LA Sriracha Festival: A Feast for the Tastebuds

LA hosted the first Sriracha Fest on Sunday, October 27th. The event was held at LOT 613 in Downtown LA’s Arts District from 3-6pm. Priced at $49 per person advanced (the event was sold out) and $80 per person advanced for VIP tickets.

People stood in line for the event starting around 2:30pm and by the time it was 3pm, the line had started to wrap around the block. Eleven food vendors and numerous drinks vendors were spread across the lot which consisted of both indoor and outdoor space. An hour and a half into the event, vendors started explaining to attendees that they had run out of food (overheard were two vendors saying the organizers had oversold and therefore they under-prepared the amount of ingredients). At this point, friends started dividing up to conquer the lines separately. Around the same time, cocktails also ran out. Luckily, no one was hurt by “hangry” crowds.

Event planning always throws curve balls, especially when it’s the first time for organizers The Sriracha Cookbook and Food GPS so despite the run on food and drinks, the LA Sriracha Fest was a great sampling of amazing chefs and their culinary skills in presenting the star ingredient, Sriracha. Most were absolutely delicious and others, such as the Sriracha Ginger Ale, definitely test drove those taste buds (it was spicy!). The highlight of the event was undoubtedly meeting David Tran, the founder of Huy Fong Foods and creator of Sriracha. Tran, infamous for not spending a single cent on sales or advertising in its 33 years of existence, is also among a rare-breed of CEOs. According to a recent article by Quartz on David Tran, the interview-shy mogul focuses on the product, not the profits. More coverage on the LA Sriracha Festival by Lauren Gold of Pasadena Star News.

Do you like Sriracha? What foods do you put Sriracha on?

The BLOC: 3 Marketing Tips to Create a Buzz in Your Neighborhood

Downtown LA is an up and coming neighborhood for restaurants and bars but there is no real place for shopping. The BLOC, formerly known as  Macy’s Plaza, plans to change all that. Their website boasts the current “forlorn brick walls outside” will convert into a shopping mecca that rivals Le Bon Marche, Avenue Montaigne and Calle Serrano. Lofty goals but I’m keeping my fingers crossed especially after their spectacular show of community this weekend during cicLAvia, a day when Angelenos leave their cars and get on their bikes.


cicLAvia decorations in front of The BLOC, formerly Macy’s Plaza.

The BLOC may have a challenge on their hands in turning the former Macy’s Plaza into a  fashionista’s destination but if their marketing is any indication, I think they just might be successful. Small business owners might do well to follow in their footsteps when making an introduction into a neighborhood. Here are 3 tips:

1) Provide the community with something they need.



Pop-up refreshment stand provided by The BLOC.

The BLOC knew that bike riders would need a place to rest and drink. They hosted a refreshment stand for those who were thirsty and benches for those who wanted to take a rest. These benches stayed even after the event as a way for the community to get together. The makeshift refreshment stand drew in crowds and naturally, people noticed The BLOC signs and likely when the day comes for the mall to reincarnate as a stylish fashion destination, people will already be curious and want to go check it out.

2) Get friendly with a well-known partner


The BLOC partners with cicLAvia. The event draws in people and the BLOC gets some branding exposure.

Partnerships are great for small businesses because they can help drive prospects to your business. The BLOC is a newcomer to this town but not cicLAvia. By becoming a partner (unofficial or not), The BLOC helps market itself to local and nearby residents alike, therefore, drawing crowds and getting publicity. It’s also important to remember to find partners that fit; cicLAvia is an event that draws younger crowds which will inevitably be the type of customers who will visit The BLOC.

3) Give them something to talk about


The DJ booth provided by The BLOC during cicLAvia pumped up the crowd.

Those who rode their bikes down Flower Street may not remember passing The BLOC but they would definitely remember the DJ in the mirrored booth pumping out festive music the entire duration of the cicLAvia event. The DJ booth attracted a lot of attention and those with a smartphone or camera immediately took a picture. It energized the riders and its unique setup (elevated mirrored DJ booth!) hooked almost every bike rider to stop and take a look. Sometimes, carefully laid marketing plans still need a little oomph to get people talking and there’s no better type of exposure than viral and word-of-mouth marketing.

Even though The BLOC still has a long way to go before delivering what it has promised in terms of shopping, this is one marketer who is looking forward to its transformation through smart marketing tactics.


Bikers leisurely ride during cicLAvia. For more pictures, visit

What are some successful buzz marketing (tactics or examples) used by businesses you’ve seen in your neighborhood?