CAMPAIGN: Entertainment PR - Clapham Grand goes for raunchy club relaunch Campaign: Relaunch of The Grand

Client: The Grand, Clapham PR team: Golden Goose PR Timescale: October-December 2003 Budget: £12,000

After established theatre-turned-club-venue the Clapham Grand was sold, the new owner wanted to relaunch it as The Grand in Clapham, halfway through a £1m makeover.

Objectives

To move the club's image away from former club brand The Leopard Lounge.

To create a different identity for the club through a high-profile event, without alienating The Grand's regulars or losing trade.

Strategy and Plan

Golden Goose PR approached the new owner and proposed to tap into the trend for pole dancing and 'the theatrical' in the media. The agency commissioned fashion designer Robert Cary-Williams to design bespoke, raunchy outfits for dancers on the launch night.

It also advised The Grand to incorporate tasteful pole routines into the night's entertainment, in keeping with the Kate Moss/White Stripes video hype. It helped bring a 'Rat Pack'-style live music club night called Kitsch Lounge Riot to the venue. A press release coinciding with fundraiser Fashion Rocks said that 'as Fashion Rocks London, UK clubs go couture'.

The agency commissioned royal etiquette consultant Alexandra Messervy to train the venue's bouncers in charm and manners prior to the launch night. BBC1's Breakfast was given exclusivity to film the training.

For the relaunch party ('the un-masking party') feathered masks were sent as invitations to 1,500 UK media representatives. In this way, the PR team sought to cement the new club's image as a more extravagant and theatrical, but still classy, venue.

As well as finishing and delivering invitations by hand - thus beating a postal strike - Golden Goose issued new listings releases to all key media one month before the event, accompanying press information with photographs of the new-look venue.

Measurement and Evaluation

About 900 UK media contacts attended the launch of the new-look Grand.

The Times, The Guardian and the London Evening Standard reported on the proceedings in their listings supplements, with The Independent and the Daily Mirror listing the club as a pick of the week in time for the public launch.

Time Out dubbed the new Grand 'South London's late-night destination of choice', praising it for its new Studio 54 atmosphere. The Sun photographed three girls partying throughout the night for a page-long feature about the club. The hype and the glamour that accompanied the nightclub's relaunch resulted in Elle featuring the venue in its January 2004 issue as one of the top destinations to be seen at.

BBC1's Breakfast, BBC London News and BBC London Radio covered the story of The Grand's bouncers being the most charming in the UK, carrying interviews with The Grand's head bouncer and the managing director. ITV's London Tonight followed up with filming at the club a week later.

Results

New club nights such as Salacious and Kitsch Lounge Riot continue to open to packed houses every Friday and Saturday, with attendances up from an average of 850 people to more than 1,550.

As advance ticket sales and box bookings at The Grand have increased, the club is introducing a membership package and expanding. There is now a green room for VIPs and a new bar will be opened within the venue later this year.

Elle travel editor Susan Ward Davies says Golden Goose had tipped off the magazine's editor for the story. She adds: 'The agency was quite proactive about it. We liked the whole burlesque thing and the fact that it was hosting Kitsch Lounge Riot in an opulent venue that had little theatre-style boxes.'

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