“Visit Las Vegas.”
It’s not quite as compelling as “What Happens Here, Stays Here,” with the illicit sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll all that implies, that reigned as one of the most iconic ad campaigns of all time for 15 years.
Nearly two months removed from the October 1 shooting that left 58 country music concertgoers dead, it’s clear that the gambling capital of America hasn’t quite figured out how to repackage itself.
Titled “We Love Our Fans,” the latest television spot from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) tries to market the resilience of the Las Vegas’ spirit. But it seems to be leaving many underwhelmed.
Airing in Nevada and in key markets across the country, the advertisement is a montage of social media posts: Tweets, Facebook messages, and Instagram photos try to convey unity and strength for the Las Vegas community.
The spot opens with a post declaring, “NO ONE and NOTHING will stop me from going to Vegas.” Another reads, “LV is like a vacation home to me. It is woven into the fabric of my life.” The ad concludes, “We will be there in five days.”
While the escalating (and almost morbid) piano background music perhaps adds a bit of emotion to the spot for some, others believe the commercial fails to resonate.
The production quality is also being criticized, as it doesn’t seem to be much more than what Facebook automatically generates for users’ “Friendversary” and “year in review” videos.
Along with Las Vegas canning its iconic “What Happens Here…” slogan after 15 years, MGM Resorts put aside its recently debuted “Welcome to the Show” marketing campaign that focused on its own non-gaming attractions. The parent company to Mandalay Bay, where gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire, had concluded its new commercial: “We are not in the hotel business. We are in the holy sh*t business.”
It hit social media just a few weeks before the tragedy, and took on a much more ominous, and obviously unintended, meaning afterwards.
Who Came Up with New Spots?
The official marketing organization of Las Vegas, the LVCVA sprung into action just hours after the October 1 shooting began. All paid media, including “What Happens Here, Stays Here” spots, ended at 10:30 pm that night. The agency went into crisis communications mode just 45 minutes later.
The LVCVA quickly brought in R&R Partners, the ad firm responsible for creating the iconic “What Happens Here” slogan.
Most public relations experts believe the marketing agency got it right when it released the #VegasStrong hashtag with two lines of copy that read, “We’ve been there for you during the good times. Thank you for being there for us now.”
While R&R posted the hashtag and copy lines on its website and Facebook page, it hasn’t shared the recent commercials being funded by the LVCVA, meaning the ad agency likely isn’t responsible for the spots. A search turned up no information on who is, either, which is unusual for a major new industry campaign.
Even LVCVA’s main marketing webpage, VisitLasVegas.com, is leaving many underwhelmed. It seems the gaming mecca has gone from “Most Creative” to “Most Prosaic” in its latest copy choices. In fact, it’s so boilerplate for any tourist town anywhere across America, it almost makes you wonder if a human, as opposed to an algorithm, even wrote it.
The site’s landing page reads, “Las Vegas has so many entertainment, dining, shopping, nightlife, golf, and spa options, it can be tough to choose … That’s where we come in.” Zzzzzzzz.
For a major resort and gambling destination, most potential visitors, especially after the somewhat spicy and specific “What Happens Here…” campaign, expect more. Maybe a lot more. Ok, a whole lot more.
Here’s hoping that Sin City’s marketing thrust can get back to business before it bores everyone out of a trip.