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January 28, 2015

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Cosmopolitan’s jarring ad aimed at the ‘curious class’


The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ first commercial debuted during the season finale of “Mad Men” on Oct. 17.

What do hundreds of furry, little animals have to do with the Las Vegas Strip’s newest resort?

Apparently nothing, but they piqued viewer curiosity during the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ first commercial earlier this week — and that’s exactly what the resort wanted.

Just two months before its opening, the $3.9 billion hotel-casino debuted its curious and provocative TV ad during the season finale of “Mad Men” on AMC Sunday evening.

The ad was shot on a set modeled after the soon-to-open Cosmopolitan and features cultural taboos such as an elderly woman groping a much younger man, a pantsless bellhop and a dominatrix being strapped into a corset.

“We didn’t want to take the prescribed approach of showing three people at a restaurant and a few people at a slot machine. You know what’s here and we are just going to show why we are different,” Cosmopolitan Vice President of Brand Marketing Lisa Marchese said.

The naughty behavior is exactly what you’d expect at a Las Vegas resort, until a flood of kittens, rabbits and chicks enters the party scene. The 60-second ad finishes with the slogan, “Just the right amount of wrong.”

“I’ve heard lots of conjecture about what it symbolizes, but it’s really just the juxtaposition,” Marchese said of the unexpected appearance of the animals. “It’s provocative and jarring in what we hope is a good way. Even if you don’t get it, almost every person we talked to in our testing said, ‘I want to go find out more,’ and that’s really what we wanted to achieve.”

Marchese said the ad targets the curious class,” which isn’t defined by typical marketing terms.

“It’s not so much a demographic. It’s more of a shared attitude, so it defies ages and locations and incomes. But it’s a general open-mindedness. People that are creative, like new ideas, like to travel, try new restaurants — it’s that innate explorer,” Marchese said.

The ad agency behind the thought-provoking commercial is Minneapolis-based Fallon. The group is responsible for ads for brands such as Starbucks, Holiday Inn Express, Travelers and NBC Universal. Fallon is also handling Cosmopolitan’s print and online ads.

The ad will continue to run in what Marchese called “feeder markets” such as Southern California, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Marchese said the ad, which is also airing in Las Vegas, will run through the Cosmopolitan’s Dec. 15 opening and into the beginning of next year.

“We’re really proud of it. It hits all the strategic marks that we were going for,” Marchese said. “The thinking was we needed to do something breakthrough and unexpected, because I think that’s our brand.”

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  1. They actually pay people to come up with junk like this? I'm sure it will appeal to the average middle-class American. What a dud!

  2. Who knows whether this type of ad will work?
    What has worked wonderfully for Las Vegas is Deutsche Bank's decision to complete and open the Cosmopolitan.
    Let the jobs and the fun begin on December 15th.

  3. Comment removed by moderator. Removed at original poster's request.

  4. I thought the ad was great! I think the property should continue going after the adult demographic and I hope they keep the topless pool. There's a market out there of people that are post college age(25+)on up that would like to go to a place like the Hard Rock but don't want to deal with frat boys or Snookie wannabes and have no interest in winding up on a reality show. They probably have more disposable income as well.

  5. GREAT ad.
    Never underestimate the power of advertising, and this one does surely tit uh late.

  6. She's pretty hot. I'd show up just to hang out with her.

  7. Loved it.

  8. Cool ad, although with Tivo and Netflix, I rarely see them.

  9. TFowles... "the ad alarmed us..." Gimme a break!!! Take your group to Nashville then, sounds like where they belong.

    Yes, we're desperate for business, but you can't take the "edge" out of Vegas and it's not for everyone.

    I would expect the 1st Q earnings for this property, and several quarters after that, to be lackluster. It won't be a result of the ad though. I think the ad will get attention and invites one to figure out what to make of it. It's not a 20% sale ad, but a thought provoking ad. I like it...

  10. This ad is fantastic, sexy, dangerous and daring ... Exactly what Las Vegas is supposed to be.

    We have lost our way over the past 20 years. If the Cosmopolitan could actually capture this essence in its day-to-day operations, then it might save Las Vegas for those of us who love this city for everything it was. The problem is, how do you keep the curious kittens from ruining the party? In the ad, you just open the door and shove them out, but in real life, the pedestrian masses and curious kittens too often pay the bills.

    Remember, kittens, if this ad doesn't speak to you, not only are you not in the target demographic of the Cosmopolitan, you are not in the target demographic of Las Vegas. The future of Las Vegas is tomorrow!

  11. TFowles,

    The beauty of Las Vegas is that if you don't like one hotel or venue, go to another, there are plenty to choose from.

    From my own experience I can say there is no better place to have a trade show or convention when it comes to bang for the buck.

  12. logic_should_rule,

    It doesn't matter where TFowles' company holds a meeting, as long as they hold it here. :)

  13. I hate to say this but the gal in the picture holding the chick looks like one of the countless gals we have seen in Metro photos after a prostitution bust. She looks all of 17 years old in that photo. It would have been better to use a more sophisticated looking ie older female and/or male to advertise. Not some kid who just graduated (maybe) from high school.

  14. PS The kittens were the best thing in the commercial!!!

  15. <This ad is fantastic, sexy, dangerous and daring ... Exactly what Las Vegas is supposed to be>

    LOLOLOL God, advertisers LOVE people like you JamesReza! You'd buy anything regardless if it is quality or crap. It is not creative in any sense and certainly not dangerous nor daring. The Old Spice guy is more sexy, dangerous and daring than this piece of crap. It is just a "blah" commercial advertising ANOTHER upscale casino/resort in Vegas. Nothing that is going to entice your average American to rush off to Vegas and stay at the Cosmo.

    BTW - the senior citizen woman dancing with the young guy - what exactly ARE they advertising here? Escort services???

  16. Det_Munch, as a Las Vegas native, I'm qualified enough to have an opinion. Use your real name and I'll address you. And can't you find another word other than "crap"?

  17. Hey James Reza

    I lived in Vegas for 7 years. I am not totally unaware of what happens there. And let's face it: REALLY look at the commercial. WHAT are they REALLY trying to say? You have a bunch of kittens make an appearance and yet you have an 85 year old woman who is dancing with someone young enough to be her great grandchild (and do not say "maybe it is" since she grabbed his ass!!). Is that condoning escort services or male prostitution? Are they saying that every woman who visits will be able to live out their fantasies? (for a huge price of course). "Room Service" will have new meaning (just dial #69 from your room). Then of course the usual T&A featuring what looks like one of Metro's hooker busts. When an ad or commercial makes you scratch your head - you tend to wonder what they are trying to sell. As annoying as she is, we ALL know the Progressive Insurance gal is selling insurance. What IS the Cosmo trying to sell? The luxury of the hotel or just the usual Vegas stuff - stuff that is a dime a dozen in Vegas.

  18. It amazes me at the power of Las Vegas to so capture the imagination of the world that someone who doesn't live here would waste time typing twelve-hundred-plus anonymous comments criticizing Las Vegas on a Las Vegas news website. If one isn't invested, then their opinions about how we should run our city have little, if any, value.

  19. "Further note, there are at least 10 other resorts in town desperately trying to chase after wealthy 30-50 year olds who have money to burn"


    Well said. Actually your whole post was well said. The Cosmopolitan is up against incredible odds. And what do they do - produce a commercial that really doesn't sell anything but, in my opinion, the same old stuff all the other upscale hotels have just a little different spin on it, ie Grandma can pay $1000 to have a young man "accompany" her to an event (didn't realize the bingo parlors had "black tie nights") (BTW - when was the last time anyone saw people dressed as that lady, who Cosmo wants us to believe she is just a "tourist", and the guy are in that commercial at a casino ?? If people DO dress such as those portrayed, and they DO, it certainly is not because they stayed at the Cosmopolitan but are part of the local community at a private event. (Reminds me of a Two And A Half Men episode when Charlie went with his Mom to a society event!)

    Unless the hotel is going to give people a reduced air fare, an incredible room rate AND money to gamble with - it is just like any other hotel on the Strip. People already know they can act like total fools in Vegas - they just want something to lure them there so they can hire the hookers, drink themselves into oblivian and a chance at winning "THE BIG ONE". And there are plenty of hotels they can do all those things at. Cosmo is no different.

  20. Tell ya what, me an ad stating you aren't doing 6:5 blackjack and i might consider staying there.

  21. Bottom line for any advertisement is are they going to remember the message, the name of the place.

    In this case, yes they will because the advertisement is different and will attract the attention of many different types of people.

    There are to many commercials today that we remember the ad, but don't remember the product. They did a good job on this one that people are going to remember who did it.

    Wish them well, every little bit helps Vegas and that is all that counts at this point.

    Those that are reading to much into it: "hookers" and such, you have to much time on your hands with nothing to do but bash Vegas. Get over it, Vegas will come back as it has before. It always does, even without the help of the haters.

    I have been here 50+ years, I do have a clue. ;)