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Las Vegas ‘what happens here, stays here’ ads revived

Updated January 3, 2018 - 12:08 pm

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has revived its “what happens here, stays here” advertising campaign, launching a time-travel storyline in the popular series created by Las Vegas-based R&R Partners.

The New Year’s Day showing of the “what happens here” genre is the first since the city’s marketing organization discontinued its use after the Oct. 1 shooting.

The new ad, launched nationally on several TV networks and online, depicts a scientist from the past arriving on the Las Vegas Strip and enjoying several of the city’s attractions.

The Bellagio fountains and Caesars Palace pools are among the backdrops for the ad’s scenes. The humorous kicker to the 30-second spot is that, when the scientist returns to his own time, he tells colleagues the time-travel experiment didn’t work, but “we should keep trying.”

Popular campaign

The “what happens here, stays here” series has maintained its popularity since its debut in 2002, despite critics who say the ads glorify and encourage raunchy behavior.

The series has won numerous awards over the years.

Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the LVCVA, said the new ad was prepared prior to the shooting and was nearly ready for release when the tragedy occurred.

LVCVA advertising strategists met within an hour of the end of the shooting spree that killed 58 people to reconstruct its campaign to reflect a somber tone after the tragedy.

The LVCVA immediately adopted a #VegasStrong hashtag that received worldwide attention. Within three days, the authority had produced an ad narrated by popular Las Vegas tennis star Andre Agassi, who spoke to the strength of the Southern Nevada community in the face of the shooting’s horror. The hashtag remains visible in the community three months after the incident.

Appropriate timing

Tull said that just prior to Christmas, she, LVCVA President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter, R&R Principal Billy Vassiliadis and other representatives of R&R strategized about the appropriate timing of the new ad.

After reviewing ad testing and research, Tull said, they determined that the public “wanted their Vegas back” and the decision was made to launch the new ad on New Year’s Day.

The ad is being run nationally on the Travel Channel, Food Network and the USA, TNT, BET and E! networks and on online channels.

Tull said other “what happens here, stays here” ad scripts have been prepared, and production will begin soon for a late spring or early summer release.

The Route 91 Harvest festival shooting is believed to be at least partially responsible for a drop in visitation in 2017. Two of the three biggest monthly declines in visitation occurred in October and November, with the count off 4.2 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.

The worst monthly tourism decline occurred in February, down 5.5 percent, but that has been attributed to February 2016 having an additional day due to a leap year.

This past year, visitation fell six straight months beginning in June. December’s numbers are set for release this month, and it’s highly likely that the 2017 visitor total fell short of 2016’s record 42.9 million.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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