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Marketing with a Dash of Controversy

Heart Attack Grill — the name just makes you want to run, but which direction? It’s intriguing, to say the least.

So is the whole atmosphere of Jon Basso’s grease-filled restaurant in Tempe, Arizona, which opened just over a year ago. It’s that atmosphere and the controversy surrounding it, that has put Basso’s business on the map. Advertising isn’t even necessary for him these days.

The attention he’s getting revolves around items on the menu such as the Quadruple Bypass Burger and Flatliner Fries, some topping out at 8,000 calories each! Other items available for purchase include full-sugar sodas from Mexico (no Diet Cokes here) and even filterless cigarettes.

And, get this, the guys used to own fitness training studios! But, after hearing weight-loss motivated clients confess over and over about their diet cheats, Basso decided that everyone needed a place to dive into the grease once in awhile and indulge themselves.

The boldness doesn’t stop there. He has already faced opposition from the Arizona Board of Nursing and the Center for Nursing Advocacy because of his waitresses being scantily clad in sexy nurse uniforms. The associations claim it “degrades” the profession, but Basso claims that it helps to “glorify the job for the younger workforce.”

And Basso is eating it all up (pun intended). Afterall, he’s already obtained national recognition for his grill. And, despite the negative tone many reports may take, business is booming! Can you say viral marketing?

It don’t know that the Heart Attack Grill is on my list of places to go before I die (or maybe to die, in this case), but I commend Basso for his enthusiasm, creativity and daringness to be different.

Fries anyone?

• Cashing In On Controversy

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By Michelle Cramer
Friday, February 8th, 2019 @ 12:03 AM CDT

Marketing |