December 19, 2013: U.S. Sends Message with Delegation to Sochi Olympics, Pop-Up Super Bowl Steak House Offers $50,000 Tables, the Worst Marketing Blunders of 2013

By Beth Kormanik December 19, 2013, 7:56 AM EST

1. UNITED STATES SENDS MESSAGE WITH DELEGATION TO SOCHI OLYMPICS: The United States delegation to the Winter Olympics in Sochi will include two openly gay athletes, and for the first time since 2000 will not include the President, First Lady, or Vice President. The move is being seen as a rebuke to Russia’s harsh anti-gay laws, although not the boycott that some had sought. USA Today: “It's hard to look at this delegation without seeing it as a criticism of Putin's anti-gay laws,” said Andre Banks, executive director of the gay rights group All Out. “What it's doing is showing the true power of the Olympics, the ability to move people, to change people's minds and open them up to new ways of thinking. The delegation is shining a light on the values of the Olympics.”

2. POP-UP SUPER BOWL STEAK HOUSE HAS $50,000 TABLES: Danny Meyer will open Forty Ate, a pop-up steak house during Super Bowl week in the Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel. Eater: “The Forty Ate team is also selling off five V.I.P. tables for $50,000 a pop. For that price, buyers get exclusive access to the table for three days before the Super Bowl, food and drink included, plus four tickets to the Super Bowl itself. One of the N.F.L.’s main selling points for those is that each four-seat table has a coveted windowside spot, with an unobstructed view of ‘Super Bowl Boulevard’ (a.k.a. Broadway) and the giant toboggan run thereon. The target audience is the ‘business community,’ which the NFL imagines will use the tables for impressive client meals.”

3. THE WORST MARKETING BLUNDERS OF 2013: Remember when the founder of yoga apparel company Lululemon said some women were too fat for its products? It was a defining moment for the company as well as one of the biggest marketing blunders of the year, according to communications expert Paul Argenti. New York Post: “Argenti told The Post that he ‘never seems to have a shortage of examples to use for these lists.’”


BOSTON:  PCMA Convening Leaders will take place at the Hynes Convention Center January 12 to 15. The culinary team will serve classic Boston cuisine including smoked Cape Bay scallops, lobster rolls, and fried clams and chips.

CHICAGO:  The Melman siblings plan to open a yet-unnamed ramen noodle shop in River North in March. The venue will overtake the space that currently houses Paris Club's bar and lounge.

DALLAS:  Quest Events, the parent company of Quest Drape, has acquired the rentals and fabrications company Visual Elements.

LAS VEGAS:  Rent the Runway at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will open on December 27, just in time for New Year’s Eve, featuring a curated selection of dresses and accessories. It will be the site’s first West Coast boutique.

LOS ANGELES:  UCLA Head and Neck Surgery will celebrate the Luminary Awards on January 22 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Wayne Newton will host the inaugural gala, whose honorees include the singer John Mayer. Mayer and Celine Dion will perform at the event.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Global Spectrum, facility managers of the Miami Beach Convention Center, will host the North American Bitcoin Conference January 25 to 26. Clevelander Hotel, through event sponsor Bitpay, will allow guests to pay for their room, food, and drinks with bitcoin.

NEW YORK:  Here's one way to celebrate an octogenarian's birthday. New York Post: “To ease legendary restaurant critic Gael Greene’s 'pain' of turning 80, the candles were split into two bunches of 40 on separate birthday cakes wheeled out Monday night at Macy’s Stella 34 Trattoria.”

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

ORLANDO:  Westgate River Ranch has named Lisa Williams director of sales and Jennifer Gallagher director of events for the 1,700-acre guest ranch property in Polk County.

WASHINGTON:  The 10,000-square-foot ice skating rink in Canal Park has opened for its second full season. Group rates are available, as are evening buyouts of the rink on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays.

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Lauren Matthews, and Anna Sekula in New York.

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