This past Sunday's Times Style section has an article on UES see-and-be-seen restaurant Nello and a $1,000 payout Nello owner Nello Balan made to Richard Johnson, earmarked as debit points for future in-print Page Six name drops. Putting one of the city top PR firms on retainer to get ink will set you back roughly $10K a month. So why not cut out the middle man?
To date Mr. Balan and his various establishments — besides Nello, he operates Nello Hotel Summertimes, in the Hamptons, and he used to run a SoHo restaurant — have received around 200 mentions in The Post since 1997.Comments from Karine Bakhoum, the suggestion that payola is perhaps the best PR strategy of all and more is at the source.
To those in the business of luring boldface names to New York eateries — both publicists and restaurateurs— the cash gift, if it did sway coverage, represented a screaming bargain.
“Page Six, you can’t really determine the value of that,” said Julian Niccolini, a partner in the Four Seasons restaurant.
· On Page Six, Nello's Usual Table [NYT]