'What Happens In Vegas' Takes Fanciful Flight In Latest Iteration

"What happens in Vegas" doesn't always stay in Vegas, thanks to the Internet, but the iconic campaign lives on with some significant changes in the newest iteration.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority (LVCVA) and its longtime agency R&R Partners had to evolve its messaging, given the fact many Vegas “happenings” are spread far and wide via social media. 

The new effort features the most channel-specific campaign messaging the organization has launched to date. And the new flight will feature much more fanciful creative. 

"We are leaving the realm of reality," says R&R Executive Creative Director Arnie DiGeorge. "We have always stayed in very real moments, slightly exaggerated sometimes but still grounded in reality. We are going to surprise by moving away from that for the next iteration of TV with adventures in time travel special effects."



R&R has developed a two-prong strategy that emphasizes adult freedom along with information about various activities available in the Nevada desert.

“Because the LVCVA doesn’t own any of the properties in town, and travelers have a myriad ways of booking, location-based attribution is the holy grail for us right now," says Rob Dondero, EVP, R&R Partners. "We have partnered with Placed for a few years now to look at the lift between media exposure and actual visitation to the destination." 

"With the rapid addition of a variety of digital channels, placement and channel specificity have become priority one with our messaging," says Dondero. "Gone are the days of reposting the same variation of ad creative across multiple channels. The stories our brand tells must be channel specific and targeted with the end consumer's needs top of mind." 

"We have closely watched consumer media behavior and as consumption habits change, so has our media mix," says Dondero. This mix includes both traditional and newer channels, including partnerships with Pandora, Twitter, Facebook, and Spotify, among others.

"Whether stories take the form of a meme on Tumblr, a quick cut 10-second SnapAd or custom pre-roll, our content must be as native as possible," says  DiGeorge.

Some Snapchat ads, for example, feature a 'Lens' event that transitions the user’s face and surrounding background into a Las Vegas pool party. 

When it comes to social media influences, however, Vegas isn't necessarily gambling heavily on them. "Turning WHHSH into #WHHSH was tougher than we thought, says DiGeorge."It is one of those terms that is harder to get across than we first envisioned.  So that is something that we are still working on to some extent as a longer term play."

Las Vegas is the reigning king of tourism advertising. The city spends more than $250 million annually to encourage both business and leisure travelers. Creative must appeal to a wide range of visitors, with an average age of 44.

Looking forward, the LVCVA is in the midst of new segmentation and journey studies to glean more detail on tourists and their travel plans.  "This new research will help us identify the media tools that will give us the best way of efficiently targeting those groups," says Dondero.


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