You probably don’t know much about 45-year-old Las Vegasdotcom.
He’s an ordinary-looking guy, an insurance salesman, often confused with the Internet website that’s now selling rooms, show tickets and tours in Southern Nevada on behalf of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
That’s the story line for a new series of television ads that debuted Monday to drive traffic to the LVCVA’s lasvegas.com website. City tourism leaders hope the public will get to know him as well as they know the “What happens here, stays here” slogan.
R&R Partners executive Billy Vassiliadis introduced the new television spots, the first piece of R&R’s 2013 Las Vegas ad campaign, at Tuesday’s LVCVA board of directors meeting.
Lasvegas.com is a sister company to the Las Vegas Sun and Vegas Inc., all operated by the Greenspun family. The LVCVA contracted with lasvegas.com in February to develop a one-stop site for Las Vegas visitors to purchase hotel rooms and tickets.
In the past, the LVCVA’s visitvegas.com website provided information to prospective travelers but had no e-commerce booking engine. The LVCVA expects that in the first four years of operation, it will make $1.3 million in commissions for hotel room bookings.
“It’s one of the most significant tactics we’ve deployed,” said Vassiliadis, whose agency created the highly successful “What happens here, stays here” campaign.
Vassiliadis said new “What happens here” ads would continue to be produced to remind the city’s most loyal customers to come back.
The new campaign is aimed more at the city’s “persuadeables” — prospective visitors who are leaning toward a Las Vegas trip but need more information to make a decision.
That’s where the new ads come in.
Initial ads introduce the Las Vegasdotcom character, a man constantly approached by people he doesn’t know for tickets to the city’s shows.
“I’m not a website...I’m just a man,” he laments in the ads.
Another difference in the new ads is specific references to Las Vegas properties and events.
Years ago, the LVCVA had a general policy against mentioning casino-specific entertainers and events in its marketing, hoping to stay out of competitive battles between properties. The new ads make passing references to Celine Dion, Thunder Down Under at the Excalibur, Donny and Marie at the Flamingo and “the secret pizza place at the Cosmopolitan.”
Vassiliadis said the ads were test-marketed in Seattle, San Francisco and Toronto and received great response from focus groups. He said the actor who portrays Las Vegasdotcom, Craig Geraghty, is under contract to make appearances if the ad campaign soars.
Bryan Allison, chief operating officer of lasvegas.com, said the company’s analytics make it possible to capture information about site visitors and tweak campaigns in real time.
The real-time environment of the site also enables the LVCVA to make announcements and offer special deals to loyal customers as they become available.