Businesses Employ Marketing Tactics Around End of World

Survival is no joke for disaster preparedness companies.

ByABC News
December 20, 2012, 7:52 AM

Dec. 20, 2012 — -- While many people are paying little attention to the Mayan prediction of the end of the world on Friday, businesses have had a bit more fun with the latest Doomsday prediction.

Brasserie Beaumarchais, a French Mediterranean restaurant in New York City, is hosting an "End of the World" dinner party on Friday. On Saturday, it is hosting an "End of World Survival Brunch" for survivors. Both events will have live DJs mixing music.

"We really like any excuse for a party," said Bonnie Rock, the restaurant's director of hospitality.

The restaurant will feature Mayan-themed decor and specialty food items and cocktails, like the Last Puccino with tequila, Kalhúa, Cointreau noir, Agave syrup, topped with whipped cream.

Anyone who wants to come in any Mayan-themed outfit will get a free round of shots.

"So be creative," she said.

Read more: What Mayas Think of the End of the World Prophecies

The restaurant will be celebrating its second anniversary this spring and also has a location in tony East Hampton, N.Y.

"We've had so many different predictions of the end of the world in the past 10 years, we will celebrate every end of the world until we get the right one," she said.

Reservations are highly recommended but guests can enter the bar without one.

Infographic: Mayan Calendar Countdown

Survival companies that provide services and products to prepare for a disaster are also not taking the prediction too seriously.

Vic Rantala, owner of crisis preparedness company, Safecastle, said his customers have not mentioned the Mayan prediction.

"My customers are regulars and are serious about their preparedness," Rantala said.

Most of the products that Safecastle, an e-commerce business based in Prior Lake, Minn., sells are survival food products, like canned meats for long-term storage, which make up the majority of the firm's revenue.

The company also sells shelters, both above-ground and below, which range from $9,000 to over $550,000. The shelters can protect from storms, or nuclear, biological and chemical disasters.

Another company, Atlas Survival Shelters, based in Montebello, Calif., has been selling one shelter a day in December, founder Ron Hubbard told ABC News' David Wright.

Watch: Mayan Apocalypse: Inside Doomsday Bunkers

While the Mayan prediction nor Family Radio's Harold Camping's infamous predictions haven't boosted Rantala's business, other events have.

Rantala first got into the business shortly after the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Though Rantala declined to share sales numbers, he said his biggest sales spike ever was after Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in August 2005.

He said many people became more aware of their need for survival, "when it became obvious that big brother or FEMA were not going to be there to bail out people in a pinch."

He also saw business activity increase after super storm Sandy.

Rantala said his customers are spread all over the country, and recently in Canada, and tend to have higher incomes.

Joshua Witter, a computer programmer in Orlando, Fla., who created Post-Rapture Post, an online business that will send letters to those left behind after an apocalypse, said he has also seen little business related to the Mayan prediction.

Witter, a self-described atheist who has a full-time job, said he has done little to update the site since 2004. The price range of the letters still range from $4.99 and up.

Since he created the site in 2004, he said he has sold more merchandise, like mugs and t-shirts, than actual letters. He said he usually sells two or three letters every six months. This year, he said his sales have been under $500.

His best year was 2007, when he made over $1,000 in one month, 90 percent of which came from merchandise revenue.