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Twitter and Facebook helping to revitalize some Sunset Strip clubs

March 18, 2010 |  7:14 pm

In a forward-thinking tech-based panel that could have easily taken place earlier this week during SXSW Interactive, three wired leaders of legendary Sunset Strip entertainment venues discussed today how social media is helping them bring back audience and work together.

In what has been deemed "co-opetition," the Viper Room (@theviperroom), the Roxy(@theroxy), and the Comedy Store (@thecomedystore) have been working together in creative and digital ways to bring more attention to the clubs during these trying times.  It all started when Roxy owner Nic Adler saw the Viper Room enter the world of Twitter.  He virtually and publicly welcomed his competitor to the space by announcing their virtual presence to the thousands of "followers" interacting with the Roxy via Twitter. That simple gesture of goodwill opened the floodgates of camaraderie that has helped the Roxy increase its business by 30% over last year, Adler said, and has helped the Viper Room see its regulars return.

Nathan Levinson, marketing director of the Viper Room, said that because of the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and now Foursquare, he has been able to cut advertising spending in half. Adler says that the interaction between his customers, and would-be customers, via social media has made his club better and has restored the image of the Roxy to many.

Another element is the age of the panelists. Adler (@nicadler) says it's because he, Levinson (@n8thesk8), and the Comedy Store's Alf LaMont (@alflamont) are from a younger generation that they are more willing to put aside traditional approaches to competition and marketing.  Not only have the men worked together to launch the Sunset Strip Music Festival, which some have compared to a taste of SXSW, but they have helped each other master Twitter, which they agree works best in their busy lives.

"Twitter is the fastest, most forward-moving form of social networking", Levinson said in the "Social Media Case Study of L.A.'s Sunset Strip" panel. "It is my favorite."

When asked which he prefers, Adler compared Twitter and Facebook thusly: "One is when you're moving and one is when you're sitting at home."

The newest social media craze, Foursquare, hasn't gone without notice from these men. Simply "checking in" on Foursquare will get you entry to the Comedy Store, LaMont said, while checking into the Roxy will get you upgraded to VIP, Adler announced.

"We're just trying to give people a little something extra with social media," Adler explained. "It's promotion without flat-out promoting."

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Alf LaMont, Nathan Levinson, Nic Adler and panel moderator Kyra Reed. Credit: Tony Pierce / Los Angeles Times