Ad Agencies Seek Las Vegas Tourism Contract Worth Millions

This week, four advertising agencies vying for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority ad account pitched their ideas on selling the city and its casinos to the world. The contract is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip
Hotel-casinos tower over both side of the Las Vegas Strip. The agency charged with promoting tourism in Las Vegas has reviewed proposals from advertising agencies seeking a contract. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The only Nevada-based firm making a presentation to the seven-member marketing committee on Monday was R&R Partners, the LVCVA’s longtime advertising agency, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. 

R&R’s earlier advertising work for the LVCVA includes the “What Happens Here, Stays Here” campaign from 2003, and 2020’s “What Happens Here Only Happens Here.”

Grey Global Advertising, a New York-based agency owned by a British firm, also is seeking the account. Grey’s clients include Kellogg’s, Bank of America, and Microsoft.

Another New York agency, Havas Creative, addressed the marketing committee on Monday. The firm is part of a French group with 316 offices in 75 countries, the newspaper reported. It produced the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” beer commercials from several years ago.

Rounding out the agencies seeking the contract is Austin, Texas-based GSD&M, which created the “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign. Its clients include Southwest Airlines, Capital One, and Hilton.

The agencies proposed different themes and areas of focus in promoting the city. 

One firm indicated Las Vegas’ emergence as a major sports city will be attractive to tourists, the newspaper reported. Another pitched a “Meanwhile in Vegas” theme to remind tourists that Las Vegas is always a place of joy no matter what is happening elsewhere. 

The LVCVA could announce a decision at the June 8 or July 13  board meeting, the newspaper reported.

Tourism Revival

After the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, tourism travel to Las Vegas fell into steep decline. McCarran International Airport saw arrivals and departures drop off by millions of passengers.

The pandemic also halted convention business in the Las Vegas Valley, considered important in filling up hotel rooms, especially during the slow middle of the week.

This sharp falloff in visitors struck a blow to employment in the valley. At its low point last year, unemployment was at 34.2 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.

With the national rollout of vaccines, tourism has increased. This includes an uptick in airport travel, which is expected see even more positive results as low-fare Southwest Airlines begins nonstop service in June to and from Las Vegas and Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands have traditionally been a reliable source of tourism for Southern Nevada.

Also, the first convention and trade show bookings of this year and 2022 are being scheduled. This includes the Consumer Technology Association’s CES trade show. Before the coronavirus pandemic began, the 2020 CES event attracted 180,000 visitors to Las Vegas. This year’s show was conducted virtually. In 2022, the convention will be held in Las Vegas over four days in January.

Conventions Top Gambling in Revenue

The importance of the LVCVA advertising contract is reflected in the significance of conventions to the Las Vegas Valley.

Since 1999, Las Vegas Strip resorts have made more money from conventions and hotel amenities, such as food and entertainment, than from gambling, the Wall Street Journal reported.

This shift shows up in a recent LVCVA television ad that includes no footage of casino floors or any gambling tables or machines.

In a bid to appeal to convention-goers, the LVCVA also has highlighted its nearly $1 billion West Hall expansion at the Las Vegas Convention Center and an underground people-mover developed by Elon Musk’s The Boring Co

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