“The Heineken Ritmo Sonico Music Festival – An All Day Party with Free Beer”
– From a description of a September 8th, 2013 event held at LaMarina (via pulsd.com)
Being city parkland, the License Agreement has many specific restrictions on brands and marketing and their strictly controlled relationship with the site. For example:
The Commissioner shall have prior approval as to design, content and distribution of all advertising and promotional materials.
Under no circumstances shall Licensee be permitted to place advertisements on the exterior of its concession area or an any building or structure on the Licensed Premises. The Licensee is prohibited from placing or permitting the placement of advertisements in the Licensed Premises without the prior written approval of Parks.
The agreement also has two full pages detailing exactly which vending machines can be used, their content and labeling. For example, the front graphic panel on a Coke machine can only be used to promote healthy beverage choices – i.e. show Dasani water, not Coke, as the main graphic. Beverages with more than 25 calories are not allowed.
All of the above is consistent with restaurant usage and typical for all city Parks concessions. But when a concession is illicitly allowed to operate as a nightclub, many additional marketing pressures are brought to bear. Besides the often-risque advertising of the nightlife operations, promotions for alcoholic brands become a major element. The concession has hosted many daytime PR events for alcoholic brands as well as alcohol-sponsored nightclub events. Product launches for new liquors are common. The 2013 and 2014 Ritmo Sonico and 2015 Electric Beach events in particular seem to have included covering the site in brand logos and signage and handing out free beer. Parks has said nothing about these alcohol-related events, even when the media reported openly on it.
Did Parks approve each and every one of these events? And what about their signage? From the RFP:
The concessionaire will be prohibited from placing advertisements on the exterior of their concession
area, or on the building. Advertising of product brands is prohibited without Parks’ prior approval. Any
and all signage is subject to Parks’ approval.
Even if the events are being approved, and the signage is being approved, why is city parkland being used as a vehicle for alcohol brand promotions when even an image of a Snapple on a vending machine is prohibited?
The best way to make this issue disappear is to remove the unauthorized nightclub and concert uses and restore the Dyckman Marina concession to its original intent as a waterfront restaurant and cafe.
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