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GQ Gives Lounge a Marketing Makeover

September 10, 2002, 12:00 AM EDT

GQ 45th anniversary party/GQ Lounge kickoff party Pressure Wednesday, 09.04.02, 7 PM to 11 PM
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First GQ was a magazine. Then it became an adjective (as in, “You look very GQ,” whatever that's supposed to mean). And now, during September anyway, GQ is a lounge, taking over the venue normally known as Pressure. Filled with promotional displays from 30 companies, the lounge is a kind of glossy trade show meant to build relationships with the magazine's advertisers (part of the growing trend for mags to use special events to win ad dollars). Located in a pressurized bubble above Bowlmor Lanes on University Place, the GQ Lounge is hosting a month of parties and promotions, which began with the magazine's 45th anniversary party.

Event designer Avi Adler worked with both the magazine and the 30 advertisers to create a mix of fun displays, including some sculptures made out of liquor bottles and tables made with clear plastic to display clothes. (The most unusual installation had a model trapped inside a clear plastic box for the night, leafing through past GQ issues and occasionally stripping down to his skivvies to change outfits.)

Coming at the beginning of the busy fall event season, the anniversary party drew a pack of media types (Tina Brown, Liz Smith, Stone Phillips, Bill O'Reilly), but it also had a few snafus. After walking through a massive, well-manned arrivals area set up on the street, many guests had to walk up the stairs to get to the fifth-floor party venue. Even though a bevy of cocktail waitresses passed out champagne on the landings, some partygoers still complained about the climb. Upstairs another small photo area was set up in the lounge, blocking the traffic flow around a constantly overcrowded bar. And at least one guest from a company advertising at the event commented that the low lighting lessened the effect of the displays.

The party was punctuated by a performance by singer Vanessa Carlton and short speeches from publisher Ron Galotti (the original Mr. Big), editor Art Cooper (Mr. Not-as-Big-as-He-Used-to-Be since his much-discussed diet) and September cover girl Heidi Klum. When they stepped onto a small stage, many in the crowd kept talking, and Galotti called out in a microphone, “Hello! I paid for the drinks. Hello! Guys in the back. Hello!” But the guys in the back kept talkingand drinking.

Chad Kaydo

Read about an Entertainment Weekly party with promotional displays...

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