Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What were they thinking: Dec. 3, 2013

This afternoon, Rochester's police chief shuttered a downtown nightclub called Plush. The club -- scene of a recent shooting -- had taken its battle to stay open to the people via social media. And lost.

The last time I saw a nightclub win a battle with city hall was .... well, never.

I'm no nightclub expert, but I can rattle off names of saloons gone by that enjoyed their 15 minutes of media fame. Studio 54 in New York City. Bachelors III, a Queens, NY establishment best remembered for one of its high-profile co-owners, Jets quarterback Joe Namath. They're all long gone.

No nightclub wins a battle waged in the news media. And that adage now extends to social media. The "public service announcement" on Plush Lounge & Night Club's Facebook page berates the media for negative coverage of the recent shootings at the night spot. Could these events have taken place at Target or Toys R Us, as the writer suggests?

Sure, if Target or TRU served alcohol and had inadequate safeguards in place. The one thing Plush has in common with Toys R Us (besides bad spelling): TRU sells plush toys. That's it.

It's a rule: news people cover shootings. And there's no shortage of them, especially at nightclubs. Recent nightclub shootings took place in Kalamazoo, Cleveland, Columbus, and plenty of other towns.

Is there a PR upside for Plush? For starters, they need someone who can write. Who takes a message seriously when it reads, in part: WE GON PARTY WE GON DRINK WE GON HAVE A DAMN GOOD TIME ON THE SAGITTARIUS SIDE OF THANGS.

My PR advice? Get Plush off the front page as fast as possible. Don't compare your saloon with mass market retail merchants. Hire more security, and adopt a no-exceptions policy on misbehaving patrons. This is your best chance at convincing city officials that your business isn't a threat to the neighborhood.

Then, find some who can write, and ask them to help show journalists how you've cleaned up your mess.