Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hard Rock Cafe Sues Hard Rock Hotel

Vegas Rex is at his finest in his recent piece about the lawsuit Hard Rock Cafe has filed against Hard Rock Hotel.

First, the suit:

"Owners of the Hard Rock Cafe restaurant chain are suing owners of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas over its name, saying the casino's party image has damaged the moniker enough to justify ending a 14-year-old licensing agreement.  The lawsuit says that the cable reality show "Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel" on truTV casts its brand in a bad light. The lawsuit says the show portrays the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino as a place that "revels in drunken debauchery, acts of vandalism, sexual harassment, violence, criminality and a host of other behavior" that most people would find offensive, including patrons of Hard Rock restaurants.

The hotel is owned by Morgans Hotel Group -- a company that is entirely separate from the cafe chain. Hard Rock Cafe agreed to let the hotel use its name, but now wants to rescind the deal. If the restaurant chain wins its lawsuit, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino would be forced to change its name and brand, which have been central to its strategy of marketing to music lovers and others who know the Hard Rock name. The cafe owners said in the lawsuit that the casino's pool parties, which are also titled "Rehab," have been associated with criminal activity, damaging the Hard Rock name."

Then, a snippet of  Rex's inimitable take:

"Personally, I have never seen the reality show referenced by the Hard Rock Cafe, but from its name, I'm pretty sure I get the idea.  My guess is that watching this particular show is like watching the Douchebag Olympics.  You probably have 1,000 people on camera trying to out-vinegar one another, with throngs of spectators yelling "Whooooooooo!" the entire time.

Again, this is probably not wholly inconsistent with the clientele of the Hard Rock Cafe.  I am aware that the Cafe is a bit more family-friendly, but it may be a little disingenuous for the HRC to cite "drunken debauchery" as something that they do not want to be associated with.  Again, it is named the HARD ROCK Cafe.  Not just rock, but hard rock:  Pot-smoking, head-banging, skank-banging, devil-horn-making, hard fucking rock.

It's hard to believe that a few douchebags squirting around in an artificial pond in Desert Detroit would really tank their image, but I can kind of see where they are coming from. "

Head over to Rex's site to read the whole thing.



Onlooker said...

Yeah, I pretty much agree with Rex's comments on this. Although I haven't been to a HRC in a looong time (in London), so I don't know what it's like "lately." And I'm not a patron of Sin City at all.

It is kind of funny that the HRC is trying to protect it's "family friendly" image here, given the name and all (as Rex points out).

This just shows the risk of giving up control of your brand name for a few bucks. It can go bad quite quickly and it's hard to rehabilitate it when it does (pardon the pun). Though I guess the jury is still out on how much damage there may be here.

Daniel said...

KD you should have warned me about the Coldplay greatest band ever comment. I spewed coffee all over my laptop.