Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

October 18, 2010

Dick Whitman Doesn't Know What He Wants

Posted by Hunter

** Mad Men Spoiler Alert **

Do you love furry little creatures? The Cosmopolitan hopes so.

The hotel broadcast their first TV commercial during the finale of Mad Men, the popular AMC advertising drama. During the final episode, viewers were shocked to see that Don Draper fell in love with his secretary and got engaged, all in the space of about 42 minutes.

Sure, 'Megan the Secretary' is good looking and seems to actually be capable of a real conversation but come on, Don's clearly emotionally damaged since his marriage broke up and it's hard to look at this as a long term thing. I think most viewers cringed when they watched him dial Faye Miller, the seemingly substantive woman that looked really good for Don, only to blow her off.

Will your flirtation with the Cosmopolitan be longer lasting? There's been a good amount of gushing about the property in advance of it's opening. I've said more than a few kind words myself. Will that last when the credit cards start swiping?

We're now at the point when the resort starts to go from a set of interesting concepts that are easy to appreciate into a 'why the hell didn't housekeeping show up and where the hell are my bags' potential reality.

How will the Interwebs react if Cosmo has the same sort of sputtering opening that Aria had, one year ago? Has Cosmo built up enough goodwill to get the benefit of the doubt if there are major snafus? It will be an interesting test of both the hotel and all of us that write about this stuff.

As for the commercial itself, I don't know what I was expecting but I wasn't totally sold. For me, it seemed a bit like they were trying too hard to establish their cool and edgy bonafides. The commercial felt a little like a live-action version of a nightclub half-pager you'd see in the Weekly or Vegas Seven. For a casino ad, it has resulted in a remarkable amount of commentary, which of course means they accomplished at least one goal.

This first ad didn't give us a look at the resort - none of it was actually shot on property. What we don't know is if they'll be following it up with more television advertising and what those spots could be like.

To my eye, the spot was squarely aimed at fun, taboo and youthful vitality (as well as those older folks desperately clinging to youth by any platinum card necessary). As we've seen in abundance since May 28th, when you target the Hard Rock / Palms crowd, it's very hard to filter who comes through your front door. Will this be a hotel full of Surrender patrons? Personally, I'm hoping the answer to that is no but we'll have to see - I bet some people are already planning how many rollaways they can get into a wrap-around.

My good friend Charles says he loved the ad. I certainly wouldn't say that. One place I do agree with him though, it's wayyyyy better than Aria's advertising.


Read archived comments (7 so far)
October 19, 2010 12:22 AM Posted by Mike E

I'm just in utter shock that the Bellagio fountains didn't make yet another cameo in their advertising.

October 19, 2010 1:58 AM Posted by mike_ch

So Mad Men ended for the season? So finally I can go a few weeks without hearing everyone talking about it? Thank you, Buddy Christ. It was quickly turning into Lost.

Unfortunately, I and everyone else who doesn't like the show are totally lost on Hunter's allegories to sexy secretaries, but the Cosmo ad reminds me a lot of the kind of really risky ad in that it does basically nothing to sell any qualities of what it's actually promoting. These kinds of ads have one or two examples of working really well (1984) and hundreds, if not thousands of examples of failures.

The commercial gives me no impression of anything Cosmo does that could not be done by any other Las Vegas hotel. You could have made a Mandalay Bay ad with what they produced there.

I would finally conclude by saying these commercials can be more important than Hunter, Chuck, Mike, and most of the Vegas Gang might think they are. To those of us who are not part of the special relationship between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, they're about all we see. There will no doubt be a big billboard and newspaper campaign across southern CA, but growing up north it's almost I can say that we always the single opening TV commercial (Luxor's live like a pharoah ad, Bellagio's the story begins ad, Steve Wynn on a tower, Aria's "whatever") but after that it's all up to the LVCVA.

I almost never go to LA myself, but simply browsing Hollywood in Google Street View I've seen tons of advertising of hotels that, here in Vegas, always seemed to have smaller ad budgets. It really is pretty impressive how they blanket Los Angelenos more than any other people in the country, and I can almost sort of see why the majority of Vegas bloggers are actually Californians and not residents as SeattleRex always griped of.

We, even as locals living next to the carnival, never were kept quite in the same loop propaganda-wise.

October 19, 2010 4:13 AM Posted by Jeff in OKC

This is probably the best blog post I've ever seen, Hunter. Outstanding composition and flow, representing an opinion I am in complete agreement with.
In my desperate attempt to cling to youth, I have already gotten the sporty car and younger wife. I was moving on to hair plugs and having my gut Lipo-sucked, when I learned my silver colored card wasn't Platinum. Rather, it was Aluminum. This has forced me to reset my sights to a man-girdle and the masculine section of Hi-Fashion Wigs. And the Riviera.

October 19, 2010 7:07 AM Posted by Phil

As someone now in their 60's, it says to me, I'm not welcome, not in words, but in visuals. I'd be curious to know what the stats are of average money spent on Vegas trips by age in ten year increments. I'd assume my generation has more money to spend and do so when on trips to Vegas, but apparantly there must be some figures out there that tell a story that is dramatically different. How many twenty somethings are out there in this economy with cash to burn, eventually with Cosmo and soon to be Drai's (Bills/Barbary Coast) they'll have to hit a limit in this target market.

October 19, 2010 7:34 AM Posted by Hunter

Mike, you're right about LA. We don't have any of that here, even as close as Santa Barbara (well, we don't have any billboards of any kind but still). Whenever I go down, I notice how prevalent those casino ads are - they're literally everywhere. I think I saw a parking garage sponsored by the Mirage Volcano once.

October 19, 2010 9:39 AM Posted by parchedearth

I understand what they are going for, but would also like to see a parallel ad campaign that is more practical and perhaps even mentions gaming and Vegas.

Already booked a wraparound terrace for mid-Jan, so I certainly hope everything comes together in time.

October 19, 2010 11:20 AM Posted by Chris77

I liked the ad a lot, but it is risky in that, like nightclub ads, what they are essentially trying to "sell" is neither the property nor the service, but people-watching and interactions with other guests.

Nightclubs live and die by this and they back it up by spending thousands of dollars on street promotions and quasi-discriminatory door policies in order to ensure that the product they advertise (a lavish party with well-dressed men and sexy girls) actually materializes on any given night.

The challenge here is that Cosmo will not have promoters nor doormen to ensure that the guests at the hotel will look or act anything like the characters in the ad. They have to hope the ads alone will succeed in pulling in a critical mass of sexy glamorous people to the point where they become part of the experience.

If it doesn't happen quickly, they will have to fill the rooms with conventioneers, fist-pumpers, and Priceline bargain-hunters. Once you start down that road, it's hard to ever become credibly fashionable again.

Cases in point: THEhotel & Palms Place - both started out with pre-opening marketing campaigns that were similar to this, but both have since abandoned them when that core market failed to materialize. Neither really have that reputation or identity any more.