The Branding Of Nevada


Las Vegas News Bureau

We all know some of the most famous – and catchy – product slogans:

 “Melts in your mouth, Not in Your Hands” - M&Ms, of course.

“Just do it” – That’s Nike.

“Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There” – Well, that speaks for itself.

If a state wants to market itself – well, a good slogan can work for that, too.

 “Beyond Your Dreams. Within Your Reach” – That’s Alaska.

“Great Faces, Great Places” - South Dakota.

Then there’s Nevada."A World Within. A State Apart”

But the state has decided to keep that as a statewide brand for all state departments, but focus more on the "Don't Fence Me In" campaign for marketing the state to the rest of the world. 

Travel Nevada has hired a new marketing firm, which started in July. It will take that focus and create a new campaign.

Bethany Drysdale with the Nevada Department of Tourism says the "Don't Fence Me In" idea resonates with people and it ties in with Las Vegas now iconic  “What Happens Here, Stays Here.”

"This is the place where you can come be what you want to be, do what you want, explore where you want to go and what happens here, stays here," she said.

Support comes from

It was the team at R&R Partners that came up with the "What Happens Here" slogan. CEO of R&R Partners Billy Vissiliadis told KNPR's State of Nevada that a good marketing campaign is about emotion.

"For me, it is not so much about the slogan but about the expression of truth," he said, "It's the expression of what the consumers are feeling emotionally. What their connection is and then what the product can deliver."  

He said the "Don't Fence Me In" slogan goes to that feeling of adventure and discovery, which is what travels want. 

Nevada is no longer the only place in the country to gamble so Vissiliadis said it is important to make an emotional connection with travelers and highlight what makes the state different. 

The idea of marketing Nevada and Las Vegas goes back decades even before the megaresorts and huge nightclubs we have today.

David Schwartz is a historian and director of the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV Libraries.

He said even in the 20s Nevada and Las Vegas were trying to draw people in but after World War 2 the marketing of the city as a place to have fun really took off.

"The big slogan was 'Come As You Are,'" he said, "And it really was based on the fact that Nevada and Las Vegas, in particular, was going to be a less fancy place to go."

He said it was not going to be like going to Paris or London, but a place that anyone could go to and feel welcome. 

During the mid-50s when the atomic testing was going on, Nevada actually marketed itself as a place to come and see the mushroom clouds over the desert floor. 

In the 70s, high rollers from other places around the world started to come to Las Vegas, Schwartz said, and that is when the city started to market itself to the world.

Now, Vissiliadis said the marketing of the city and the state goes on between visitors through social media. 

"Word of mouth is now word of thumb and it's at light speed," he said, which is why execution of the new "Don't Fence Me In" campaign is going to be extremely important.


David Schwartz, historian, Director of the Center for Gaming Research, UNLV Libraries; Bethany Drysdale, Chief Communications Officer, Nevada Department of Tourism; Billy Vassiliadis, CEO, R&R Partners



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