Cimarron Freshens Image of Cirque du Soleil

LOS ANGELES Independent Cimarron Group this week introduced its first work for a joint partnership advertising Cirque du Soleil’s latest show at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas.

The 30-second television spot uses a rhythmic editing pulse and original footage of stagecraft to refresh the communication for the year-old show.

“The show features a stage that weighs as much as a 747 [jet] loaded with passengers, yet it floats around in space like a magic carpet,” said Nigel Williams, executive creative director at the Los Angeles agency. “It’s a staggering engineering achievement.”

Outdoor includes traditional billboards in Vegas; wraps at the Burbank (Calif.) Airport, where Southwest Airlines’ Vegas flights originate; and huge transparencies at McCarran Airport in Vegas and other local venues.

Local TV broke earlier in the month on broadcast outlets and on the hotel-circuit Visitor Vision, reaching nearly 70,000 rooms. Print runs in newspapers and in-flight magazines. An online effort from Cimarron, including the video in rich-media banner ads, breaks next week.

Mike Perhaes, assistant vice president of advertising at the MGM Grand, said the hotel reached out to Cimarron because of its movie-marketing specialty. He said the spot has the impact of a Hollywood film trailer and that the previous key art for the show was “too abstract. It wasn’t communicating the layered, complex performance.”

“Within 60 seconds, the spot gives you a sense of the artistry, majesty and technology woven into the production,” Perhaes said. “The stage has to be seen to be believed. It is like a cross between Jules Verne and Terry Gilliam.”

Williams said the idea of the campaign is “to bring out the scale of the show. We don’t want to tell you what to think. We make you think it.”

A two-day shoot allowed the production team to light and capture parts of the performance unseen from the theater’s seats. “Visual and sound design is huge in this area,” said Williams. “People tend to underplay audio, but half the message is sound that allows viewers to feel the action.”

Cirque du Soleil uses the Montreal agency Sid Lee (a scrambled version of the former Diesel); MGM Grand employs Cramer-Krasselt’s Phoenix office, with the Schadler-Kramer Group (now SK+G) in Vegas planning and buying media. Cirque du Soleil spent $25 million advertising in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.