But, even when it’s pushing the boundaries to connect with consumers, it has to retain a portion of dignity. And that means steering clear of distasteful themed foodie evenings.
Yes Death Row Dinners, I’m looking at you.
The pop-up restaurant in Hoxton has been forced to apologise for, and cancel, its Death Row themed evening. What would’ve been an intimate night where ‘inmates’ would be locked, frisked and fed prison food, the concept failed to impress critics before it even opened. And, I’m not surprised.
Here’s three courses (aka reasons) why it was never going to work:
Starter: We have nothing in common
Off the back of Secret Cinema’s Back to the Future success, Hoxton thought it would bring the buzz back to East London by launching an experiential and interactive evening. But, there was simply no reason for it.
The organisers had no hook (e.g it failed to reference the Shawshank’s 20th anniversary and tie it in with a screening which might’ve helped them to redeem themselves); no credibility (e.g an association with The Clink restaurant in Brixton); and simply no demand.
This instantly weakens a campaign, however well considered, into a series of unbalanced ideas. Which isn’t good for business whatever way you look at it.
Main: Crass concepts
More than being the rebel restaurant without a cause, the concept left a bad taste in people’s mouths by attempting to recreate meals inspired by real-life requests made by prisoners.
Without getting into a debate about capital punishment, you only have to watch five minutes of Sir Trevor McDonald’s Inside Death Row series to remember that those inmates are real people with real feelings. Whatever they’ve done in the past, no one has the right to trivialise their last moments.
Dessert: Tweeting for all the wrong reasons
The company attempted to defend itself using its relatively fresh Twitter account to respond to the backlash.
With little over 200 followers and just 10 tweets to its name, there wasn’t much this sinking ship could do to turn the crisis around. Not without an authoritative voice anyway.
For the moment it’s taken a vow of social media silence – making it the company’s best decision yet.
What do you make of it all? Has the media over sensationalised the event?