I don’t recall if “Ladies Night In Buffalo” was a big hit for David Lee Roth, as I never cared much for the whole Van Halen genre. But it sure was popular song on the east end of Lake Erie in 1986. That I do remember.
It wasn’t until the personal injury lawyers came along that these “get loaded cheap” promotions became a PR problem for the clubs that sponsored them. When drunk patrons drove off to kill or maim innocent victims, juries began to hold night club owners accountable along with the drivers. Faced with huge losses and skyrocketing insurance costs, bar owners turned to their PR counselors for advice.
Back in the 80s I did some work for hotel & restaurant owners in Buffalo, and I recall coming up with the perfect answer to their problem. I suggested installing coin-operated breath analyzers in every bar. This way, patrons could check their own BAC before leaving. Those blowing in the “red zone” could opt for other ways home — even asking the bartender to call a cab, or at least to hide the customers’ keys.
The 4 club managers at this meeting roared in unison. When the laughter subsided one said: “That’s been tried. It turns into a contest of who can score the highest BAC without passing out.”
Ah, the macho 80s. My head hurts just thinking about it.
It was my turn to laugh this week, when this story appeared in Wednesday’s Akron Beacon Journal. Seems that a local gin mill called Beer 30 has installed an Alcohol Alert breath analyzer. For a buck a blow, you can get a fairly precise reading of your breath alcohol content. The manufacturer, Ke-Ro Corp., claims the machine is accurate to within .02 percent.
One Beer 30 patron said: “I think it’s a great idea. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen one in a bar.”
So there you have it — another case where the wisdom of PR counsel was ignored lo those many years ago. I had the answer, I tell you, and the client just laughed. Ask anyone who was in the meeting.
For me, it’s another one of those Butch Cassidy moments. “I have vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”