PR War on Jane Street; Agency Claims Blogger Collusion


In just four months, the Jane Hotel has become one of the hottest clubs in town, with the help of classic spot-the-celeb PR tactics of Nancy Friedman’s NJF PR. Except, the Jane isn’t a club at all, but a hotel bar operating without a cabaret license. The club is trying to adjust, and now Friedman and her client have shifted to damage control to limit the blog swarm against the new venue and tamp down complaints aggregated on the Nightmare on Jane Street blog.

Friedman told us she’s convinced the same blogs that gave glowing reviews to the revamped hotel and ballroom have removed those posts at the behest of local residents. More on that in a moment.

The thumping music and crowds spilling out on to the street after 2 AM was enough for the affluent neighbors to hire their own firm Source Communications. It was revealed in an Andrea Peyser New York Post column (followed by the City Room) that Ken Frydman of Source was hired to knock down the club’s rep, and knock it down again. Frydman told me on the phone a member of the Jane Street Neighbors coalition knew of Source, and put in a call.

Friedman made her case in the Post, one of the few that let her:

“A lot of these issues have been rectified. Six people keep traffic moving. They control crowds. The hotel has done acoustical work.” She said there’s more to be done. “It’s a process. It’s not going to happen overnight.”

More after the jump:

It looks like hype behind this season’s Bungalow 8 made Source’s job easier, and may quicken the half-life of the spot. Frydman said of taking on the project, and NJF PR, “They did too good a job. It’s a club masquerading as a bar, it backfired.”

In Friedman vs. Frydman, the latter seems to be winning, and knows how to deal with Manhattan media and manage issues campaigns. He was behind the Save the Plaza campaign, and helped keep CBGB’s open for an extra 18 months. Before Source, he served as Rudy Guiliani’s press secretary.

When I circled back with Friedman to flesh out the deeper PR story behind the fight, she told me via email The Jane’s management has been making strides in managing demand, and the owners are “more interested in ameliorating the situation than inflaming the public dialogue.”

Then this:

“What’s interesting is that positive posts about the Jane, from neighbors and others, get taken off the blog posts making the story enormously one-sided.”

I asked Ms. Friedman for clarification, if the blogs in question are removing comments in support of the Ballroom, or not allowing them to be posted.

Then I received the following:

“Positive blog posts about the Jane are getting taken down on some of the sites and blogs who are supported by the neighbors. I thought blogs were about dialogue and not just one-sided.”

Friedman declined to name the blogs in question, though Google tracks would tell the tale if we had the original text of the posts. I’ve been checking a couple who cover the space. Guest of a Guest is not in collusion. Their original review is up, dated July 30.

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[The Jane’s ballroom, via Flickr]