For a while, Las Vegas tried to position itself as a family friendly destination but gave that up a few years ago to bring back the idea of Vegas as Sin City. This was epitomized in the “What happens here stays here” campaign.
This campaign was very successful… Now Vegas might even be thinking that it was too successful.
You see, Vegas is not just Sin City. Its also Business Convention City. That unfortunately was not part of the branding campaign so all people think of is Sin City.
So, not totally surprisingly last week President Obama said “You can’t get corporate jets. You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer’s dime.” Of course he did, the city does not advertise how many conventions it hosts. Just that you shouldn’t talk about what goes on when you are in town to attend them.
The “shocked” (as in: shocked, shocked that gambling is going on here) mayor is demanding an apology and retraction.
What can we learn here? First, the “What happens here stays here” campaign did not reflect the total Las Vegas story. And the lesson that if your brand does not reflect your true or full story, sooner or later it will come back to burn you.