Las Vegas seeks ad agency amid famed slogan change

Say goodbye to 'What Happens Here, Stays Here."

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) has put its advertising contract up for bid. 

The account is currently held by incumbent agency R&R Partners, who famously came up with the "What Happens Here, Stays Here" slogan for the board in 2003. 

R&R has held the account since 1980 and will be defending their position in the upcoming search. 

The process is being handled by search consultancy Select Resources International (SRI), according to sources familiar with the matter.

This is the first time that the LVCVA has hired a consultant in "many years" to run its search, a spokesperson from R&R told Campaign US.

"I don’t know if [a consultant] has been hired in the past, to be honest. It’s been many years if one was," a spokesperson from R&R told Campaign US.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority declined to comment. SRI similarly did not return a request for comment. 

R&R’s most recent contract win was five years ago, according to a spokesperson from the agency, who added that each contract renewal has had different terms.

"The most recent contract was for three years with a subsequent two-year extension, which we were granted," they said.

The search comes as R&R Partners, in partnership with the LVCVA, plans to unveil a new slogan for the city during this year’s Grammy’s awards show.

"We do ongoing, constant research into what resonates with our visitors, and test taglines all the time. We have wanted to move away from ‘What Happens Here, Stays Here’ before but the research showed people still responded to it," an R&R spokesperson said. 

In fact, even in testing the new line that will be unveiled on Sunday during the Grammys, some customers said they’d still say ‘What Happens Here, Stays Here.' It’s just become a huge part of pop culture," they added. 

"However, this next evolution of the line better reaches the wife demographics of the audiences we need to reach, and better reflects who the destination is given all the changes here over the last several years," they continued. 

The agency, which has roughly 500 employees, has about 80 working on the Las Vegas account at any given time, Campaign US also learned. 

While the LVCVA has orchestrated the bidding process for its lucrative advertising contract, it is doing so without a CMO following the resignation of former chief marketing officer Cathy Tull, who left the organization amidst allegations of misuse of public funds, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. 

Former LCVCA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter also resigned last year, amidst similar allegations. 

While the organization has listed Fletch Brunelle as vice president of marketing, it does not seem to have replaced Tull. It did not return a request for comment. 

According to its latest annual reported, for the full year ending June 30, 2019, the LVCVA’s largest expenditure was its advertising budget (31 percent of the total), with advertising consistently coming in as the category with the highest total expense. 

The board’s advertising budget for FY 2019 totaled $101 million, with expenses totalling $100.3 million.

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