Las Vegas refining its ad strategy for a post-recession consumer

By David Kiefaber on Wed Dec 1 2010


Las Vegas's bold new post-recession branding initiative is ... doing the same crap they've always done. They're trying to lure "recession survivors," defined as people 21-54 with money to burn, back to Sin City with $8 million worth of advertising in 2011. The new campaign will highlight discounted travel packages and the value of the Las Vegas experience to a "more prudent" consumer. Which, again, is pretty much what they were doing before the country went broke. Vegas has always offered travel discounts to that demographic because it's essentially Pleasure Island for adults; the only difference now is that the stakes are higher. Visitors are spending less now—about $590 per trip—but there are still 150,000 rooms to fill. If they're going to make this work, they need to shift their image from one where lucky rollers get rich (or laid) to one where people with extra cash can have fun and blow off a little steam. In other words, it's all about subtlety and moderation. How Vegas will navigate such unfamiliar territory is anyone's guess.

Twitter your sins to the MGM Grand. And please make them good

Posted on Thu Nov 12 2009


In the recession, Las Vegas, or at least its hotels, seems to be trying to shed its Disney-fied image. First, we had those Monte Carlo ads, which seemed like an extension of the movie The Hangover. Now, the MGM Grand is running a Twitter-focused campaign asking consumers to confess their sins over the microblogging site to win a one-night stand at the hotel. One free night will be randomly given away each day until Nov. 26. The campaign, from Cramer-Krasselt, has gotten some interesting responses—found at the #mgmsin hashtag—though nothing earth-shattering. @MishelleRios, for instance, admits that she "Knows every word to the song Cool Rider from the movie Grease2." @PFNGirl1 "walked around with my zipper down at the mall." @dmillersba says he "once registered for a conference I didn't need in Phoenix just because it was within driving distance of Vegas." Yawn. What would Frank and Dino think?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman performers decent on stage but suck at office jobs

Posted on Tue Oct 13 2009

Performing in Vegas is a hard job. To prove this point, put some of Sin City's finest to work. The Blue Man Group is in charge of dry cleaning (I guess because they get blue paint on everything). Chippendales dancers and Nathan Burton Showgirls are elevator operators who can really push your buttons. Ventriloquist Terry Fator is manipulating cords in IT, and the Fab Four Live performs on-hold music, live. This is the crux of a new marketing campaign featuring "Vegas Experts Exposed" which launched this week. Thirty Vegas celebrities are seen working at to prove (to any who doubted) that the real employees are much better at their jobs. Seven videos (unscripted, they swear!) are being posted each week in October at, where viewers can vote for their favorites. On Nov. 2, the voting process begins again, as the top four finalists compete to be the champion video. The winner will be crowned Nov. 10. Voters are also entered into a sweepstakes to win, of course, win a trip to Vegas. It is unclear who will be waiting on them—the employees of or Charo and Carrot Top.

—Posted by Sarah Knapp

Las Vegas ads getting their raucous, unwholesome groove back

Posted on Thu Jun 18 2009

Montecarlo copy

Remember when Las Vegas was a family destination, full of wholesome clean fun for Mom, Dad, Jacob and Emily? Me neither. I do recall, though, the marketing in the '90s that attempted to convince the gullible among us that it was a smart idea to take the well-scrubbed clan to that sin-soaked playground in the desert. Glad those disingenuous days are gone. We're in the age of The Hangover, folks, where the No. 1 movie in America for two weeks running is all about going so overboard in Vegas that memory, liver function and grooms-to-be are lost in the scuffle. And some recent advertising for the city and one of its mega-hotels shows that ad agencies have given up the family-friendly ghost once and for all in favor of a message that's a lot closer to reality.
  A couple of print ads for the Monte Carlo don't want to tax your hedonistic brain with real French-lite words, so they phonetically spell out an invitation for you to toss caution and your underpants to the wind. Go ahead, they say, get liquored up and do outrageous things! Worry about YouTube later. (Hat tip to Gawker for pointing these out.) Meanwhile, R&R Partners, no strangers to the real heartbeat of the city, created the iconic "What happens in Vegas" campaign. Their current work for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority encourages lying to your boss so you can enjoy a long weekend of (fill in depraved activity here) in Sin City. At least there's no pretense. Let the hard partying begin.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley



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