When the lights go down: Las Vegas spot says stay safe while city goes dark

The action moves to social media as chefs, magicians and Chippendales dancers do acts for fans at home.

Las Vegas is running commercials to tell travelers that while casinos are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city will be open to celebrate as soon as people are free to travel again.

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) agency R&R Partners pulled together a spot using existing footage and voiceover talent as coronavirus conditions were worsening, cautioning travelers that businesses were scaling back. The video was updated when the Nevada governor officially shut down non-essential businesses for the next 30 days. 

"A lot of the time, we do funny ads, but this is not the time for it," said Arnie DiGeorge, vice president and executive creative director at R&R Partners in Las Vegas. "It’s time to say, you are important to us."

The spot uses night-time footage with muted neons and sparse crowds, unusual for the city, which welcomed 42.5 million visitors in 2019, according to LVCVA.

"We just want you to know when it is time we will be ready and better than ever," promises the 30-second spot. The commercial will run through April 19 on ABC, NBC, CBS, BET, BETher, BRAVO, E! Network, TRAVEL, TVONE, NBC Sports, NBA TV, and ESPN.

"Hopefully, we will be having a big party when we come back—that is the aim," said DiGeorge. "We are uniquely suited for what people are going to be missing—going to restaurants, going to shows, going to bars. The demand is going to be there and they are going to want to immerse in it when they can. We are suited to answer that call." 

Las Vegas has gone through numerous cliffhanger tourism stoppages, due to tragic events like the mass shooting of Oct. 1, 2017, 9/11 and the economic downturn of 2008, pointed out DiGeorge.

"There really wasn’t a creative brief this time, we wanted to get it out fast and had some quick discussions and we wrote it," said DiGeorge. "We have been down this road before. We’ve been through Oct. 1 and 2008 and know how we need to react to our visitors and fans."

In addition to the commercial, the LVCVA and R&R Partners are hosting active social media content, using some of the city’s well-known chefs and entertainers. 

For example, magician Mat Franco is streaming illusions from his home. Chippendales dancers are uploading at-home workouts. One even used gallon containers of Blue Diamond Almond Breeze as weights. 

On the decks, a cooking demonstration with what you might have in your pantry with Chef David Walzog of SW Steakhouse. 

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