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LVCVA returns to humor in newest video ad campaign

Updated October 11, 2022 - 8:02 pm

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is returning to humorous storytelling with next week’s debut of a multimillion-dollar consumer advertising campaign to boost tourism.

The LVCVA board of directors on Tuesday got its first look at a pair of 30-second and 45-second video ads that give potential visitors permission to make time for themselves for a trip to Vegas.

“The kids are back in school, the in-laws are back home, we’ve done our family reunions and done all these other obligations we’ve needed to meet,” said LVCVA Chief Marketing Officer Kate Wik. “Now, we need time for ourselves. This campaign is speaking directly to the general consumer and connecting with them and letting them know that they have permission to carve out time for themselves, and there is no better answer to meet that need than Las Vegas.”

The ads, which show no Las Vegas imagery, feature parents interacting with their children and finding reasons they can leave their kids at home and go to Las Vegas on their own. “Storytime” features a parent telling his child that Las Vegas is full of broccoli and dentists — which results in the child not wanting to go to Las Vegas.

“Grounded” shows parents disciplining their teen daughter by leaving her at home with a grandparent. The ad text adds, “You can bring your family to Vegas, but why would you?”

“It’s very fun and it’s very sweet and it’s also very understated and clever how it does that,” Wik said. “It connects with the consumer on the level that ‘This is what I need. It’s my time to escape.’ It’s permission to escape. They’re not bad parents. They’re not irresponsible. They need a moment to themselves. That’s the insight consumers will be able to connect with. ”

The first phase of the campaign will debut Monday in key tourism markets of Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco and New York City. The creative team, led by advertising consultant R&R Partners, will evaluate the response and develop a second phase of ads after the holidays. Because of the split, the LVCVA doesn’t have a cost estimate for the campaign, but the organization’s 2022-23 budget included $94 million for advertising.

“I expect we’re going to see a lot of buzz on social (media),” Wik said. “I think there’s going to be a lot of trade media discussions about it and I think it’s going to be a warm welcome getting back into humor, showing this attitude that Vegas is known for. I think they’re going to be very well received.”

R&R Partners principal Billy Vassiliadis said LVCVA research was used to form the basis of the ad content, learning how Las Vegas resonates with consumers.

Vassiliadis turned the project over to a new set of eyes — R&R Chief Creative Officer Guto Araki, who has been with the company six months — to present a fresh perspective. He was introduced to the board Tuesday.

“Part of what we needed is something less serious for every moment of our lives,” Vassiliadis said. “It’s funny, interesting, new and fresh and, in my opinion, has a lot of future.”

The LVCVA isn’t doing any television network buys for the campaign, relying instead on digitally connected TV, digital video and YouTube. Radio and outdoor ad buys are planned. Vassiliadis noted that with political ads dominating the airwaves, network ad buys have become prohibitively expensive.

The potential for new stories to tell harkens to the “What Happens Here, Stays Here” ad campaign that flourished after it debuted in 2003. Regarded as one of the most successful advertising campaigns in history, new ads were created over more than a decade with the popular tagline.

“What we want to do is create that sense of what is Vegas going to do next?” Wik said. “What’s the next thing they’re going to release? We want to get back into that cadence of constantly connecting in storytelling with our audience.”

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

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