When we came across this social media-inspired cocktail menu the other day, it had us wondering what a marriage between two things we spend a lot of time with would look like. It comes to us from the New York City location of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, where marketers dreamed up Internet-themed cocktails as a way to (ideally) boost their social media presence. They took four popular websites where the hotel has a presence: Twitter, Tumblr, Trip Advisor, and Google, and turned them into $19 drinks, calling the whole menu "The Like Page," an homage to their Facebook presence. Note: a URL is nowhere in sight on the menu: "[We're] easily found by googling Mandarin Oriental, New York for our Twitter and/or Tumblr," explained Mandarin Oriental Communications Coordinator Jaimie Desantis to The Atlantic Wire.
We'll give them some credit: the drinks actually try to capture the essence of each of the sites. Is this what the Internet would taste like if it got you drunk?
The Tumblr cocktail is what Shayan Pandole, the Director of Mandarin's Mobar and Lobby Lounge, where one would find these drinks, calls the "cutting-edge, more stylish cocktail"—like Tumblr!—with its use of maple instead of simple syrup. "I tried to see what we could get freshest, what's trendy in the marketplace right now," she explained. The Sip Advisor (aka, Trip Advisor), with its fruit and tequila ingredients, aims to take drinkers on a journey. The Garden of Google "searched" for something new, incorporating an herbal integration instead of the more standard fruits or vegetables. And, the Sweet Tweet took a signature cocktail from a sister property and shared it (like people share things with far away people?) with New York guests. At least they tried!
Admittedly, it's a total shtick. "Our sales department is trying to promote our social media outlets, Facebook, and the like; it's just something fun that we decided to do," one hotel staff member told us over the phone. Perhaps if people order a drink listed in the Twitter font with "tweet" in the title, they might go tweet? Hmm, we're not sure any regular folk would do that, especially without any information of how to find the hotel on Twitter or Tumblr, or Facebook, or Google, or Trip Advisor, for the matter. (Neither is Pandole, who said she doesn't know about the tweeting habits of buyers.) But as a PR stunt, it's not a totally horrible idea. It was all over Tumblr and the blogs -- even if it made some people vomit a little bit. And we're writing about it.
The point of any of this is, after all, conversation. "What usually ends up happening is someone has one of the drinks, and they'll talk about it with the rest of the table. Then, you'll see the whole table ordering those cocktails instead of another glass of wine," explained Pandole. This bar, like any bar, offers lots of cocktail and drink options. But instead people are falling for ones associated with familiar Internet companies. Weird, right? Google branding should not compute with fun boozy night on the town. But it does.
"The promotion is certainly successful," Pandole told us, without disclosing any financial details. The most popular drink is the SipAdvisor, followed by the Bourbon Tumblr, then Garden of Google, and finally Sweet Tweet. This likely has nothing to do with the various sites' popularity -- drinkers tend to skew away from the sweetest drinks, explains Pandole. Though most other cocktails at the bar range in the above $20 range, we were told, so maybe it's simply that these are cheaper?
Interestingly, while these social media cocktails might not have any effect on social media, they work kind of like social media. "It has that exact effect. People are talking about it, buzzing about it," continues Pandole. Even if the company's not getting more Twitter followers, the drinks have brought in other types of success—or at least the company thinks so, extending the promotion, which started in January of this year, through June.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.