THE MARKETING 100: HOUSE OF BLUES: MICHELLE STEINBERG

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Though PR is her shtick at House of Blues, Michelle Steinberg is really the company's top marketing guru. That's because PR is the only marketing discipline House of Blues uses.

"We don't do any advertising," says Ms. Steinberg, the VP-corporate public relations who, at 29, oversees PR for a company that generates enormous media coverage every time it opens a club, releases a record or revs up its Web site (www.hob.com). "Everything we do is publicity-driven."

House of Blues' night clubs in Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans and Myrtle Beach, S.C., compete with chains such as Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood, but HOB positions itself as more than a themed restaurant. It also has its own record label, publishing division, production company and new-media unit.

Ms. Steinberg's job is to keep inventing new ways to remind the world-via extensive media coverage-that House of Blues is an entertainment venue and more.

For the opening of Chicago's House of Blues last November, for example, Ms. Steinberg devised a plan to surprise opening act hosts (and HOB investors) Dan Aykroyd and James Belushi with fellow alumni from Second City, "Saturday Night Live" and various movie co-stars. Chevy Chase, John Landis, Linda Hamilton and others surprised the two on stage, and reporters had a heyday. The results, according to On The Scene Production, a video monitoring service: more than 47.9 million electronic media gross impressions.

HOB made a splash at last summer's Olympic Games in Atlanta, too, when it converted a Baptist church across from Centennial Park into a temporary House of Blues venue. According to Burrelle's Newsclip Analysis Service, HOB's Olympics publicity achieved 1.34 billion total gross impressions in electronic and print media, for an advertising value worth $19.3 million.

A tour and talent division's 40-city "Smokin' Grooves" festival tour of urban hip-hop bands achieved enormous publicity after Ms. Steinberg positioned the Lollapalooza-like event as "bringing House of Blues to you."

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