A week ago imagine my surprise when, while walking around my neighborhood of New York’s East Village, I encountered the above sign on the corner of Avenue A and 5th Street. This new “bar” claimed to be a special place for pregnant women where they could drink in peace, without the judging eyes of family members, coworkers or friends. This couldn’t be real, my wife and I thought. Surely the owners of this new neighborhood bar would be making non-alcoholic versions of popular cocktails and drinks. But alas, there on the sign right in front of our faces was a pregnant woman spraying Champagne all over herself.
Since beginning its media blitz a few weeks ago, Gestations, as the bar is known, is causing quite a media stir, both in New York and beyond (see here, here and here for stories of outrage). How anyone can be so stupid as to open a bar for pregnant women is a question lots of people are asking, and these people want to know who the owners are ASAP, so they can look them right in the eyes and say, “what in the hell is wrong with you?!” This outrage has extended to the bar’s landlord and the SLA who approved the liquor license as well. Is the neighborhood so desperate for commerce – trust me, it isn’t – that the landlord was willing to accept this business, and our government leaders willing to blindly approve it? Surely they knew this was going to piss a lot of people off.
And pissing people off is exactly the point of this new “bar” because it seems we’ve all been duped. Gestations isn’t a new bar for pregnant women opening in the East Village; instead, it’s a clever marketing ploy by the new app Bartrendr – which is basically a Yelp for bars – to gain exposure and attention for their product. Check and mate Bartrendr.
You have to hand it to the new company, what they’ve gained in free media attention by all of us writing about their nonexistant bar is something they’d never have been able to afford. That’s classic guerilla marketing. Even if it’s an idea that’s pissing a lot of people off.