First, Hapa Sushi owner Mark Van Grack offered free orange undies to participants in last week's Naked Pumpkin Run, urging them to "Run Responsibly."
Now he's fired up an ad that includes a map of metro Denver with the four Hapa Sushi locations marked in red -- and 59 local medical marijuana dispensaries marked in blue. "We're just kind of saying, 'Look, these dispensaries exist and they're becoming part of our community, so let's welcome them in and have some fun,'" Van Grack told the New York Times for a story published today. "If you're going to smoke pot, you're going to get the munchies, so come to Hapa to eat."
The ad, created by TDA Advertising and Design of Boulder, is just the latest in a long line of Hapa hijinks.
Back in 2007, when Barry Bonds tied Hank Aaron's home-run record, Hapa ran an ad congratulating Aaron, with the fine print below noting that the restaurant had "organic beef and chicken, no added steroids."
But often, food makes no appearance in Hapa's campaigns. "Most restaurants show food, but then you're just one of a hundred," Van Grack told the Times. "We think that our clientele appreciates smart ads that grab their attention. By creating ads that people want to talk about, that are creative and maybe controversial, then at least they are talking about our ads and Hapa is top of mind."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.