April 2, 2014: The Best Brand Gags From April Fools’ Day, Disney’s Electronic Wristband Experiment, iHeartRadio Pressured to Cancel Broadcast of Country Festival

By Beth Kormanik April 2, 2014, 8:07 AM EDT

1. THE BEST BRAND GAGS FROM APRIL FOOLS’ DAY: April Fools’ Day has turned into a competition among brands eager to prove they have a sense of humor—and perhaps a viral hit. Adweek rounds up this year’s quirkiest gags, from a helium-carbonated beer from Sam Adams to Google’s “Auto Awesome Photobombs” app that let people insert David Hasselhoff into their photos. Embarrassingly, Samsung, HTC, and Toshiba came up with the same prank, wearable tech gloves.

2. DISNEY’S ELECTRONIC WRISTBAND EXPERIMENT: Disney World has spent a year—and $1 billion—on its MagicBand wristbands, which serve as park ticket, room key, and means of buying food and drink. The New York Times: “If Disney gets it right, the smartband technology could ripple through the leisure industry to other parks or even zoos, museums and Las Vegas resorts. … Because guests no longer have to present paper tickets at turnstiles, the system has reduced the park entry time by 25 percent. The technology allowed Disney to accommodate 3,000 additional daily guests at its Magic Kingdom park over Christmas.”

3. IHEARTRADIO PRESSURED TO CANCEL BROADCAST OF COUNTRY FESTIVAL: Internal politics pressured executives to cancel the broadcast of the inaugural iHeartRadio Country Festival, which took place in Austin, Texas, last weekend. The New York Post: “The Internet radio platform, run by Bob Pittman, had planned a TV broadcast of the festival on April 5, but under pressure changed instead to a live stream of the event with Viacom’s CMT after the planned broadcast date caused a major backlash with artist management. That air date would have clashed with CBS’s own Academy of Country Music Awards, coming up April 6.”


BOSTON:  The Painted Burro will host its second annual “Guac Off” on April 13. A panel of local foodies—including bloggers, writers, and last year’s winner—will judge guacamole recipes from locals.

United Way Emerging Leaders will host its seventh annual spring gala, “Live United,” on April 25 at Cyclorama. The event will offer appetizers, dancing, and drinks from Narragansett Beer.

CHICAGO:  The Arts Alliance Illinois benefit luncheon is June 2 at the Palmer House Hilton. Some 500 guests are expected.

LAS VEGAS:  Gaming Today: “March Madness in Las Vegas is really nothing like anything you’ve experienced—even bigger than the Super Bowl if that’s possible. While the NFL championship game is the largest betting event in sports, it is a single day. The madness that is the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is over two weeks. ... Casinos are making millions. Their rooms are filled (some we hear at five times the normal rate), their sports books are packed, and the energy is back at the blackjack and craps tables.”

As the Cromwell hotel nears completion on the Strip, reservations are now available for guest checking in beginning May 21.

LONDON:  Markella Votsi has been appointed director of sales and marketing for ME London, the ME by Meliá brand’s flagship property.

LOS ANGELES:  While the crowd heads to the desert for Coachella, Maison Kitsuné will take over the Hollywood Roosevelt for a pop-up in Los Angeles timed around the festival, April 14-21.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles has announced the lineup of honorees for the organization’s third annual Voice Awards, slated for May 3.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Slow Food Miami will host its third annual Snail of Approval Tasting Party April 25 at the Raleigh Hotel. The event will feature bites from 18 local farm-to-table restaurants.

NEW YORK:  Tavern on the Green reopens April 24 for a dinner and plans to have its grand opening May 13.

The Edible Bazaar Benefit is April 29 at Suite 36. The event is presented by New York African Restaurant Week in conjunction with Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan.

Rosie O’Donnell will receive the 2014 Isabelle Stevenson Award at the 2014 Tony Awards on June 8 for her commitment to arts education for New York City’s public schoolchildren.

The 59th annual Obie Awards are May 19 at Webster Hall. Tamara Tunie and Hamish Linklater will host the event.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

ORLANDO:  Yard House will open on International Drive April 24. The restaurant will be open for lunch, dinner, and late-night dining and will have seating for 300 people inside and 80 on a patio. In addition to a menu of casual fare such as burgers, tacos, seafood, and steaks, the restaurant will offer 140 beers on tap.

SAN FRANCISCO:  Facebook will host its second annual shareholders meeting at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay on May 22.

TORONTO:  Luckee, a new restaurant from chef Susur Lee, will open at the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel this spring. The venue will offer a private dining room with 18 seats, and it will serve dim sum.

The Art Gallery of Ontario will host its 10th annual Massive Party on April 10. The theme is “the Perfect 10,” and the night will include pop-up art installations and musical guests such as DJs Filthy Gorgeous and Soundbwoy.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Barracks Row Entertainment has filed for bankruptcy but says that its nine Capitol Hill restaurants—the Hawk N’ Dove, the Chesapeake Room, Boxcar Tavern, Molly Malone’s, Park Tavern, Lola’s Barracks Bar & Grill, and Senart’s Oyster and Chop House—will continue to operate as usual. Washington Post:

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

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