Leisure & Hospitality International - Fall 2013 - 71

A nickname is one thing, but a brand is another.

Hangover” movie franchise. But most im-

Every major city in the world has a nickname.

portantly, it caught consumers’ attention.

Paris is called the City of Light. New York – The
Big Apple. They are iconic, for sure, but there may

Las Vegas welcomed a record 39.7 million
visitors in 2012, approximately a half-million more visitors than the previous high of

be no other city that is as definable as Las Vegas,

39.2 million. The record visitation numbers

AKA, Sin City.

generated more than $40 billion in economic impact for the local economy last

It was 10 years ago when the Las Vegas Con-

the NFL, which found Las Vegas and its

vention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and

casino reputation less than wholesome.

its advertising agency R&R Partners

The controversy, however, only spurred

Dozens of hotels, casinos and resorts and

launched a campaign that has engrained a

public interest, sparking a media frenzy

hundreds of restaurants and attractions in

collective image into the public’s mind.

that LVCVA says garnered more than $6 mil-

Las Vegas all individually vie for consumers’

“What happens here, stays here” was a suc-

lion in free publicity for Las Vegas.

dollars. But the “What happens here, stays

year, according to LVCVA.
To be fair, LVCVA did not do this alone.

cess in helping us all get there – the “us”

Once the spots began airing, everyone

here” took the collective effort and packaged

being tourists and the “there” being any

took notice. In 2004, LVCVA and R&R Part-

the town into an easily relatable destination.

hotel, restaurant, casino or attraction that

ners won the Brandweek “Grand Marketer

“The record visitation is a testament to

Las Vegas has to have offer.

of the Year Award.” It was the first time an

the dedication and commitment of our re-

LVCVA Senior Vice President of Market-

advertising agency ever won this award

sort partners and every employee who

ing Cathy Tull explains that “the ‘What

with a client. Since then, the campaign has

works in the industry," states Rossi

happens here, stays here’ campaign

been inducted into the Madison Avenue Ad-

Ralenkotter, president/CEO of the LVCVA.

strikes an emotional chord with con-

vertising Walk of Fame, parodied by “Satur-

“We are encouraged to see positive signs of

sumers who relate with the notion of adult

day Night Live,” profiled on the front page

continued growth for the industry. With

freedom.” When LVCVA and R&R Partners

of The New York Times, named one of the

more than $2 billion of reinvestment in the

teamed together in the late 1990s, the two

top-10 best destination marketing cam-

destination, Las Vegas is well positioned for

developed a strategy to go beyond a na-

paigns ever by Forbes and inspired “The

continued growth in 2013."

tional tourist attraction and create an international brand. Thirty-second
commercials of the same actor presenting
different personas to various groups, or
parents fumbling over their words when
their kids ask “why do adults go to Las
Vegas?” signified that Las Vegas was a
place of temporary escape.
The first TV spots were shot in November
2002, and ready to air during the 2003

Expanding the Message
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority had great success with its “What
happens here, stays here” tourism campaign, but after 10 years, LVCVA has launched
a new campaign that builds upon the former with the “History of Friendship,” which
features two childhood friends – one a “Vegas Enabler” and one the enabled – who
experience laughable situations throughout their friendship, culminating in Las
Vegas. The campaign will feature three TV commercials airing through May 2014.
“The campaign has evolved from giving visitors permission to live their fantasies,
to a celebration of those who facilitate these experiences – the ‘Vegas Enabler,’” explains Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing. “Everyone should have a ‘Vegas
Enabler’ in their life, that person who encourages you to let your hair down; and the
new campaign applauds these people.”

Super Bowl but were famously rejected by

U.S. Space and Rocket Center P.72 / Orange County Convention Center P.75 / Bags Inc. P.78 / Santa Ana Star Casino P.80
C asino Pie r a nd B rea k wa te r B ea c h P.85 / Pa r k bridge C a pita l G ro up P.89 / S a nta C a ta lina Isla nd C o. P.93
S pir it L a ke Ca si no & Re s o r t P. 95 / W e s t in Bu c k h ea d Atla nta P. 97 / C a e sa rs E nte rta inm e nt G ro u p P. 100
Fall 2013 L e i s u r e a n d H o s p i t a l i t y I n t e r n a t i o n a l | w w w. l h i m a g a z i n e . c o m

71


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