This only works because it runs close to illegality. It's not the edginess (although that helps), it's that others won't play:
The manager at the McDonald’s on Northwest Yeon Avenue glanced at the money in the customer’s hand, a $2 bill that looked as if its edges had been dipped in blood. He grew tense, shook his head and turned away.
“Oh, no,” he says. “We’re not allowed to accept those.”
So where do you go? The bar won't take the bills, the bank won't take the bills - so it's back to the strip club that dipped them in red ink:
But despite these warnings, Casa Diablo keeps doling out the blood-red money. A WW reporter last week was still able to get a stack of the $2 bills from the bar.
Of course, the marketing would still work if the authorities smiled and let the bills circulate. But right now Casa Diablo are getting a double hit - promo from the red bills and a captured audience.
The strip club is simply gaming official sensitivity. More power to its elbow.