The Gazette critic Lesley Chesterman joined CJAD radio host Dan Delmar on the air yesterday to discuss the controversy over the Antonopoulos Group's PR-fueled #HappeningGourmand in Old Montreal. In the heated exchange, Delmar referred to #HappeningGourmand as a masterstroke of marketing.
In his spirited defense of #HappeningGourmand and restaurant PR campaigns like it, Delmar posed a rhetorical question on the air: what if regular diners go to a restaurant at the recommendation of a compensated blogger and hate the food? So what? Logic dictates that they will never frequent the restaurant again. Case closed.
Maybe so. But the hypothesis falls short. The fact is that they were persuaded to go under manipulated pretenses and as a result of artificial, PR-generated spin.
Most people can ill afford to waste money on restaurants. Events like #HappeningGourmand rig the game: they fatten the coffers of restaurants that have the resources to pay publicists, bloggers and media people at the expense of restaurants that do not.
Lastly, the fact that the Antonopoulos Group labels all #HappeningGourmand blogger coverage as ‘Press’ is significant. And very deliberate.
Update: This post has been updated. A previous version of this post included information about an employee at Provocateur who had nothing to do with the #HappeningGourmand campaign.
Dan Delmar writes a rebuttal arguing that the above concerns are nonsense.
Update 2: Editor's note: The original version of this post implied that Dan Delmar misrepresented himself in this debate on his radio show by not revealing his connections to the world of PR. While he does work in PR, it should not preclude him from weighing in on the topic at hand. The headline has been adapted to reflect this change.