Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Marketing 'Sin' Becomes Scapegoat; Now That IS A Sin

In Sin City image repels corporate relocation, Brian Wargo reports that Las Vegas' sin marketing, "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas," may be good for tourism but it's an "impediment in luring corporate headquarters to Southern Nevada." This according to a white paper released by the Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies.

Unfortunately, it's not true.

I myself was intrigued by the idea of marketing gone awry ~ after all, targeting one market (in this case tourism) can negatively impact another, and heaven knows 'sin' and escapism isn't exactly a pull for corporate America. But once I read the article, it's rather clear that the issue isn't Vegas' tourism marketing efforts.

Let's look at what other issues/facts the article (and, presumably, the white paper) reveal:

* cost of living is currently at 110% of the national average

* housing is more expensive than 40 other markets

* "nothing" in the way of cultural amenities (such as theaters, performing arts and a good quality of life)

* "off the chart" crime

* continued increases in out-migration

* wages not keeping pace with the rising cost of living

* lack of decent schools

* transportation problems

* a lack of land for commercial use; land prices

* a lack of quality contractors and the casino industry, which outbids all competitors for contractors

What a list of concrete practical problems. Clearly the Vegas/Sin image isn't the problem here. At least not the only one.

While I am sure companies consider the adult playground image, it isn't as vital as asking employees to take a cut in quality of life and paying a decent wage for good employees. (In the article one executive is quoted as saying, "We have service employees coaching their kids to be valet parkers who can make $100,000 a year." That's got to affect your potential employee pool and the bottom line at hiring time.) Not to mention the problems with finding and building your physical location.

One of the round table members was correct when they said, "This is not an image issue, it is a reality issue. We can't keep talented people in the valley because there are no arts, no alternatives and no transportation." Though they should have added the other major problems to the list, at least they acknowledged that the image problem was not created by tourism marketing.

But I guess blaming sin makes for much better headlines. It sure is popular to point fingers at others, especially at the "haves" when you're the "have nots." And it must be easier to blame a successful marketing campaign than it is to create better schools, deal with your economy issues, your housing market, crime and transportation... But will this solve your problems?

The hysterical cries of sin as the wolf won't save your sheep.

Make no mistake, this article is obviously using the 'sex and sin' slant to sell copy. Look at the image they use ~ the quote reads: Exotic dancers freshen up in the unisex bathroom of Seamless Gentlemen's Club last year.

In doing so, the publication does a disservice to its readers. If a person just reads the headline, or stopped reading after the 4th paragraph ~ as many do because in standard newspaper format, all the info is at the top and the rest is just (supposed to be) details to back it up ~ they'd believe this pile of propaganda.

They'd believe that the marketing campaign to tourists was to blame for Las Vegas' corporate recruitment difficulties.

And that's false.

So here's yet another example of using 'sex to sell' ~ but in a very dirty way. They are not only luring folks with their lurid headlines, but they're intentionally misrepresenting the story, the issue. They are lying.

Along with misrepresenting themselves to readers this poor marketing attempt entirely misses the very readers who would have an interest in ~ ideas regarding ~ the real issues which face Las Vegas.

Talk about a repelling image.

As an adult industry professional, I am truly disgusted by things like this.

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