The Hard Rock Hotel, Den of Evil

By 100m
October 6, 2010
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Filed under Branding, Naming, Positioning, Renaming
Hard Rock Hotel Renaming
Who peed?

by Jeffery Racheff

Imagine this scenario: It’s family dinner night, and you and the hubby and the kids decide to go out for a nice wholesome meal at the Hard Rock Cafe. But as you step through the shiny big doors, instead of classic guitar solos and famous leather jackets, you’re greeted by half-naked women, drug-dealers and an endless sea of drunk people.

That’s right … you’ve just walked into the Hard Rock Hotel.

With its giant Fender-Stratocaster guitar hanging over the Las Vegas strip like an 80-foot neon penis, the Hard Rock Hotel has built itself something of a reputation as the epicenter of sin. And that’s no accident. The hotel has a nightclub called Vanity, which until recently hosted events with names like “Indulge Fridays” and “Sunday Pervert School,” and an infamous pool party called Rehab. This is the site of the reality show Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock, which chronicles the exploits of bikini-clad waitresses as they try to push top shelf liquor on the young and beautiful before they pass out from alcohol poisoning or sunstroke. Whichever comes first.

And then there’s the drugs. Police arrested eight people last year at the hotel’s pool and charged them with distributing drugs and offering sex for money. Just last month the singer Bruno Mars was caught in the hotel’s bathroom with nearly three grams of cocaine.

So yeah, the hotel plays dirty. Which is exactly why the Hard Rock Cafe wants it to change its name. (The two share a name under a licensing agreement.) The international restaurant chain is suing the Las Vegas hotel, claiming the resort revels in “drunken debauchery, acts of vandalism, sexual harassment, violence, criminality and a host of other behavior” that the good patrons of Hard Rock restaurants find indecent at best. And all this has soiled the Hard Rock name.

But “soiled” is such a finicky word. While some would use it to describe a hotel where you can buy drugs while swimming, others might use it to describe a place that buries itself in lame memorabilia. Any joint where you can dine on “Twisted Mac, Chicken & Cheese” while Joe Satriani guitars and Freddy Mercury’s sequin pants invade your private space is not exactly the pinnacle of panache. Besides, it may not be the same sin found in Vegas, but tackiness at least deserves to be in a nearby ring of hell.

Now, if only there were some magical place that combined it all … get in the van, kids! We’re going to Hooters!