e-marketing 101: don’t give competitors free pub.

Even before I moved to Las Vegas, I was quite enamored with the travel and tourism out here. It’s big business and is plenty of fun to be a part of it. While most people know I’ve been a public relations professional since about 1997, what you may not know is I also have three years experience in the gaming industry. I was a dealer and supervisor in the MIdwest at a riverboat casino for about 2-1/2 years and capped it off by working about five months as a dice dealer at a major resort on The Strip. I’ve long since retired my dealing hands, but I still enjoy keeping in tune with the industry.

Being a PR/marketing/copywriting guy with a flair for the gaming industry, I like to pay attention to their marketing materials. It’s usually run-of-the-mill stuff. But on this occasion, a week ago, I received a mailer that stopped me dead in my tracks.

Before I continue, let me be clear of one thing: I am not being catty. I like to recognize good marketing as well as marketing that could be better. This is an example of marketing that could be better. I base my judgment on my 12 years of experience as well as being a consumer.

E-marketing Blunder
I recently received an email from the Venetian/Palazzo, advertising their pool.

11016075_10101529189858334_69310403391402350_nLooks pretty swanky, no? I’ve stayed at both the Venetian and Palazzo and have met people who work there. I have nothing but kind things to say about the people and love the properties. However, if I’m in charge of e-marketing for these properties, I never would’ve sent this email.

Can you guess why? Look again. What do you see in the middle of the image? The Wynn and Encore looming over the Palazzo’s pool. Wynn’s properties are neighboring competitors. Even though the logos were Photoshopped off the buildings, architecture is as much a part of the resort’s brand as its logo. In my mind, this is a huge no-no.

If I’m a marketing manager with the Venetian or Palazzo, that last thing I’m going to do is give potential customers any image that will make them think of a competitor. Here, Steve Wynn’s resorts are getting free exposure.

Am I being nitpicky? Perhaps. But if I’m a marketing manager, that’s my job. I’m going to use images that are 100 percent my property instead of handing over 30 percent of the visual real estate to a competitor. Whomever designed this mailer should’ve selected an image that shows Palazzo’s pool and nothing else.

For those who argue it’s no big deal, here’s why I say it is: would McDonald’s advertise its Big Mac with a Burger King restaurant visible in the background? No.

Here’s an image from an email I received from the Mirage in the same week.

10995817_10101529729506874_6352070003681187430_nSee what they did? They made the image all about the resort and no others. Even though Treasure Island and Caesars Palace sandwich the Mirage, you don’t see that in this image because they don’t want your attention diverted off their property for one second. Did they take artistic license? Of course, but that’s not a bad thing with advertising.

I’ll be curious to see the next round of e-marketing materials from Venetian/Palazzo. Hopefully they don’t give Steve Wynn more free advertising.

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Filed under analysis, Las Vegas, public relations

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