Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sexy Las Vegas ads too much for locals

Imagine your kids seeing billboards like this every morning on their way to school. Images like the one on the left for Studio 54 were the genesis for one viewer, and UNLV professor, to write about them in the latest issue of Journal of Promotion Management.

Erika Engstrom, a professor in UNLV's Greenspun College, describes in her article a few of the sexually provocative billboards promoting Las Vegas clubs and casinos. Some of those ads for the Hard Rock Casino feature barely clad models and unmistakable double endendre. For example, one billboard features a pair of panties lowered around a woman's calves. The headline reads: "Get ready to buck all night."

Another Hard Rock casino billboard features two women in a tight embrace and the headline: "Looser than your girlfriend. Play slots at Hardrock Casino." Engstrom describes how in 2004 several complaints from the community prompted the Nevada Gaming Commission to fine Hard Rock over $100,000 for the sexually provocative ads.

"What happens here, stays here," but for the million or so citizens not on mission to create memories or directly involved in the gaming and entertainment industries, blatant sex in advertising--especially when it's on a billboard for many to see--can cross the line. Certainly this is true in most American cities, but Las Vegas is a place where tourism (33 million people visit Vegas each year) and good taste can collide. Check out Erika's article in JPM.

Erika Engstrom (2007), "Selling with Sex in Sin City: The Case of the Hard Rock Hotel Casino," Journal of Promotion Management, 13 (1/2), 169-188.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: Sugar, Spice, and.... Seal

A crooning Seal was the highlight of tonight's six annual Victoria's Secret fashion show aired on CBS. The program's finale featured Seal on the catwalk serenading the VS supermodels with his single "Amazing" as they showed off this season's "lingerie."

Who would've traded places with Seal several years ago when he was showcased on an episode of VH1's "Where are they now?" Today, he's back on track as Klum's beau and a featured guest on this year's fashion show. Posh and the Spice Girls also were on hand to do a number from their reunion tour.

The addition of well-known performers is a welcome boost from last year's emphasis on the models' personal lives. As the ratings come in, we'll have a better idea how this year's show stacked up. The annual fashion show has been steadily losing viewers.