Men Behaving Badly

What’s the difference between a strip club and a “gentlemen’s club?” A gentlemen’s club can afford to advertise on TV, serves prime cuts of beef and hires celebrities like Tommy Lee to launch an ad campaign.

The Lodge, a Dallas club that combines strippers, sizzling New York strip steaks and a side of Victorian smoking-room ambience, has launched a provocative pair of TV spots that have proved a hard sell for area cable networks, media buyers say. One portrays a business executive showing his appreciation for a sexy blonde’s mastery of tax law by slipping a dollar into her skirt, then getting slapped. The voiceover says, “Some things you can only get away with at The Lodge.” The other shows a wife retrieving a box labeled “Mike’s Balls” from a hidden safe and handing it to her husband so he can enjoy a night out with the guys.

The Lodge hired Lee to host a party Friday for the media. The spots, by Commerce House in Dallas and Phasmatrope in Philadelphia, were to set to begin airing the next night. With an adspend estimated at $500,000 to $1 million, The Lodge decided to spend the big bucks with an eye toward expanding to Phoenix, according to director Jeff Odiorne.

Countering complaints of sexism, the club’s owner, Dawn Rizos, says, “You’d think these TV people would support creative speech and be progressive enough to recognize the power sophisticated women hold over men. But maybe we still have a long way to go.”