Creating, building and protecting the Las Vegas brand.

R&R Partners has been the communications agency of record for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) for more than 35 years, creating and implementing successful marketing and public affairs campaigns that help to attract more than 41 million visitors annually to Las Vegas and fill its 150,000 hotel rooms.

Earlier campaigns from R&R were responsible for creating the modern Las Vegas brand that transcended gaming and turned the city into a world-class entertainment/dining/shopping destination. But, growth in the city had plateaued with no new product in the pipeline to attract visitors. Las Vegas needed a new direction for positioning the brand that would tap into the visceral and deeply emotional reasons visitors connect with the city.

The challenge was to develop a unified brand voice for marketing the destination, one that resonated with, and motivated, a wide array of audience targets—both in key national and international markets. We needed something we could build on … a spark.

How We Did It The strategy.

At the heart of R&R’s efforts were rigorous brand research and analytics, designed to determine what people found most compelling about Las Vegas and what motivated them to choose to visit it over other locales. What we found was an insight that would guide and grow the brand for decades to come. In a nutshell: Adults get tired of adulting from time to time and desperately need some ”Adult Freedom”—in a place where they won’t be judged.

From the Adult Freedom platform we created a campaign and tagline that has since become part of the fabric of pop culture, and produced some of the most celebrated work in all of advertising.

The Work

research : strategy : media planning & buying : broadcast : print : out of home : experiential : VR : digital : websites : social : public relations : government affairs

The campaign began with a series of television and print ads, a new website and an intensive PR campaign. Each ad was engineered to reach a different target audience based on demographic and behavioral factors. PR coverage for the new effort was secured across the big media outlets such as USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, NPR, Sports Illustrated and Advertising Age.

We haven’t left too many stones unturned when it comes to fronting one of the most iconic brands in history. That includes stones in other countries as we moved the campaign into the U.K., Canada, Mexico and Brazil, among others. And even though work for these countries is specifically crafted to resonate in the different cultures, the message works universally.

In addition to the campaign becoming an inside cultural phrase repeated around the world by celebrities, television, movies, talk-show hosts, you name it, we have also strived to keep it a part of the national conversation.

We lampooned the vice president to the tune of millions in earned media dollars.

We defended Prince Harry against those who revealed his Vegas exploits. And, we have continued that discussion by inviting the princely baby to his 21st birthday party in Las Vegas. Yes, we’re planning the party 21 years in advance … look out for your “save the date” notice.

And while we always keep the core element of the campaign that leaves the “what-happens-here” moments to the individual imagination, we continue to change up the approach. “Protect the Moment” was designed to enlist core defenders of the brand in social circles that were eroding the Vegas experience because of oversharing. We want certain things that you can do here shared, but not all things. Our visitors are stakeholders in that game.

Throughout our relationship with LVCVA we have always looked for both creative and scientific ways to achieve the business goals. On the data science side, we’ve created an opportunity cost model that allows us to look at a large number of markets and pinpoint which ones have the greatest opportunity to bring in visitors at the lowest cost. Using a combination of statistical techniques and proprietary tools that leverage multiple data sources, the model has led to increasing marketing efficiencies, saving millions for LVCVA. This extensible model is now being used on other data-based problems we’re helping our clients solve.

The Results are in.

R&R’s LVCVA/What Happens Here, Stays Here campaign has enjoyed significant success across a number of categories:

SUCCESS IN THE MARKETPLACE

17-to-1

direct ad ROI

14.1M

visitors in 2016

+23%

city-wide hotel rate

  • Boosted year-round occupancy to 87%—22 points over national average.
  • BrandWeek “Grand Marketers of Year” for LVCVA and R&R (the first time an agency received this award)
  • Tagline ensconced on Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame.

SUCCESS IN THE PRESS

  • “What happens here, stays here” quickly became a part of the pop culture vernacular. The campaign was referenced on The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, C-SPAN, CNBC, Saturday Night Live, and the Las Vegas and CSI TV series.
  • It was featured in countless magazine and newspaper articles, including on the cover of Time and in The New York Times, the latter of which called it “a stroke of marketing genius.” The tagline was referred by Advertising Age as “a cultural phenomenon.”
  • It became a punchline for everyone from Oscar host Billy Crystal to first lady Laura Bush.