Marketing experts offer mixed views of new MGM ad campaign

Don’t call MGM Resorts International a gaming company.

The Strip’s biggest casino operator this past weekend launched a multimillion-dollar corporate branding campaign that makes almost no mention of its largest business segment.

A key piece of the campaign, a 60-second TV ad that is being aired nationally, highlights the company’s wide offering of shows, restaurants, bars and sporting events.

Yet, there is not one word or image about gaming in the ad. Not one slot nor one table. Not even a card or die.

MGM doesn’t even consider its 2 million square feet of gaming space — enough to fill 35 football fields — the one element that unites its more than two dozen global properties.

Rather the array of entertainment experiences “form the nexus across the company’s 27 distinctive resort destinations,” MGM said in a statement on Monday to announce the new campaign.

From Ancient Rome to Vegas

The new video clip starts with a series of photos of ancient Rome, such as a coliseum, followed by the modern-day MGM equivalent, like the T-Mobile arena.

Humans have sought entertainment since they could light a camp fire and MGM is fulfilling that need today with its lineup of shows and experiences, say ad creators McCann New York.

The TV commercial then flashes some of those MGM experiences, such as acrobats swinging in the air, dancers performing on stage, sparks jumping out of champagne bottles and confetti falling onto a crowded nightclub dance floor.

“Entertainment is so basic to who we are as human beings and always has been. It’s why we create art and make music and tell stories and play games,” said David Moore, senior vice president and director of brand content at McCann New York, which created the ads.

“The ancient imagery is there to illustrate that insight, and also to draw a straight line from history to what MGM is doing now: entertaining the human race in the most artful and epic way imaginable,” he also said.

The ad will run on national TV as well as cable through the end of the year. A 160-second video will be aired on social media such as YouTube. That video dedicates about 2 seconds to gaming.

Dissatisfied millennials

MGM may have cut the gaming images to appeal to younger generations that have been skipping the casino floors for the shows and nightclubs or avoiding Las Vegas altogether.

Millennials are generally dissatisfied with the traditional casino gaming experience and it’s not their primary interest when coming to Las Vegas, Joyen Vakil, senior vice president of design and development at MGM, told a travel industry conference earlier this month.

Gaming is still the goose that lays the golden egg for MGM, accounting for about 55 percent of the company’s global revenue.

However, gaming generates only about 40 percent of MGM’s revenue in Las Vegas, the company’s biggest market, and has been declining in percentage terms for years.

MGM this month filled 2,000 square feet of former casino floor space with a group virtual reality game.

“We have known for a while that more and more of the revenue is coming from the hospitality side, so it shouldn’t be shocking” that gaming is not part of the advertisement, said David Katz, a gaming analyst at Telsey Advisory Group.

MGM is not in danger of losing its loyal, baby boomer gambling base by appealing to a younger audience seeking entertainment, said David Reibstein, a professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Getting Twitter feedback

In addition, the campaign will feature advertisements on traditional and digital billboards in cities where MGM has properties, such as Las Vegas, Washington D.C. and New Orleans.

They will also appear in key feeder cities like Los Angeles and New York. A 15-second animated ad will appear on a digital billboard at Times Square, the most popular tourist destination in New York City.

MGM plans to promote the campaign on social media, including extensive use of SnapChat, the photo sharing app popular with Millennials. More than 70 percent of Snapchat users are under the age of 34.

The campaign is filled with slogans that MGM likely hopes will become memorable catchphrases like ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ or Wendy’s ‘Where’s the beef?’

Among them are “We are not in the hotel business, We are in the holy sh*t business’’ and ‘The world’s leading producer of OMG.’’ The company also uses OMGM, a play on the abbreviation of ‘Oh my God’ and MGM.

The last casino to use a provocative slogan to draw attention was The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which used “Just the right amount of wrong.”

While the slogans have received significant attention so far on Twitter, garnering about 150 retweets each in 24 hours – or about 10 times the MGM average — professors of marketing say the use of profanity in ads is risky and can easily backfire.

“Use of profanity, explicit or implied, only gets attention for a moment and is not a sustained brand communication strategy. It’s also a mistake for the parent brand MGM which is more than just a holy shit business,” said Aimee Drolet Rossi, a marketing professor at the University of California at Los Angeles specializing in branding.

“In any case, profanity no longer shocks most consumers.”

It’s Las Vegas, baby

MGM, though, may be able to get away with it “because it is Las Vegas,” said Wharton’s Reibstein.

Robert Rippee, who leads the Hospitality Lab at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, said the young target audience must perceive the advertisement and slogans as genuine if it is too succeed.

Pepsi Co. was forced earlier this year to pull its new multi-million ad showing a young girl at a rally handing a police officer a soda can after it was deemed insensitive, triggering an uproar on social media.

“If you are not really being authentic, it has the risk of backfiring,” Rippee said about the slogans.

MGM must be prepared for a multi-year campaign if it wants succeed in branding itself as an entertainment company, said UCLA’s Drolet Rossi and Warton’s Reibstein.

It took Hyundai and Kia many years to alter its image and gain the respectability usually given to Japanese car makers, Drolet Rossi said.

“You need to be consistent with your campaign over a long period of time,” said Reibstein.

Contact Todd Prince at tprince@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0386. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like