Traditionally the Hard Rock chain built its brand through over-the-top grand openings and special events. This successful strategy continued through 2000, "then we lost our way slightly," says Chief Marketing Officer Sean Dee.

"We had an expansive growth plan, which had us opening in areas that weren't appropriate destination locations, nor were they locations where you could generate a lot of press."

"It's difficult to gain traction in a consumer marketplace when your specific initiatives aren't generating significant news in and of themselves," Dee says.

So this year, the company decided to close down some of the smaller locations and return to its core focus of grand openings at high-impact locations. The biggest change -- Hard Rock Cafe NYC at 57th Street moved to Times Square at the former site of the historic Paramount Theater.

Dee decided to dedicate 50% of his annual budget to that one NYC opening, which may sound like overkill. But he hoped if it were done the right away, the campaign would generate buzz and more patronage for Hard Rock Cafes worldwide.

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