depending on your UtoldUs profile type you have different options for link building such as:

Night Clubs and Venues:

–         Put a link in the information section by clicking the Edit Information button on your profile. This is a good place to link to your website and related pages of your site such as bookings, schedule, movies etc.

–         Link to the VIP list, event page on your website, or just your website when creating event on the invitation card. When creating events on UtoldUs we give you an option to also name a link. Instead of the URL the name will appear on the card and if clicked will bring the user to the URL you set. Search engines like named links giving them more rankings. Don’t just name a link “Click Here”, name it “Lady Ga Ga Party Tickets”.

–         Link to promotion coupons or pages that talks about promotions at your venue on promotion cards. When creating a promotion give links a relevant name such as “Razz Club Promo Coupons” instead of just “Print Coupon Here”.

Professionals and Businesses:

–         Put a link on your profile by clicking on Edit Information button. Clickable link will appear beside Website label on your page.

–         Create links in the Samples section on your profile. These could be links to specific pages of your portfolio. If you are a web designer it could be links to your client websites that you created. If you are a promoter, these could be links to events on your client website. Link to your blog, specific blog articles, twitter, facebook … be creative, there are many places you can link to. Your clients will appreciate it and you will get more traffic to your website. We ask you to give links a name so it appears on the page instead of the entire URL. Search engines like named links giving them more ranking. Don’t just name a link “My blog”, name it “Mark Smith’s Blog”.

–         Link to the VIP list, events page on your website, or just your website when creating event on the invitation card. Event links, similar to sample links can have a name, so be creative with that to maximize link effectiveness. Name it “DJ Bono Party Tickets” instead of just “Click here for tickets”

We are open to more ideas about what other link building tools we can create on UtoldUs. E-mail us or comment on this article and we will be happy to have a discussion.

Read more on why Clubs should join UtoldUs.

Read more on why Professionals and Businesses should join UtoldUs.

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