On Friday night, EDM demigod, Ralph Lauren mannequin and possible pterodactyl Avicii was hospitalised for severe abdominal pains, nausea and a fever stemming from a blocked gallbladder. According to his publicist, his scheduled shows in Cuba this week were cancelled, and on Friday, his climatic set at the SLS Hotel in Miami - rebranded as The Avicii Hotel for Miami Music Week - was called off. He will not be headlining Ultra Music Festival today, either. "I was with Tim at the hospital," said Avicii's manager, Ash Pournouri, over email. "It was frustrating for him not to have seen [the Avicii Hotel]. And of course, Ultra has been so important to us for so many years, it's a big letdown not being able to play."
The crowd inside the Avicii Hotel's Ushuaia pop-up club
Despite the golden-haired superstar's physical absence, Avicii mania in Miami continues unabated - maybe even intensified by the news. "Oh my god, is he okay? Did he overdose or something?" asked fans between photo ops. The Avicii Hotel encapsulates the slick audaciousness of the superstar DJ's marketing strategy. Here, the Avicii Total Branding Experience is on full display.
Pink-and-white golf buggies rigged with speakers blasting both his 2013 album True and recent remix album True - Avicii by Avicii lined the entrance, hunky EDM bro-types leaping to attention to ask if you needed a ride. The inescapable hook of 'Levels' stabbed the humid, sticky air.
Busty babes in Avicii crop tops and leather booty shorts sashayed around, handing out desserts from a branded ice cream truck. The main reason for many of the Avicii hotel's gimmicks seemed to be, "Why the fuck not."
Inside the lobby, as expected, this was Avicii land. In an attempt to blend his likeness tastefully into the hotel's existing decor, photos of Avicii behind the front desk were shot in black-and-white, just like the vintage photos around it. Sometimes, spotting him felt like the EDM version of Where's Waldo.
But sometimes, he just straight-up lurked above you.
Or behind you, in the elevator. This was not creepy at all.
And on rare, magical moments, his identity just fused with yours. Like in the men's bathroom, where you could become Avicii while taking a piss.
The author was unfortunately too short for a complete Avicii immersion
A standard room at the Avicii Hotel would cost you about $800 - but that price tag includes a bag full of swag with his signature snapback, Avicii-branded Urbanears headphones, flip-flops, T-shirts and a rubber duck. Again, why the fuck not.
But to get your hands on more Avicii swag, you had to take a quick walk over to the commercial arm of the branded Avicii experience - the Avicii pop-up store.
Nestled in the kind of souvenir shop selling "Boobies Rule!" pins and "I Survived Spring Break!" tank tops, the Avicii merchandising spread actually looked elegant in comparison. Or maybe it's just that foxy models look good selling anything - including Avicii condoms.
Here, you could deck yourself out in everything from Avicii shirts ($24) to water bottles ($12) to beanies ($18) and beach towels ($24). Two tanned beach girls perused the crop tops in the corner. Were they planning to wear their Avicii swag today at Ultra—even though Avicii had been replaced by Deadmau5? "Oh he cancelled?!" they replied, eyes flicking towards a van with a giant Martin Garrix video ad outside. "Well, probably not," they replied distractedly. Ah well. There's always next year, when, as rumour has it, the unstoppable Avicii branding campaign will take over an entire street.
Michelle by Michelle is on Twitter - @MichelleLHOOQ