Las Vegas is doing some serious re-branding.
The southwest city has never been known for selling subtlety or pulling at heartstrings. Until just weeks ago, TV commercials for the vacation hot spot touted the kind of wild living that you don’t want friends back home to know about.
However, in the days following the deadliest shooting on American soil, ads for Sin City are taking a decidedly angelic tack.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is eschewing its edgy “What Happens Here Stays Here” campaign. Instead, the city’s promotional arm has pushed #VegasStrong, an ad with native Andre Agassi saying lines that emphasize resilience such as, “Strength is valet parkers who become medics.”
As the tennis star speaks in a flat, somber tone, mentioning nothing about Las Vegas’s famously racy attractions, the camera closes in on a shimmering Las Vegas Strip emerging out of blackness.
It’s a far cry from the Sin City standard, which, pre-tragedy, MGM Resorts International (parent company of Mandalay Bay, where the shooing took place) was planning to herald. Last month, the hotel giant released a flashy spot that hyped Ultimate fighting, gourmet meals, bottle service and big budget shows. It included the tag line, “We are not in the hotel business. We are in . . . the holy s - - t business.”
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, MGM shelved the campaign four days after the Mandalay Bay tragedy. The company replaced it with a more muted commercial that shows a sweeping view of the Strip and highlights the iconic dancing waters of MGM-owned Bellagio against Odetta singing the hymnlike “Together We Shine.”
Additionally, the Visitors Authority has posted a scrolling list of Vegas-positive tweets that pretty much doubles as a de facto testimonial ad, driving home the point that fans of the city are not giving up on it.
Despite the potential for appearing to cash in on tragedy, the commercials have been getting mostly positive notice on social media.
In one tweet, @_LarAlayne_ asks, “Does anyone else tear up every time that MGM #VegasStrong commercial plays?”
Voicing the opinion of those who find commercialism to be inappropriate at this moment, @geekpondering tweets, “Vegas tourism bureau has a vomit-inducing commercial basically begging people to come. Really sad.”
However, @KrystiO speaks for the majority when she writes, “That #VegasStrong commercial gives me the chills . . . it’s def one of my fav cities. Can’t wait to go back!”
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