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Look up! Las Vegas sees more supersized, splashy outdoor ads

Updated January 27, 2019 - 2:32 pm

Las Vegas may look a lot more like Times Square in the future.

Local advertising experts are predicting more wallscapes and building wraps will hit the valley, especially in areas near conventions and trade shows.

“It’ll be the Manhattanization of the Strip,” said Chad McCullough, president of local marketing company Elite Media Inc. “With change and growth in the convention center and big events always in Las Vegas, we’re trying to make it a viable advertising medium for big, national brands.”

Big impact

In early January, a giant Apple advertisement stretched across the side of the Marriott SpringHill Suites near the Las Vegas Convention Center, just in time for CES.

The ad read, “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone,” a jab at smartphone competitors like Google that have dealt with privacy concerns in recent months. Apple turned to Elite Media Inc. for the 25,000-square-foot ad.

“When it comes to a big show like CES, big brands want to make a giant impact when they’re here,” McCullough said. “Size does that. It says, ‘Hey, we’re the big dogs.’ ”

McCullough estimates that large building wraps cost anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million per week, depending on size and location. Installing the adhesive vinyl can require upward of 20 workers and take seven to 10 days.

But it’s worth the wait, he said.

“Especially for that particular Apple ad,” McCullough said. “It was everywhere.”

Fletcher Whitwell, managing director at Las Vegas-based marketing firm R&R Partners, suspects the company saw a large return on investment for the ad from its extensive media coverage.

“Apple did it as a (public relations) play. They got picked up across the board,” he said. “They got picked up by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, all these paper outlets and TV stations.”

Other large wraps can be spotted across the valley, including a large advertisement featuring the stars of HGTV’s show Property Brothers plastered onto the side of the World Market Center. The ad went up just before the Las Vegas Market convention, dedicated to furniture and home decor. The show attracts around 50,000 attendees and runs Sunday through Thursday.

Growing market

Virginia Martino, founder and CEO of local marketing company Brand, said these type of ads do a great job grabbing people’s attention, especially within a convention space.

“You have to figure out how you’re going to showcase your brand against everyone else attending a convention,” she said. “It’s all about how you utilize the space you have in a short amount of time.”

But Whitwell said wallscapes and building wraps are nothing new to the advertising world.

“It has been around, but in this market, it’s tended to be moreso on resort properties,” he said. “We have seen an increase in out-of-home formats,” which is advertising that reaches consumers outdoors.

A 2018 report from market research company Allied Market Research found the global digital out-of -home advertising market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.6 percent and reach more than $8 billion by 2023.

James Swanson, principal of Las Vegas-based grant format printing company Screaming Images, has been working in the printing business for close to 17 years. He said there haven’t been many changes in the local industry in recent years, and he expects to see an uptick in interest.

“People are constantly looking for new (ad) space,” he said. “You can see them from airplanes. … They’re so visible. There’s so much foot traffic, so many people see them.”

Whitwell said there’s a big opportunity for these type of ads at convention centers.

“Think about convention weeks. If you have CES, 190,000 attendees and 350,000 visitors for those major weeks, it’s a great opportunity for advertisers to get in front of that group,” he said. “You’ve got this giant visual with a greater chance of capturing people’s attention.”

With the success of Apple’s recent ad, Whitwell expects more advertisers to follow suit.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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