Tackling marital issues or parental resistance to gay marriage are hardly the kind of themes you'd expect from Las Vegas' normally whimsical "What Happens Here Stays Here" campaign. But those are some of the plotlines in the latest round of ads for the long-running campaign.
To call it a detour into more serious territory might be a bit of an overstatement. The spots contain the usual glitz, glam, music and include hints of the hedonistic sensibilities long associated with the campaign. But the new effort feels a little weightier. And that's by design.
"We'd always been kind of funny," says Arnie DiGeorge, executive creative director for R&R Partners, the longtime agency for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The goal is to "get a little bit more emotion into the brand," he says, and "redefine what adult freedom means in 2018 in a world celebrating empowerment and inclusiveness."
The campaign, called "Only Vegas Moments," includes several digital videos, as well as shorter TV ads.
One video portrays two women who get married in Vegas in what appears to be an impulsive moment. One of them protests, suggesting "my parents would never forgive me." Later, her partner walks her into a candlelit ceremony. And, surprise, her parents are there—and they approve. The kicker: "Destiny happens here."
One video shows a married couple using Vegas to rekindle their relationship, while another one called "Party of One" shows a woman enjoying the Strip alone after an unexpected layover kept her in Vegas. She ends up extending her trip to get a little relaxing me time. (See both ads below.)
Vegas "isn't all about gaming and it isn't all about partying and it isn't all about the super fast-paced stuff," DiGeorge says. "There are people who want to come here and really relax. They don't want to do some of the clubbing things." He adds: "We are trying to stay relevant. We are trying to stay modern. And we want to do modern interpretations of what our brand is."
The visitors authority put a pause on "What Happens Here" effort in the wake of the Oct. 1 massacre in which a gunman killed 58 people and wounded hundreds at an outdoor music festival along the Strip. The campaign began airing again nationally three months later with a lighthearted spot showing a man leaping from the 1890s to 2018 via a time machine, allowing him to get his fill of Vegas partying.
Party of One