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New Las Vegas Ad Campaign Woos Post COVID Visitors

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) has launched a new ad campaign called ‘Vegas You’.
  • The campaign seeks to promote the city as the ‘go to’ destination in a post COVID world.
  • In a separate campaign, Las Vegas is targeting business travelers.
  • The Las Vegas gaming and tourism economy has suffered mightily during the pandemic.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is a public agency created to drive tourism to Southern Nevada and to ‘enhance the marketing, sales and advertising efforts of our resort and industry partners’. In other words, while the various casinos and other Las Vegas businesses promote the ‘micro’ the LVCVA promotes the ‘macro’ of what makes the city such a unique place to visit, live and work. On balance, they’ve done a hell of a job at it. Among other things, they’re responsible for the now iconic ‘What happens here, stays here’ ad campaign which ‘taps into a fundamental truth about human behavior and aligns with the core of the Vegas brand’. The next time you see a 20 something girl from flyover country in a tight dress and high heels stumbling drunkenly up Las Vegas Boulevard at 5 AM the LVCVA is partially to blame.


When the LVCVA said ‘what happens here, stays here’ they didn’t mean for you to literally leave your underwear at a construction site on Koval Lane.

At times, they have to recalibrate their marketing efforts on the fly to reflect current events. By far their toughest challenge came after the October 1, 2017 Route 91 Harvest mass shooting that killed 60 people. They had to keep promoting the city–that’s their job and the community’s economic lifeline–while not being offensive. At the same time, they wanted to express the city’s gratitude for the outpouring of support from around the world. Once again, they knocked it out of the park creating a campaign that quickly grew into a mantra: #VegasStrong. The simple message has been used before but never as effectively. It’s become such a significant component of the Las Vegas iconography that last year Governor Steve Sisolak created a state holiday to pay tribute to the victims of the massacre–‘Vegas Strong Day in Nevada’.

Billy Vassiliadis is the CEO of R&R Partners, the ad agency that does a lot of the creative work for the LVCVA. He talks about the impact of the campaign and the good that improbably came out of the worst possible circumstance:

A #VegasStrong message on the Aria marquee.

“All of the sudden, the world saw that there is a fiber to this community. There is an essence to this community. There is a depth of humanity here — like Boston reacted to their horrific tragedy, like New Yorkers reacted to their horrific tragedies — that Vegas is made up of people that care, that have compassion and empathy & charity.”

Everyone involved with the #VegasStrong campaign were aware of the fine line they were walking but they were heartened by the response–locals and visitors alike urged Las Vegas to “not allow this one lunatic, this insane killer to define what has been a place that we have loved to come to for 50 years.”

The Vegas Golden Knights honored the Route 91 Harvest victims by retiring the number ’58’ which represented the original number of fatalities.

Instead, the opposite happened. Las Vegas has always had a lot of strength, civic pride and a great community of caring people. As horrific as the shooting was it produced the positive externality of redefining the character of Las Vegas to the world. It unified the city but more significantly communicated all of the great things about the Las Vegas community to the zeitgeist. This precise moment is when Las Vegas quit being a joke to outsiders and started to be appreciated as a real city. The entire vibe of the city changed for the better reflecting a greater depth of love, pride and commitment to the admittedly strange but beautifully fascinating community in the desert. Everyone likes to think their home town is unique and unlike anyplace else in the world. Las Vegans are one of the few that can actually say ‘there’s nowhere like Vegas’.


The LVCVA now faces another marketing challenge as they promote Las Vegas as a post COVID destination. Obviously, the roots of the current circumstances are different with a virus that has altered life worldwide than a deranged killer shooting up the city but there are a few similarities. Las Vegas was devastated economically by the pandemic and although there’s some strong signs of recovery it’s essential to keep it at the top of the traveling public’s post pandemic ‘to do’ list. There’s also the need to reassure potential visitors that traveling to Las Vegas is safe. Finally, they want to send the message that despite the many changes–temporary and permanent–brought about by the pandemic that the ‘Vegas experience’ endures.

Just launched by the LVCVA is a new ad campaign called ‘Vegas You’ which the agency describes as a ‘reminder that Las Vegas is ready and excited to welcome visitors back’. R&R Partners is once again involved and the first ad from the campaign entitled The Dance dropped earlier this week:

Here’s what the LVCVA’s press release says about the ‘Vegas You’ campaign and their first ad:

Vegas You capitalizes on the restless sentiment felt throughout the country and embodies the freedom of choice to live life to the fullest, by offering an escape into the adult freedom that only Las Vegas has to offer.

The Dance showcases Vegas as the backdrop where visitors are invited to revel in their freedom through a variety of fast-moving Vegas scenes. It also emphasizes that Las Vegas gives visitors experiences they can’t find anywhere else and a place to become someone else, let go, and live in the moment.

The Dance was shot at several locations across the destination including Circa Resort & Casino, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and The Venetian Resort Las Vegas to capture the uniqueness of Las Vegas that visitors have come to know and expect.

Kate Wik, chief marketing officer for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, had these comments about the campaign:

“The new Vegas You campaign reminds travelers that Las Vegas is open, ready and excited to welcome them. The Dance, the first ad from the new campaign, evokes the feeling of freedom that has become synonymous with the Vegas experience.”

A second ad in the ‘Vegas You’ campaign will drop in May.

There’s another LVCVA campaign making a visible splash on the Las Vegas Strip. Resorts World Las Vegas will open on June 24 and their massive outdoor video billboard is featuring a ‘Vegas Means Business’ display:

Look for full coverage of the ‘Vegas Means Business’ campaign in an upcoming article. Pro tip: although the ‘Vegas Means Business’ campaign has primarily been used for convention marketing the city is among the best place in the world for remote workers and self employed entrepreneurs. With the future of conventions, meetings and business travel completely unknown they’d be smart to pivot to the growing remote work demographic.

The Cosmopolitan is arguably the most popular casino in town for anyone that wants to create the proper Vegas vibe in photos, film or other visual arts. The Killers were way ahead of the game with their gorgeous video for Shot At The Night which was shot at the Cosmopolitan released in 2013:

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