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Jun 10, 2009 10:58 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Dune nightclub gets Axed

Jun 10, 2009 10:58 AM

Dune has gotten the Axe, and the club has never smelled better.

The Southampton nightclub on North Sea Road known as Dune since 2007 is under the same ownership this summer, but has a new name: Axe Lounge. Axe Body Spray marketers and celebrity-based marketing and strategy firm Talent Resources have partnered to sponsor the club for summer 2009 and get the product in front of Hamptons revelers and celebrities behind it.

“This was the first time a company has taken the risk and reaped the benefits of such an out-of-the-box marketing program,” Michael Heller, the founder and chief executive officer of Talent Resources, said Monday.

Axe Lounge opened on Memorial Day weekend and was packed to the hilt, and Mr. Heller does not expect the weekend crowds to subside for the rest of the season.

The first weekend, Talent Resources brought in Hollywood electro-hop band LMFAO as Axe Lounge’s special guest. Then, actor Nick Cannon guest deejayed the following weekend. Talent Resources is also in talks with DJ Cassidy, the Reverend Run, DJ Steve Aoki, DJ Jesse Marco and DJ Ruckus to “guest spin” as well.

Many celebrities and athletes don’t need to be booked and show up on their own to check out the club. To name a few, artist Andrew Levitas, New York Knick Al Harrington and New York Ranger Sean Avery have all come to Axe Lounge so far this season, and representatives of Lindsay Lohan, Nicky Hilton, Paris Hilton and Michelle Trachtenberg have all inquired about reserving tables for the actresses this summer, Mr. Heller said.

There was some fear that the name of the club might be too cheesy for clubgoers, the CEO admitted. “Are people gonna want to go to a deodorant club?” he joked. But the fears were not realized. “Even in this economy and in this recession, it’s been a tremendous success.”

Although it’s Axe’s logo on the nightclub, it doesn’t mean Unilever, Axe’s parent company, is running the club, Mr. Heller noted.

“It’s kind of like Citifield,” he said. “Citibank is not running Citifield. They’re buying the right to the name.”

And though Axe is paying to have its name in and on the club, it’s not pervasive, according to Mr. Heller. “It’s not like you walk in and everywhere you look it’s Axe,” he said. “We wanted to be subtle, and we didn’t want to be in everyone’s face.”

The Axe name is on the deejay booth, and Axe body sprays are available in the men’s room.

There is also a signature drink, the Axe summer eclipse, Brazilian spirit cabana cachaca mixed with pineapple and strawberry purée. And the Axe package: a bottle each of tequila, vodka and champagne and a digital camera for $1,000.

The predecessor of Axe Lounge was a “popup nightclub” at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah back in January. For three nights, a French restaurant was transformed into Axe Fix.

“It went extremely well with some of the top talent of Sundance attending,” Mr. Heller said, later adding, “On top of that, the press was tremendous. It was the only place that MTV covered while at Sundance at night.”

A nightclub was a natural venue for Axe, Mr. Heller said. “The brand is all about connecting guys and girls where they work, live and play, and the nightclub is, like, the perfect place where they play.”

Mr. Heller decided after the success at Sundance to take the concept a step further and sponsor a nightclub for an entire summer. When it came down to choosing where, the answer was obvious. “We couldn’t think of a better place but the Hamptons,” he said.

The next challenge was finding the right nightclub, but Mr. Heller said it was another obvious choice. “Dune is the premiere nightclub, and it’s been around for years, and it’s consistent, and it’s run by the top company called Paige Management,” he said.

Paige Management, which also runs Honey restaurant and lounge and The Hill sports lounge in Manhattan, is led by Matt Shendell and includes nightlife mavens Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg.

Mr. Heller said he had promoted Dune 15 years ago, when the space was known as Triple HHH. Paige Management bought the space in 2006, when it was known as Jet East, and reopened for summer 2007 with the name Dune. Mr. Heller said this summer, under the Axe marquee, has been the club’s most successful season since then and it has been “beyond crowded” each weekend.

Mr. Heller said Axe’s agreement with Paige Management lasts only as long as this summer, but he indicated that if the rest of the summer is as successful as the start of the season has been, Axe will look to continue sponsoring the club for years to come.

Axe Lounge is open on Friday and Saturday nights from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. through Labor Day, and an additional night on holiday weekends. Reservations are suggested. Call (631) 283-0808. Cover charges range from $20 to $30 and the average drink price is $14.

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that is too bad. when are the city peoiple going to go away and leave us alone?
By local (106), north sea on Jun 9, 09 5:42 PM
what a dump, good riddance.
By slamminsammy (104), Hampton Bays on Jun 10, 09 12:38 PM
slamminsammy ... who are you saying good riddance to ? Did you read the article ?
By AndersEn (174), Southampton on Jun 10, 09 7:59 PM
Live next door - although less noise than previous years - maybe a better clientel - I am buying axe spray as long as I can open my windows at night
By sfpro (22), Southampton on Jun 14, 09 6:42 PM