I am a little disappointed that an 80-year-old rain tree in Fort Lauderdale is going to be moved. Yes, the City of Fort Lauderdale commission voted 3-1 to move the tree and then voted 4-0 to approve the Marina Lofts project.
Even though I didn’t get my hopes of seeing the rain tree stay put, I got to witness one of the top notch marketing campaigns. I found it brilliant on many levels.
I had a hunch the outcome of the City Commissioners’ votes were determined long before either the Planning & Zoning Board and the City Commission meetings ever began, and I seriously doubt there was anything anyone could have said during both meetings’ public comments that could have changed it.
Asi Cymbal, the President and owner of Cymbal Development, is a very savvy business man. Asi would never have let it come to a vote if he didn’t already know he had won. Asi’s Marina Loft’s project was too well funded and well organized to leave anything to chance. The public relations the Cymbol Development hired, executed a successful strategy from the onset.
After the Planning & Zoning Board meeting, Asi published a blog post titled; Why Cymbal won and protesters failed before key vote that summed up the core of the plan. Cymbol Development capitalized on the oppositions emotions and lack of organization. It worked spot on.
Cymbal Development’s victory with the Fort Lauderdale Planning & Zoning Board, which I covered earlier this morning, was a textbook example of how to successfully get your point across.
Opponents of his project, however, did a miserable job of arguing their points (Cymbol, 2013).
Cymbol Development then took all their mistakes made at the P & Z Board meeting and corrected them. At the P&Z hearing some of the supporters of Marina Lofts sounded more like star struck giddy school girls. I got the feeling some of the supporters were there to win the affections of the young wealthy man, Asi Cymbol. Was this the Bachelor? It became obvious that Cymbol was not going to let these errors happen again.
Before the City Commission hearing, Cymbol Development’s PR group planned and trained their supporters. They fixed the silly mistakes of attempting to promote Asi Cymbol, the man and instructed their supporters to focus on the Marina Lofts, the project. Flyers with talking points were handed out, food and drinks were provided and of course the team of handlers were in place.
Instruction, Talking Points & Guidance
This piece of paper was marketing genius! I love the instructions on if the supporter in the chamber seat needed to leave the room whether to go to the bathroom or get some nourishment they were to text or call a Cymbol team member so that at filler could save their seat. BRILLIANT! This was always done at boxing events to make the arena appear filled for television.
The pièce de ré·sis·tance came early into the morning hours when Cymbol Development finally announced they would scale down the larger tower by three whole levels. Checkmate! It was over the deal was sealed.
District 2 Commissioner, Dean Trantalis was the only vote against moving the rain tree. After the announcement of the the three floors being eliminated Commissioner Trantalis voted “yea” to the Marina Lofts project.
“I was not entirely pleased with the project as presented, but we incorporated over 15 conditions, including a reduction of over 100 units. It still is not to my liking, but in the spirit of compromise, I accepted the final version.” ~ Commissioner Dean J. Trantalis
It is my belief that this whole publicity campaign was probably more about protecting the Mayor and the city commissioners that voted for it and making sure they wouldn’t look bad in the meeting. It worked! The plan was created and executed masterfully!
Cymbol, A. (2013, May 16). [Web log message]. Retrieved from