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R&R Gains $320 Mil. Vegas Tourism Extension

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LOS ANGELES The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority voted today to extend its contract with R&R Partners for five more years, the LVCVA confirmed.

The decision comes after the Las Vegas-based independent presented a recap of the work created over the last five years and provided suggestions to the LVCVA board of directors about future marketing strategy. R&R has worked with the LVCVA since 1980. Its current contract was to expire in June 2004. The LVCVA had said it would decide whether to launch a review or extend its contract with R&R following the presentation.

While the LVCVA's advertising budget stems from room tax revenue, client executive vice president Rossi Ralenkotter estimated billings at $320 million over the next five years. The board also voted to include a clause that would enable the LVCVA to extend the contract for an additional five years.

R&R CEO Billy Vassiliadis, chief strategic officer Mary Ann Mele, vice president and creative director Randy Snow and executive vice president Rob Dondero led the presentation.

According to Vassiliadis, the shop recommended continuing the "Vegas stories" campaign, which broke earlier this year and is tagged, "What happens here, stays here." Other suggestions included increasing ethnic marketing, particularly for Southern California Hispanics, focusing international efforts on Mexico and Canada, expanding the LVCVA's Internet presence and increasing efforts aimed at business travelers, he said.

Ralenkotter said the LVCVA chose to extend its contract with R&R because the shop has adapted to changes in the tourism climate brought about by 9/11, the economy, SARS, war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and increased competition to create "research-driven campaigns" that have been "right on target."

R&R's next wave of "Vegas stories" ads is expected to break in early 2004.