Last month I made two trips to Vegas for business opportunities and CES. While there, I was once again reminded that a great marketing campaign comes down to simplicity, perhaps a little controversy and timelessness. The phrase ‘Sin City,’ and more specifically the famous slogan that goes with it, was a carefully orchestrated marketing campaign launched by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (a government agency), which is supported by the Nevada State Legislature. Of course, Vegas is recognized for its bright lights, shows, world-renowned industry conferences, casinos, restaurants; as well as its more nefarious activities which include strip clubs, prostitution (which is illegal in Nevada) and 24-hour liquor sales. The slogan “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” no doubt inspired by the city’s, shall we say, ‘extracurricular activities,’ was created to help Vegas form a more predictable economy. At its core, it was a perfectly thought out Las Vegas marketing campaign that’s now been running for fifteen years to combat the seasonal nature of tourism.
Vegas politicians and entrepreneurs astutely pushed this campaign to combat the dramatic ebb and flow in tourism traffic they had been dealing with for decades prior. Predictability and consistency in revenue are critical to city planning, entrepreneurs reinvesting and attracting out of state and foreign investment. And it was for that very purpose the whole marketing campaign of ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,’ which says come here to do things you don’t want others to know about, was created.
As anyone who has been to Vegas in recent years knows, the city’s population has exploded (it was the fastest growing city in America last decade) and its economy is starting to diversify (albeit slowly – casinos will always be the majority of its economy). As a result, Vegas just recently attracted two professional sports franchises – its first ever: The Las Vegas Knights (NHL) and the Raiders (NFL), who will be playing in an incredible $2 billion stadium…
It was all possible because the city, encouraged by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, rolled out a multi-year, global marketing campaign that changed people’s perception of WHEN they could go to Vegas. Instead of it being a grand place one traveled to once every few years during a specific time of year (like virtually every other major tourist destination), the marketers came up with a campaign which essentially said “hey, come anytime when you want to do some wild stuff. Come for a weekend, come for a week. It’s going to be fun, and no one has to know what you do while here.”
Launched near the turn of the century, I contend “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” has been the most successful marketing campaign of all-time based on its effectiveness and timelessness. Heck, there was even an awful rom-com movie made after the slogan…
Think about it: When was the last time you saw a marketing campaign run successfully for fifteen years?
The investment Vegas has been able to attract because it draws in more consistent crowds year round (which has led to its incredible population growth – the city has doubled in size in twenty years), has made it a major metropolis, not just a tourist destination. What’s more, over 400,000 people are employed today in southern Nevada from tourism. 2017 saw an occupancy rate in Vegas hotels of 88.6% – darn close to its high watermark in 2007 of 90.4%, according to the LVCVA. Literally, in the first year the marketing campaign launched (2003), Clark County Gaming Revenue (Vegas’ county) jumped roughly 12%, and nearly the same the following year. That’s the largest percentage gain for that particular statistic since the 1970s.
From its timeless slogan to its bright lights, nightclubs, and shows, if you boil it down, Vegas just focuses on one thing to retain customers: It attempts to try and make them feel like a king or queen. It plays to people’s vanity…
Why do many people dress up when going to a Vegas casino? Because they feel Vegas warrants it. And when they dress up and go out in the city of sin, they feel like a king, with the constant temptation of making a big score at the casino, eating at fine restaurants, drinking, staying out late, and being seduced by a myriad of other things. There’s no place which sells greed, indulging, partying and sex harder than Vegas.
With no clocks in any casino, oxygen pumped through the vents along with special and expensive scents (if you haven’t read about the scents hotels use, it’s fascinating to read about – click here) and scantily clad servers all around, Vegas wants you to visit and let your ego explode. Because people with egos are easy to coerce and sell…
I’ve seen some pretty normal people do some wild, out of character shit in Vegas. They get consumed by it all, wrapped up in the city’s grandness and the apparent individual attention they receive.
Simple. Do as Las Vegas does. Number one, focus on creating marketing campaigns that define you as a company, not just your product or service available at that moment in time. Pursue timeless marketing campaigns to attract more substantial interest. And then, once you have closed the first sale, make your clients feel special. Not so you can take advantage of them (happens a lot in Vegas), but so they’ll listen to you and be open to future up-sells and a long-term business relationship. It’s a fundamental principle of human relationships… you want to be around a person or establishment where everyone knows your name and treats you like a someone. Just like the theme song to the 1980s hit show Cheers. Come to think of it, that’s what Vegas is at its core – Cheers on steroids.
P.S. I’ve generated millions of dollars in revenue by marketing companies and products online. Find out my novel marketing strategies and get regular tips in my weekly newsletter. Only my best content will land in your inbox.