Park West- A Samantha Jones Event?

9 Feb

Park West art galleries held an auction at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach last weekend exclusively for its “regional VIP,” or those who have spent a certain amount of money previously with the gallery. The event included a 3 night stay all-expenses paid at the five-star five-diamond hotel as well as two decadent meals a day. Parking and other additional fees were covered, and there was an open bar at every meal for adults. In addition, entertainment was provided, including a mock casino night. Guests also took home several freebies.

It seems like an event that would play out in Sex and the City. Guests were wined and dined by an art gallery for 3 days while paintings hung on every wall around them. Artists made appearances and took pictures and conversed with clients.

Believe it or not, this is the lowest level event that Park West offers. Since my art-collecting mother bought another painting, she spent enough to be bumped up to the next class, “international VIP,’ which will feature a Mediterranean cruise. Just as I attended the last one, my mom will get a plus one.

I am definitely not complaining, but does offering clients extravagant amenities go against business ethics? The clients invited do not have to purchase a painting, but they are drawn from a list of people whom the business believes will spend. And with such a luxurious weekend provided, the people in attendance most definitely feel like they should spend.

Is providing events to make sales and draw in new clients unethical, or just good PR for the company?

There are some catches. A clients status can be effected if they do not spend as much at subsequent auctions (they may be demoted from a 7 night cruise to a 3 night stay at the Four Seasons- oh my!)

Personally, I think the public relations aspect of the auctions is perfectly acceptable, even though they do not align with what was discussed in our public relations class. Yes, they are wining and dining clients, but theytruly did not pressure anyone to buy, and a lot of people didn’t. They just offered an enticing reward to those who did, as many business do.

What do you think? Feel free to comment below.

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5 Responses to “Park West- A Samantha Jones Event?”

  1. Emily Bos February 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    I completely agree that this company’s form of PR is acceptable–in my opinion it’s pretty brilliant. I mean people are going to buy something that they like whether you give them incentives to or not; especially a painting since it’s going to sit in their house for everyone to see. However, incentives just make it easier for them to say yes, and nothing’s wrong with that at all. If I loved a dress and was really thinking about buying it and then the store owner said “Oh yeah and if you buy that dress you can go to a fashion show where you can see other dresses made by the designer (but you don’t have to buy anything),” I’d definitely buy it!

    Thanks for this interesting article,
    Emily

  2. ang4546 February 14, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    Wow! Sounds like a lavish lifestyle! I know that it is non ethical to accept all of those gifts, but I can’t help but think that those bonuses would be fun. Maybe employers should include those items as bonuses or add the cost of the gifts to their taxes so they may be taxed at the end of the year. Either way, I am sure that it is a win win for everyone involved in the event.

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