Thursday, May 28, 2009

Odd McCarran Musings

There is no place more curious to someone in my job than McCarran International Airport. It is the scene of the purest and most intense promotion of Las Vegas to outsiders. What marketing messages are being foisted upon tourists upon this first blush -- and the often hard-to-decipher logic behind it -- is fascinating.

That's why I've always got my camera out to shoot new billboards that amuse me. Whether it's a push for the fishing crowd or warnings of water-cheap eateries or efforts to get you to come here to raise cattle, something usually makes me scratch my head.

Last weekend's return was no different. The billboard above is the one you see as you descend the escalator from the C and D gates to baggage. It looks harmless enough, but I noticed -- and I realize this isn't the best photography but we were moving at the time -- that it seemed like smoke was coming out of the Polo Towers. So I looked more carefully and also noticed this:

The MGM Grand logo has been blurred out! Now, I'd like to have been in that meeting when they decided to do that. "If we let it say 'MGM Grand,' people will find out what that ginormous green building is and they miht want to go there!" Right? If they wanted not to show it, couldn't they have photoshopped it out altogether? Instead, the blurriness draws attention to it.

Meanwhile, just before that escalator ride, I saw this:

Now, what's the point here? Is it a reaction to the concern that celebrity chefs have taken over Vegas and somehow harmed the food quality? And if so, who is more responsible for this than the man whose name is on the MOST Vegas restaurants? So first, where do they get off countermarketing their own existence. And secondly, if we're talking less celebrity, more chef, then maybe the photo ought not be of the most famous celebrity chef in the world? Maybe it could show the photos of the chefs who actually cook here? Or -- imagine it! -- some food?


Charles in Richmond, VA said...

The ad appears to be a Harrah's Paris LV ad which explains why they would blur out their competition.


well, i now that, but i still think blurring out obvious iconic things just attracts attention to them. especially in this case. they could've cropped the mgm out of it altogether if they wanted to.