In 2003, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority launched the famous “What Happens Here, Stays Here” campaign. More than 15 years later, the LVCVA is still pushing the same message — this time, with a shiny new slogan.
The LVCVA rolled out its “Vegas Changes Everything” campaign Tuesday, releasing two video commercials in top markets just in time to promote summer travel.
The campaign “builds on the idea of adult freedom that we’ve been highlighting for the past 20 years,” said Fletch Brunelle, vice president of marketing for the LVCVA. “We wanted to remind them that an entertainment experience in Vegas is just a short distance away, and it is far beyond the normal experience.”
Highlighting Las Vegas’ energy
The two campaign videos released by the LVCVA each feature a man and woman trying to persuade a friend to join them on a night in the town. One has plans to see Gwen Stefani and make a stop at the spa and clubs, and the other is going to see Aerosmith, eat out and watch the big game. Both of their friends decline the offers, then quickly change their minds once they realize the activities are in Las Vegas.
“Vegas? That’s an important detail! That’s like, the most important. Why wouldn’t you lead with that?” asks a woman in one of the videos, who promptly cancels her plans for her son’s second birthday party to join the trip.
The ads fail to showcase Las Vegas casinos or gambling, but Brunelle said they didn’t have to; people already associate gaming with the city. Instead, the commercials highlight the city’s culinary lineup and residencies.
“Our new ads are meant to highlight the fun, energetic side to Vegas,” Brunelle said via email. “We have so many amazing performers with highly produced shows. … We wanted to remind people that while they can see a show anywhere, it can’t compare to seeing a show in Vegas.”
David Reibstein, a professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania, said he has trouble believing the campaign will stick because it moves away from Las Vegas’ “sin city” image.
“(It’s) trying to appeal to ordinary people,” he said. It’s “more for married people with kids … and houses and yards, rather than the place for a bachelor or bachelorette party. … This is getting away from the uniqueness of the city.”
At the 17th International Conference on Gambling & Risk Taking, held at Caesars Palace this week, LVCVA research center president Kevin Bagger said Las Vegas’ brand has always been about promoting adult freedom.
“It’s a judgment-free zone. … That’s the thing we can sell in a way that nobody can quite the same way.”
Bagger said the new campaign transforms Vegas’ “What Happens Here” tagline.
“We are evolving to a broader message,” he said.
The ads will air in Phoenix, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles and can be found on the radio, digital stations and social media.