What Happens in Vegas…

NEWS | 12 April 2024

From U2’s mind-bending residency at the Sphere – to the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix and Super Bowl LVIII – Las Vegas is pulling out all the stops as the location of choice for the world’s greatest events. Senior Account Director & Head of the 2Heads Canada Office, Nadine Susel visits this heart of entertainment and asks, ‘why Las Vegas?’

Vegas Baby! Without fail I’ve found myself in Sin City at least once a year for longer than I care to admit. The lights, the sights – like so many I have a special place in my heart for this wild desert oasis.

It’s impossible to ignore Las Vegas’ resurgence over the past year. She’s a city committed to staying attractive and relevant in a time when influencer reviews can make or break a brand overnight. But then what exactly do brands have to gain by activating in Las Vegas?

The Sphere

“The Sphere? Didn’t notice it when we landed” – said no one! The largest spherical building in the world is unmissable, even in a crowded Vegas skyline. I had the bucket-list worthy honour of seeing U2:UV Achtung Baby Live in October and yes, the completely immersive visuals (coupled with exceptional sound quality) have forever changed my expectations of live entertainment. The exterior of the Sphere immediately became a must-have for major brand takeovers – Netflix, Coca-Cola and Xbox to name just a few! During their AU23 conference, software giant Autodesk joined forces with Marvel Studios to use the Sphere and nearby rooftop for a truly out-of-this-world movie promo. Having been onsite for AU23, I have to say the buzz for keynote speaker (and fellow Canadian) Ryan Reynolds, combined with the Sphere takeover, was the talk of the town!

The Super Bowl

The Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix was the fifth North American race in the 2023 season – further validation that the sport is enjoying massive growth and visibility this side of the pond. As an F1 fan myself, (yes it was Drive to Survive that turned me,) I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to see this one in person. The sheer logistical lift of transforming the Strip into a 200-mph straightaway while maintaining crowd flow and transportation would send any event person into a cold sweat. (Of excitement? Terror? You decide).

In the days leading up to that infamous Saturday night, Vegas was all in on F1. Love it or hate it – the Opening Ceremony showcased the sizzle of Sin City with hotels rolling out the red carpet for private viewing events and each property competing for attention in a cacophony of A-list celebrity talent. I was lucky enough to be invited by one of our local Montreal partners to watch the race from Caesar’s Palace. Witnessing Verstappen’s dominance while enjoying caviar blinis in great company from the rooftop made famous by the Hangover? Only in Vegas.

Las Vegas Grand Prix

Taylor Swift’s race around the world to witness her beau and the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory over the 49ers brought all eyes back to Vegas this past February. In a city built for hosting, Vegas went all in on hospitality lounges, pre-game brand activations and epic after parties. Allegiant Stadium offered outrageously expensive sponsorship packages to brands who were more than happy to shell out seven-figures to be close to the action. Did anyone miss Usher’s halftime performance? If you did, I’m sure you caught up on social media after frantically googling if Beyoncé’s Verizon ad truly was an album teaser.

Similar to the Las Vegas Grand Prix, the Super Bowl took place in the heart of the city. This gave brands the Blank Space to create their ultimate fan Love Story – a captive audience committed to engaging with brands beyond their Wildest Dreams. OK! But in all seriousness the Super Bowl is a master class in timing; providing companies with the flexibility to create a branded environment in downtown Las Vegas, one that amplifies both your social media and media campaigns; that’s a win every time.

Consumer Electronic Show

Last stop on my Vegas year in review: CES – the proving ground for breakthrough technologies and global innovators. Based exclusively in the Las Vegas Convention Center since 2008, there is something about the energy and excitement of CES that truly makes it the most powerful tech event in the world. When the serious business of innovating leans in to the scale and showmanship of Las Vegas, the industry has a chance to let it’s hair down! It’s a show I take massive inspiration from, noting the design and guest engagement trends I want to discuss with our clients, all while getting my steps in.

To share a few of those notes: this year the Sphere’s influence was apparent, with many brands opting for large scale high-resolution bespoke content – purposefully designed to create stunning optical illusions (or trompe-l’œil as we say in French.)

Brands like Google focused on a personalized end-to-end guest experience, relying on exceptional brand ambassadors and detailed set design to create unique fan engagement zones.

The biggest and best surprise for me at CES this year (no I’m not going to say AI) was how media and entertainment brands showed up in a huge way. Disney held it’s annual Tech & Data Showcase during the show, and Netflix created an exclusive immersive theatre trailer for 3 Body Problem complete with replica headsets from the show. Watch this space for what I am sure will be an even bigger presence in 2025.

But Nadine, what exactly do brands have to gain by activating in Vegas?

The answer is simple: attention – and lots of it!

Las Vegas has taken all of the drama, performance and excitement that she has – and offered it as a stage to the world. Whether you’re a brand looking to push the boundaries of entertainment, create brand worlds that fans love, or amplify all of the above via a multi-channel multi-million dollar campaign – Vegas has everything you need to make it happen in a big way. Personally I can’t wait to see what’s next – and I hope to see you there!

Nadine xoxo