Ad's Strip scenes raised eyebrows

A Kia automaker commercial that aired during the Super Bowl and featured scenes from Las Vegas raised some eyebrows.

In mid-December, when the National Football League announced it was modifying its advertising policy for the 2009-2010 postseason, the guidelines stated gaming destinations would be allowed to advertise but could not refer to gaming, include scenes of gaming resorts or shots of the Las Vegas Strip.

The commercial featured a colorful cast of animated characters -- a red Gumby-like figure, a stuffed bear, a sock monkey, and a robot -- riding in a Kia down the Strip. The characters posed in front of the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada" sign and appeared in scenes with Monte Carlo and Bally's signs. There were some generic scenes as well, showing parties and mountain settings.

Since 2003, the NFL has cracked down on all things Las Vegas, from prohibiting Super Bowl commercials with Las Vegas ties to threatening resorts with lawsuits if they use the name Super Bowl to promote game-day parties.

Three years later, the league even put a clause in the contract with NBC that forbids the mention of Las Vegas, which blocked the network from next-night promotion of the hit series "Las Vegas."

Vince Alberta, vice president of public affairs for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said they were unaware that the ad was airing but pleased with the result.

"We ended up getting international exposure without having to make an investment. I think it demonstrates the strength of the Las Vegas brand," Alberta said.

The LVCVA initially developed an ad strategy for 2010 that did not include the Super Bowl. After the NFL announced it was relaxing its ad policy, the LVCVA decided to stick with its original plan, Alberta said.

The NFL policy change came after Pepsi and Fed-Ex dropped their Super Bowl ad campaigns.


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"Toyota is asking anyone who owns a new Prius to return it to the dealership as slowly as they possibly can." -- Jimmy Fallon

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or Find additional sightings and more online at


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