The novel coronavirus has the masses on edge and quarantined, but Ryan Carlson of Little Darlings recognized that sometimes “viral” isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
When the COVID-19 shutdowns of adult nightclubs—along with most other businesses across the nation—began to happen in early-March, coronavirus stories topped the news. The giveaway of 50,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and the accompanying promise of guaranteed coronavirus-free lap dances and drive-through adult entertainment landed the escapades of Little Darlings (LD) in Las Vegas on more TV screens and radio speakers and in newspapers and magazines worldwide than any other adult business.
The promotions were the brainchild of Ryan Carlson, Déjà Vu’s director of operations. Carlson talks with ED Magazine Legal Correspondent Larry Kaplan about his swift response to this viral threat to Little Darlings, with promotions that quickly went viral in a very different way.
ED: What was your initial thought process when Nevada’s governor recommended shuttering all non-essential businesses due to the threat of COVID-19?
CARLSON: There’s a difference between a recommendation and a mandatory closure requirement. We comply with all laws, so we decided to continue to operate until closure was required on March 21. We asked ourselves, “How do we continue to operate safely? And how can we monetize the situation or capitalize on publicity opportunities?”
ED: What did you plan to do differently as a result of the restrictions? Besides the drive-through dances, was the club still open for business? If so, were there any changes made for the inside customers and entertainers?
CARLSON: We advertised (watered-down) hand sanitizer nude wrestling, along with drive-thru XXX shows. Before that, the club operated as normal and continued to see its usual high volume of guest patronage.
ED: Did a part of you think adult nightclubs should be considered essential businesses and allowed to stay open in some form to get people’s minds off of the crisis?
CARLSON: Yes, of course, adult nightclubs are essential. Strippers are part of the fabric of American life, which is why our businesses are so successful and wildly popular. Lawful adult entertainment businesses are necessary to provide adequate leisure activities to the population, so people don’t go insane. Moreover, our employees and entertainers still have to make a living. Unfortunately, the governor changed his recommendation to a mandatory closure, and LD, like all other businesses, was forced to close.
“Strippers are part of the fabric of American life, which is why our businesses are so successful and wildly popular. Lawful adult entertainment businesses are necessary to provide adequate leisure activities to the population, so people don’t go insane.” – Ryan Carlson
After the forced closure, Carlson got a second round of publicity for Little Darlings, this time for charitable efforts, by giving away 30,000 cases of Déjà Vu branded bottled water to any local family in need. Thousands of cars lined up outside the club for the three-day giveaway, which created a great deal of positive media buzz.
Carlson got a huge bang worldwide from thinking on his feet and coming up with out-of-the-box promotions. When life gives you a pandemic virus, the lesson seems to be, buy as much hand sanitizer as you can get your hands on and promote, promote, promote.
Larry Kaplan has, for 19 years, been the Legal Correspondent for ED Publications. Mr. Kaplan is a business broker in the sale and purchase of adult nightclubs and adult stores and the Executive Director of the ACE of Michigan adult nightclub state trade association. Contact Larry Kaplan at 313-815-3311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.