FAMILY FUN IN THE DESERT: LAS VEGAS REPOSITIONS ITSELF: VISITOR BUREAU EARMARKS $27 MIL FOR 5-YEAR EFFORT

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After years of promoting itself as a gaming spot, Las Vegas has abandoned that marketing concept and will tout itself as being a family destination.

A new $27 million, five-year marketing plan for the leisure destination features the tagline "It's anything and everything."

LOGO IS GAMING CHIP

The advertising doesn't ignore gaming -- print ads and TV spots use a neon gaming-chip logo.

The line "Open 24 hours" will continue on all destination advertising.

Ads begin in September.

The plan is designed to increase Las Vegas tourism volume to 36 million visitors by the year 2000. Visitors in 1997 numbered 30.5 million, up 2.8% from 1996.

Casinos weren't brought in on the plan, designed by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and R&R Advertising, Las Vegas, but they approve of it.

Ralph Berry, VP-communications for Harrah's Entertainment Co., said while the casino isn't buying into the family-oriented concept for its own ads, the city is doing the right thing.

Las Vegas will "promote the family concept and we will market gaming to our customers," said Mr. Berry. "We realize that Las Vegas is no longer only gaming."

A DEPARTURE

According to Rossi Ralenkotter, VP-marketing for the authority, the multiyear plan is a departure from traditional one-year plans because of the evolution of Vegas as a destination for more than just gaming.

Ads will run in People, Sports Illustrated and TV Guide, and TV will be targeted to key markets, although CNN International will be used.

There also will be signage at three Major League Baseball stadiums and on commuter rail kiosks.

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