We just spent a week in Las Vegas. I haven’t been there in
est. 35 years, so let me say that there have been a few changes. Actually, there
have been a lot changes. I remember the old LV. The new LV with the over-the-top
Strip is just that—way over the top.
As a marketing professional, I wandered around this sea of
superlatives thinking about promotion, which is what this town is all about. How
do these masters of spin promote their hotels, shows and casinos when they are
really all the same. The appeal is formulaic: a hotel, a casino, restaurants at
a range of price points (most with huge portions–this is a hungry and very
large crowd in all ways) a lot of stores selling cheap souvenirs and a lot of
completely empty stores selling really expensive merchandise that nobody can
afford to buy.
Everything is bigger than life, open 24/7 and very, very
artificial. There’s the excess of the Bellagio and its truly magnificent fountain,
the Luxor which is supposed to make you think you’ve just gotten back from
Egypt and the Venetian trying to convince you that you don’t need to go to
Italy because it’s been recreated right here in LV. Huge, amorphous complexes,
endless rows of pinball machines manned by solitary souls pumping cheap booze
and smoking endless cigarettes.
Even the heat is over the top–100 degrees outside, so hot
it takes your breath away. Walk indoors and it’s so cold you’re quickly freezing.
You can never get comfortable in Las Vegas, and maybe that’s what it’s really