Monday, November 07, 2005

Today's essay question: is pole dancing helping or hurting Las Vegas?

If you're going to write an article about the stagnant state of Vegas tourism, wouldn't you naturally title it "Crapped Out?" No? Well then. There's good reason I toil in anonymity.

But back to Vegas. Business is good. It's just not growing at double-digit rates and, with everybody and their ex-wife building a high-rise, that means vacancies.

If there's a city that people should be flocking to, it's Vegas, right? There's the high-profile ad campaign. One, no, three TV series are set there. It's a gossip column staple. And now Vegas, so in need of venues for self-employed models, will be home to a new Playboy Club -- complete with updated bunny costumes.

In fact, we're a nation awash in Vegas promotional messages. And still Indian casinos -- with not even half the publicity -- have "accounted for about 40 percent of nationwide casino revenues" some years. So what's the solution? Because I'm pretty sure it sure can't be more advertising.


Zen Wizard said...

I would think that both the professional and the compulsive gambler would opt for a casino closer to their home, from both an economic and a time-investment standpoint.

The proliferation of TV shows might be a reflection of the relative ease with which you can shoot there--i.e., the climate and the ability to lease locations--rather than the ACTUAL glamor or intrigue of the city.

The advertising probably "works," but MORE advertising would probably even backfire--making the city seem desparate for business.

They simply just don't have a monopoly on the gambling vice anymore--so the solution is not an easy one, if there even is one.

Zen Wizard said...

ADDENDUM--I just clicked on the Playboy thing.

I worked at the Lansing Hilton when I was at MSU, and the Playboy Club there in the last days of its existence was really sad.

I don't see HOW it would possibly fly--it is simply an anachronism as a voyeuristic vehicle in these days of thong bikinis.

Maybe there is something in the nostalgia factor that is enough to make it work...

Irene Done said...

You're right. (Of course. You ARE a wizard.) Any gambler anywhere only has to drive a few hours to find a boat or reservation with a casino, which is why Vegas' campaign focuses on everything but gambling. They're selling the Sin City atmosphere. And the resorts add to that with celebrity "sightings," events and TV deals like Caesar's 24/7. So if you run down your advertising scorecard, you have to check all the boxes. They're doing everything right. The solution would seem to be some kind of clamp-down on overdevelopment. The city is just overbuilding and the growth rate of the tourist business can't keep up. Maybe the double-digit rates of the last few years were not the boom it seemed -- just a sudden return to steady growth after 9/11.

And it is my fondest hope that Playboy has at last become an obsolete brand. Not because I have any morals but rather I feel Hugh Hefner to be maybe the grossest person alive.

Zen Wizard said...

It's interesting what you say about Hugh Hefner being "maybe the grossest person alive."

I am highly interested in females' reactions to him--there is very little middle ground.

I had a very young female employee who would wax poetic about how attractive Hugh Hefner is. When I asked her why, she said, "'Cause he's Hugh Hefner!"

(I don't need my Wizardry to tell me that's circular logic.)

The bottom-line, however, is that he is an octagenarian who is always trailed by six of what most American males would consider, "incredibly beautiful women." (With our admittedly Nordic-cum-Hollywood standard of beauty.)

Of further confusion to me is that from the females' point of view, being one of "Hef's girls" would not be that great of a "career move"--there time would be much better spent--from a purely pecuniary perspective--trying to get REALLY HOT in COMMERCIALS, and then getting residuals forever.

I can name two Playmates who went on to something else: Barbi Benton and Dorothy Stratten, and the latter didn't exactly have a life to be envied.

Ironically, it is better to be a "sorta hot" Procter & Gamble housewife who has an exclusive part in a series of commercials--both from the standpoint of pure income; and, speculatively, if in fact to be one of "Hef's Girls" you have to be ONE OF THE WOMEN--not THE WOMAN, mind you--who is "doing" an eighty year-old guy.

Why wouldn't it be better to be just some even richer guy's EXCLUSIVE mistress? I realize that is an oxymoron, because after HIS WIFE you would be the "other woman," but at least you could negotiate being the ONLY other woman.

And I get thwarted in a singles' bar with the "You're old enough to be my dad"-line. (They sometimes come up to me unsolicited and say that, which I still haven't figured out. "Hi! I saw you standing here minding your own business, so I thought I'd come over and insult you!")

So maybe part of my analysis is based on the "green-eyed monster." It is comforting in America, however, to know that you can overcome "grotesque geezerdom" by acquiring enough zeros in your checkbook--at least with a certain class of female.