Las Vegas slogan ‘what happens here’ may face cloudy future

For casino developer Steve Wynn, what may have happened in Las Vegas certainly did not stay in Las Vegas.

The 76-year-old billionaire who built Wynn Resorts Ltd. was forced to step down late Tuesday amid allegations that he sexually harassed employees over several decades.

As the wave of sexual harassment allegations washing away prominent men around the country now reaches Las Vegas, time will tell how deep the problem is in Sin City.

If the allegations against Wynn are just the tip of an iceberg, it could create a very tough balancing act for Southern Nevada’s tourism bureau and its use of the familiar slogan “what happens here, stays here,” according to several marketing experts.

The slogan, developed in 2002, speaks to adults’ desire to let loose and has been credited with driving more tourists to the city’s outdoor pools, nightclubs and shows. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority halted its advertisement campaign using the slogan following the Oct. 1 mass shooting, but resumed it last month.

Now, the #MeToo movement that erupted four-months ago following sexual harassment accusations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is ushering in an era of greater awareness and sensitivity to anything hinting of unwanted physical contact. Some suggest it could extend to the tourist bureau to soften its commercials.

‘OK to be sexy’

The hospitality industry, the city’s biggest employer and dominated by female workers, has been highlighted as one where harassment tends to be more prevalent.

A November report by the Center for American Progress found the majority of complaints, 14.23 percent, filed to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission between 2005 and 2015 came from the accommodation and food services industry.

The Culinary union has recently asked hotels to distribute alert buttons to its members to help combat harassment.

“It is OK to be sexy. What is not OK is to suggest even unintentionally that this is a place where you can behave badly and not have repercussions,’’ said Deb Gabor, a marketing specialist whose clients have included Dell and Microsoft.

“If you asked me a year ago, I would say yes, the slogan is appropriate and relevant. But the dialogue that takes place today is totally, totally different.”

Billy Vassiliadis, principal for R&R Partners, the advertising company that created the “what happens here, stays here” campaign, said the company regularly studies tourist reaction to the slogan.

“We monitor and keep the pulse on our visitors, I’m going to guess, not just more than any other destination but more than any other brand. It’s even easier now because we see what they’re saying socially,” he said.

“It is not a message of naughtiness. It is a message of personal freedom and personal choice.”

Michael McCall, professor of hospitality at Michigan State University, which has been rocked by faculty member Dr. Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse of gymnasts, said it would not be wise to push the slogan right now.

“For God’s sake, don’t go back to the family thing, but I wouldn’t be the one to jump out in front and use it today,” he said.

Male-centric

The slogan’s commercials do feature various age groups, sexes and races, but it can come off as male-centric, said Daniel Binns, managing director of the New York and Toronto offices of Interbrand.

One commercial about a husband vacationing in Las Vegas after his work trip is canceled should instead be about the husband and his wife having a a couple’s getaway together, he said.

“I don’t think you change the slogan — that would be suggesting that there was something inherently wrong with the idea of giving adults permission to enjoy themselves. You need to contemporize it for the current social zeitgeist,’’ said Binns.

The allegations of sexual harassment against Wynn, whom many consider instrumental in building modern Las Vegas, should alone not impact the city’s image or the use of its slogan, said David Reibstein, professor of marketing at Wharton School of Business.

While it was “smart” to halt the advertising campaign following the Oct. 1 shooting, there is no need to shelve the latest campaign on account of the accusations against the casino magnate, he said.

“As for the allegations against Wynn, I do believe it is widely known, but there is enough disassociation with Wynn and Vegas itself. Go ahead with the advertising.’’

UNLV professor Billy Bai agreed, adding the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority nonetheless needs to thing twice about each new advertising campaign.

“What Vegas does is provide a memorable destination experience to visitors. The central theme is still effective,” Bai said. “The execution of such marketing campaigns should be dealt with carefully.’’

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

ad-high_impact_4
Business
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
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)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like