LAS VEGAS EXTENDS CONTRACT FOR AD AGENCY

Five-Year Deal for R&R Partners Worth $320 Million

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has handed a $320 million jackpot to independent Nevada shop R&R Partners.

In a unanimous vote Wednesday, the authority

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extended the agency's contract for an additional five years, with another five-year renewal option. The value of the contract is estimated at $64 million per year. R&R first won the account in 1980.

Surprised by option
"We were confident about the five-year extension, but the five-year option came out of the blue and it was a shock," said Randy Snow, vice president and creative director at R&R Partners.

With the contract due to expire in early 2004, the authority had a number of options, ranging from a full-blown review to a number of possible contract extensions. The vote came after the agency presented an advertising strategy that included suggestions such as stepping up marketing efforts geared toward Hispanics.

R&R recently changed Las Vegas' image campaign from a place for families to one carrying the theme "Vegas Stories." In one commercial, a woman decked out in a sexy black outfit in the back of a limo flirts with the limo driver and is seemingly driven mad with passion by the smell of the car's interior. When the limo reaches the airport, the woman emerges from the car wearing a pert business suit and speaks with a British accent. All the spots in the campaign carry the tagline "What happens here, stays here."

Spots in production
A half dozen new spots are in production, focusing on the same theme, Mr. Snow said, including one featuring senior-citizen gamblers and another featuring a Las Vegas casino employee.

Last year, a proposed Super Bowl spot from the authority was banned by the National Football League due to concerns about the connection with gambling.

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