Prince Harry's recent nude hijinks may be an embarrassment for the British Royal Family, but for the marketers pushing Las Vegas tourism, that bare behind is a powerful sales tool.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority acted quickly in response to the leaked photos that caused a stir last week. The shots reportedly showed the consequences of a game of strip billiards young Harry engaged in, following a party in the city. The tourism board responded on Thursday, posting a "Keep Calm and Carry On Harry" poster on its Facebook and Twitter pages, in a bid to capitalize on the attention the story had received. The LVCVA also put up the poster at the Las Vegas airport.
The image was a variation on the famous posters designed during the Second World War, with a reassuring message presented underneath a drawing of King George's crown – posters that have been reimagined and copied countless times in recent years.
At the bottom of the Vegas version is the tourism logo for the city, as well as the "Know the Code" label, a reference to the gambling destination's new campaign, launched last year.
On Friday, the Visit Las Vegas campaign launched a print ad in USA Today, calling shame upon those who leaked the photo of the heir's heiny.
"For everyone's sake, it's important that 'What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas,'" Cathy Tull, the senior vice-president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said in a statement.
The ad campaign was launched last fall in an attempt to push the recovery of some lost tourism dollars. After years of steady growth in both visitors and the amount of money left on tables and in slot machines, Las Vegas tourism was hit by the economic downturn. In 2007, a record 39.2 million people visited the city, and Clark County raked in $10.87-billion (U.S.) in gambling revenue, but from 2007 to 2010, visitor volume fell 4.7 per cent, and the county's gambling revenue declined by 18 per cent. (The number of conventions held there, an all-important draw during slower periods, also fell.) Last year, visitor counts recovered much of that lost ground, though revenues had yet to return to 2005 levels.
The "Know the Code" tourism campaign began in fall 2011, asking visitors to sign an oath not to share the compromising details of their trips, and defining what content is safe for posts on Twitter and Facebook, photo sharing, and other social media activities.
The newest ad boycotts partying with the "exploiters of Prince Harry." In the statement, Ms. Tull called the ad a "cheeky reminder" of the rules. Pun most likely intended.