Thursday, April 30, 2009

Formulas for Failure

Showing movies in a dining/drinking environment is far from a new idea. Many places have tried it and then stopped after initial interest petered out. Maybe they showed the wrong films. Anyway, I just heard of two local failures, local being Minneapolis, MN.

The first was a western themed restaurant called Bar Abilene. Some years ago they announced a policy of showing western movies on their multiple TV screens from opening through early afternoon. They publicized it as a fun thing one could do for lunch. I like the idea of a special time for special screenings, but here comes the kicker -- they ran whatever happened to be on the Western Encore Channel. Patrons caught on at once and the attraction soon turned into an annoyance if they didn't like the film. How much better if they came on purpose to see a specific short western like a Roy Rogers along with a western serial chapter like The Painted Stallion and a non-western cartoon. The same show could be run Monday thru Friday with a new show and especially serial chapter the next week. (Hmm, that sounds like an upcoming Café Roxy series.)

The second notable failure was a restaurant-theater that showed free cartoons every Saturday and Sunday for brunch. Again, a great idea and special show for a special time. Initial strong reaction should have built from week to week and insured return business and healthy word of mouth. The big mistake was throwing on commercial cartoon discs with no variety. Even the staunchest fan will have trouble watching all 17 Superman cartoons in a row, or an hour of Betty Boop or Popeye or an hour of anything.

Moral: Variety entertains.

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