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Strip skyline dresses up with Super Bowl ads, projection mapping — PHOTOS

Updated February 7, 2024 - 8:13 pm

If the Super Bowl is the advertising event of the year, the Strip’s iconic skyline makes a memorable billboard.

Advertisers are descending on Las Vegas to promote their sodas and services, shoes and shows, and a whole lot more. The large corporate campaigns, coupled with design upgrades to mark celebration during Super Bowl week, create a new view of the Strip to the hundreds of millions of broadcast viewers expected to tune into Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.

Marketing observers expect to see a big focus on the Sphere’s exoscreen, where brands like Bud Light, FedEx, Verizon, Paramount Global and Nike have purchased ads. Sphere-related ad buys began Monday and were sold for up to $2 million, advertising industry publication Campaign U.S. reported.

Marla Royne Stafford, a marketing professor at UNLV, said the Strip is an ideal place for advertising during the Super Bowl because many have large scale visibility for a campaign without paying the price of a 30-second Super Bowl ad, averaging $7 million this year.

“With the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, you’re going to have all kinds of shots down the Strip,” Stafford said. “So (these advertisers) are not paying the $7 million and they’re going to get similar exposure. It’s a creative way to get there.”

One downside for advertisers using the skyline approach, however, is they’re less likely to be a part of the pre- and post-broadcast public discussion of the best ads that commercials will have.

The NFL is getting its decor on buildings, too. As part of its citywide decor takeover, the NFL is running the “Super Bowl Projection Show,” which includes NFL graphics and player information, mapped on the side of the Augustus Tower at Caesars Palace. Caesars Entertainment said they are not running any paid advertising on its buildings this week.

The NFL’s 65,000-square-foot projection with 1.7M lumens (a light unit measuring brightness) comes from 42 laser projectors. The three-and-a-half minute projection show is running nightly this week and can be seen in wideshots from CBS’ broadcasting stage at the Bellagio fountains.

The Strat was also testing a projection mapping program last weekend. The resort declined to specify the advertiser’s plan because of a confidentiality agreement.

“Video mapping takes quite a bit of expertise, a lot of patience and a lot of technology,” Glenn NP Nowak, a hospitality design professor at UNLV’s School of Architecture, said. “Somebody has to go and translate that building facade into a 3D model and really understand how to place the various projectors in order to get the effects that you want. It’s a lot easier to do on a super flat facade, but when you take into account all of the building undulations, it’s harder to pull off the effect.”

Meanwhile, corporate activations and building wrap campaigns have been in the works for weeks. Luxor has been a Doritos chip for about a month, and the Delano hotel is sporting a Pepsi wrap. Nowak said the more creatively a campaign can incorporate a building’s shape, the more lasting it can be.

“The marketers are understanding there’s a way to get people to see the built-in environment a little differently if you do it in a really creative way,” Nowak said. “Sure, it’s the shape of a chip but it’ll be memorable for a little longer than your standard billboard.”

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

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