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Illegal Strip Club Ad Projected on Starbucks by Rogue Ad Firm, Agency Says

By Nigel Chiwaya | February 25, 2014 1:15pm
  The ad for Sin City Cabaret is inappropriate for family-friendly Inwood, residents said.
Sin City Cabaret Projection
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INWOOD — A Bronx strip club was in hot water after an ad for its venue was projected onto the wall of a Broadway Starbucks — but it turns out the promotion was the work of a rogue marketing firm trying to woo the jiggle joint back as a client.

Uptown residents have been steaming over a wall-sized ad for Sin City Cabaret that's been repeatedly projected onto the wall of the Starbucks at 4765 Broadway at Dyckman Street without permission from the coffee chain.

But the projection, which boasts of the club's "over 50 hot girls," was beamed onto the brick wall by Scenester Marketing — without the knowledge of Sin City — in an ill-conceived bid to convince the strip club to re-hire them, account executive JuanElias Lopera admitted to DNAinfo.com New York.

"[Sin City] didn't know," Lopera said Monday, adding that he was sorry to have upset the community. "We took care to do it late at night, but obviously we offended people, and that wasn't our intent."

Locals said the ad — which has been spotted projected onto the side of the Starbucks several times since October — has no place in a residential community.

"It’s not really appropriate for the neighborhood," said Alicia Batista, 48, who said she has seen the ad three times in the past year. "We don’t want to be the red-light district of Inwood."

Residents have vented about the ad on the Inwood Community Group Facebook page, page moderator Arlene Schulman said.

"The general response has been outrage for both the content and the audacity of the company to use that wall for advertising a for a strip club," said Schulman, who reached out to the strip club, Starbucks and the building's owner, SW Management, to get the projection pulled.

Sin City reiterated that they never approved the ad.

"[Scenster] projected without our consent," a company representative said by email. "Sin City will investigate the matter, and we will ensure that if this upsets the community, it will be ceased and desist[ed], especially with out our consent."

Starbucks didn't know about the ad until they were alerted by the community, a manager at the recently opened chain location confirmed.

A Department of Buildings official said projected signs do not need permits. However, they must comply with city zoning regulations, and the Starbucks was not zoned for such a projection, she said.

But because no one complained to the DOB about the ad no investigation was conducted, she said and encouraged New Yorkers to call 311 to report illegal advertising, which carries a minimum fine of $10,000.

Lopera promised that they would not strip club ad again.

"I can appreciate how they are upset, and it's not going to happen again," Lopera said.