Marketing 50

Hard Rock Cafe

By Published on .

To Sean Dee, marketing jeans or rock 'n' roll is about managing the icon.

From his days with Levi Strauss & Co. to his role now as VP and the first-ever chief marketing officer at the Rank Group's Hard Rock Cafe International in Orlando, Mr. Dee, 39, has worked with cultural icons. The company's hotels, casinos, live concert venues and 120 restaurants boast 99% brand awareness, relying on their fabled rock memorabilia collection, restaurant and casino properties with their 40-foot guitars standing outside, and grassroots and PR efforts.

Mr. Dee started his marketing career in the 1980s with Foote Cone & Belding, San Francisco, helping the agency launch its retail and interactive divisions for Levi's. He left FCB to become Levi's VP and a global marketing director, and eventually VP-marketing/merchandi- sing. In September 2004, his retail experience and "appreciation for music" landed him at Hard Rock.

His brand insights and understanding of licensee needs help casino owner Seminole Gaming Works reach seniors during the day and 20-to-50-somethings at night at its two Hard Rock properties in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla. "He was keen to recognize how the brand needs to function here," says Seminole CEO Jim Allen.

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