59°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Digital age presents new meaning for Las Vegas’ slogan

Updated December 31, 2019 - 6:38 pm

When Las Vegas first unveiled its “What Happens Here, Stays Here” slogan in 2003, it was much easier for tourists to keep their trip under wraps.

Today, it’s a different story. The majority of visitors come with smart phones equipped with social media apps like Twitter and Facebook, which means sharing a photo or video from the Strip or a casino takes only seconds.

Even so, many believe the slogan remains relevant in today’s digital age, even if it means something different for younger generations.

“It still resonates because it’s part of the (Las Vegas) culture,” said Billy Vassiliadis, CEO of R&R Partners, the advertising company that created the slogan with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “In the best case, the slogan is the icon (of Las Vegas). In the worst case, it’s memorable, even if it may not be totally applicable to a younger generation.”

Generational differences

Vassiliadis said the slogan is interpreted differently by each generation. Baby Boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — tend to take the slogan more literally, while Gen Xers — those born between 1965 and 1980 — are more comfortable sharing their Las Vegas experiences online. According to Pew Research, 76 percent of Gen Xers used social media in 2019, while only 59 percent of Baby Boomers can say the same.

Meanwhile, millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996 — enjoy the slogan but don’t view it as a rule to follow, according to Vassiliadis.

“The slogan is not taken as literally by the millennial generation,” he said. “They understand that here, it’s their choice to share.”

No matter the age, David Schwartz, professor and gaming historian for UNLV’s libraries, said the slogan’s efforts to showcase Las Vegas as a fun, accepting destination still hold true.

“It’s not necessarily that people won’t find out what you did, but won’t judge what you did,” he said. “People publicize themselves a lot more now … (but the slogan is) still appropriate.”

Anthony Lucas, a professor of casino management at UNLV, believes the slogan can still make sense in the digital age.

“The two can coexist because … it’s tongue-in-cheek,” he said. “They know people will tell stories, but they’re trying to promote this idea of reckless abandonment.”

‘What happens here’

Vassiliadis said even if technology has shifted people’s perception of the slogan, the first half is still as relevant as ever.

“That’s the more important part of this slogan,” he said. “What happens here is a unique experience. … This is the only place that … allows you to fully be yourself, where there aren’t obligations or expectations.”

It’s been speculated that the city is getting ready to upgrade its mantra to “What Happens Here Only Happens Here.” Social media posts from the likes of Aerosmith and Shania Twain have alluded to the rollout of the new slogan on Jan. 26, but Vassiliadis did not confirm such plans. A LVCVA representative did not return a request for comment.

Lucas said it would be natural for the city to want to evolve its slogan.

“If you hang on too long, it appears dated,” he said. “(The possible change) seems to a be a little more in step with digital age.”

No matter what campaigns Las Vegas runs — be it “What happens here” or contextual campaigns like 2018’s “Only Vegas Moments,” Vassiliadis said the city will continue promoting adult freedom.

“The essence of all of our work is adult freedom,” he said. “The right to choose your experience and experience the freedom you want. … ‘What happens here’ encapsulates that.”

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

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
Boring Company could provide a solution to parking problems - VIDEO
LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill believes a potential solution for parking problems is the Boring Company’s $52.5 million people-mover -- a system that could eventually be expanded citywide connecting resorts and even McCarran International Airport to the Convention Center.
The Blackstone Group has partnered with MGM Resorts to acquire more properties - VIDEO
A few months after the Blackstone Group bought the Bellagio for more than $4 billion, it has partnered with MGM Resorts on a deal to acquire two other Las Vegas Strip properties. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Young Innovator Award winner explains ReDawn - VIDEO
Sofia Ongele explains ReDawn, which uses a Chatbot named Dawn to help users find resources after a sexual assault. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: MedWand ties for title of Last Gadget Standing - VIDEO
Dr. Samir Qamar of Las Vegas presents MedWand, a medical device that allows physicians to examine patients remotely anywhere in the world, at CES 2020. (Elizabeth Page Brumley /Las Vegas Review-Journal) @elipagephoto
CES Flying Taxis
Bell Nexus EX4 and Hyundai SA-1 flying taxi prototypes from CES 2020. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020 attendees rides in autonomous BMWs - VIDEO
BMW is pitching its reconfigured i3 Urban Suite, which holds a single passenger on a lounge-style seat, as the possible future of chauffeured rides at CES 2020. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Small appliances unveiled in Las Vegas - VIDEO
The small appliances on show at Sands Expo at CES 2020 in Las Vegas include a Keurig cocktail maker, autonomous cooking system, nitrogen coffee ampules and more. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: The scooter that will remind you of Wall-E - VIDEO
Segway unveiled the egg-shaped S-Pod Scooter at CES 2020 that’s a seated version of their original scooter that can reach 24mph. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Before the floor opens at Sands Expo on Day One - VIDEO
CES 2020 opened its doors at 10 a.m. Tuesday, welcoming more than 170,000 attendees to the annual electronics show. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: A suitcase that follows you, video games to heal you at Pepcom's Digital Experience - VIDEO
Get a glance at Pepcom’s Digital Experience! a showcase of products that will be at this week’s CES convention. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Impossible Foods Inc. Debuts Impossible Pork - VIDEO
At a pre-CES news conference at Mandalay Bay’s Kumi restaurant Monday night, a company representative announced that the participants were the “first people in the world” to try the new plant-based product, which it provided as samples in the form of Impossible Pork banh mi, char siu buns, dan dan noodles, pork katsu, pork shumai and sweet-sour-and-numbing meatballs.
CES 2020: Impossible Foods debuts Impossible Pork in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Before a packed press conference at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Impossible Foods executives introduced Impossible Pork, its newest product. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: The Future of Transportation - VIDEO
Many automotive companies at CES unveil their plans for the future of transportation including safer driverless cars, safety features and a partnership between Uber and Hyundai. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: What you've missed so far - VIDEO
Catch up on the tech and events presented at CES 2020. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Samsung debuts 8k TV, MicroLED TV - VIDEO
2020 is set to be a major year for 8k screens, according to Samsung executives. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas resorts welcome dogs to stay
Las Vegas properties are welcoming dogs more than ever. MGM Resorts International announced a new dog-friendly program across all of its Las Vegas properties in December. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Musk 'hopeful' for 2020 completion of underground Las Vegas project - VIDEO
Elon Musk tweeted Friday night that The Boring Company’s underground tunnel project in Las Vegas will be “hopefully fully operational” within the next year. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
World Market Center celebrates topping-off ceremony - VIDEO
Las Vegas elected officials including Councilman Cedric Crear attend topping-off ceremony for the Expo at World Market Center in Las Vegas.
MSG Sphere in Las Vegas will be the largest spherical building in the world - VIDEO
The Madison Square Garden Sphere at The Venetian has now been under construction for about one year and is expected to be completed in 2021. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Aria still thriving after 10 years - VIDEO
The Aria opened on the heels of the Great Recession and managed to survive. It is now known for its art, environmental sustainability and poker. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opening ceremony of the first Chick-fil-A restaurant inside a casino
Opening ceremony of the first Chick-fil-A restaurant inside a casino at the Golden Nugget on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Fire damages 7 cars at Las Vegas airport parking garage - VIDEO
Firefighters on Saturday morning extinguished a car blaze that damaged six other vehicles in a parking garage at McCarran International Airport. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Changes Everything: Grandma - LVCVA ad
"Grandma" is a new television spot from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority prepared to entice visitors to come during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. (Visit Las Vegas/YouTube)
Vegas Changes Everything: Chaos - LVCVA ad
"Chaos" is a new television spot from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority prepared to entice visitors to come during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. (Visit Las Vegas/YouTube)
New allegations involved Steve, Elaine Wynn - VIDEO
The new allegations were presented Friday in a motion that included a 2018 affidavit, alleging former hairstylist Jorgen Nielsen tried to convince a friend to say Steve Wynn raped her and that she bore his son. The affidavit also included new allegations suggesting Elaine Wynn and Nielson orchestrated the assault scandal. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fitness chain Life Time acquires former Sullivan Square site
Fitness chain Life Time has acquired the former Sullivan Square site in Las Vegas for $14 million. The southwest valley property, across the street from Ikea, is little more than a giant hole in the ground. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas in Primm outlet mall changing its name - VIDEO
Chad Dillow, co-owner of Step Right Up, is building his attraction at Prizm Outlets, which recently changed it name from Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas, in Primm. It will include 3D trick art, ax throwing, escape rooms and carnival-themed games. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
O.J. Simpson files lawsuit against The Cosmopolitan over TMZ story - VIDEO
A lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas defamed O.J. Simpson when hotel employees told TMZ he was kicked out of the casino “for belligerence” in November 2017. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Phil Maloof on selling his Palms Place penthouse.
Phil Maloof sold his 59th-floor penthouse at Palms Place. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bleutech announces Las Vegas land purchase deal
Bleutech Park Properties reached a purchase agreement for 210 acres at Las Vegas Boulevard and Cactus Avenue, project spokesman Tom Letizia announced Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019 at a news conference at the M Resort. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Las Vegas will be getting a new slogan

In 2003, “What happens here, stays here” was the buzz of TV talk shows and pop culture. Now, Las Vegas is getting a new slogan that plays off the iconic tag line.