David Hasselhoff Plays the No-Rules Mayor of ‘Funner, California’ in This Wacky Campaign

Spoiler: it's a casino ad

Thankfully, The Hoff is not rapping ... yet. Harrah's SoCal
Headshot of Patrick Coffee

Given the glut of trailers for this weekend’s theatrical relaunch of Baywatch, one can be forgiven for thinking David Hasselhoff had settled into his role as elder statesman of the “beach babes” genre.

But The Hoff never stops. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron may be the new faces of the property that made him famous, but the former Knight Rider continues to find new ways to amuse us in his mid-60s.

Hasselhoff’s latest gig is mayor of Funner, California, a new kind of town where the old rules don’t apply.

In case you feel slightly confused, don’t worry: that was the intention all along.

Harrah’s Resort SoCal has legally changed its name to “Funner,” California. The word may be fake, but the place is very real.

Just ask its unofficial mayor and its website, which also happens to be your home base for all things Harrah’s SoCal. To further emphasize its own status as an actual town (for tax purposes, one assumes), Funner also appears on Google Maps and TripAdvisor, without which many Americans would have no idea whether any particular place had ever really existed.

This is all part of an elaborate campaign by San Diego agency i.d.e.a., which chose The Hoff as a symbol of all the things casino fans really love, from seaside horse rides to worn-out actors whose careers as walking punchlines have lasted far longer than anyone ever thought they would or should.

In addition to the launch video above, this project also includes print, radio, digital, social and out-of-home components including roadside signs marking the distance to Funner.

For the brand work, i.d.e.a turned guest reviews of Harrah’s, aka Funner, into their own equally ridiculous themed spots.

Hasselhoff may not have been directly involved, but his spirit inspires these shorts.

“We couldn’t be happier about the continued evolution of our brand, thanks to our partnership with i.d.e.a and the creation of Funner,” said Darrell Pilant, svp and general manager of Harrah’s Resort SoCal. “The creativity, collaboration, and support they continue to provide have helped transform our resort in both marketing and operations, not just a typical advertising campaign.”

“When I was tapped to become mayor I knew I was the guy for the job because, honestly, who’s funner than The Hoff? I am going to make Harrah’s Resort SoCal a funner place for all,” the not-real mayor said in a statement. “No one will be left behind.”

Is someone so jealous of The Rock that he’s thinking of running for national office? Let us all disabuse him of that notion as quickly as possible.


Agency: i.d.e.a.
Client: Harrah’s Resort SoCal
Campaign: “Funner, California”

SVP/GM + Purveyor of Fun: Darrell Pilant
VP, Assistant GM: Radley Medina
VP of Marketing: Beau Swanson
Brand Manager: Amber Lussier

Creative Director: Scott “ScoJo” Johnson
Associate Creative Director: Austin Lane
Associate Creative Director: Joe Nafziger
Chief Creative Officer: Ryan Berman
Executive Creative Director: Daniel Andreani
Senior Video Editor: Mario Rivera
Production Manager: Jihan Elgibali
Chief Relationships Officer: Jon Bailey

VP, Account Management: Nathan Smith
Supervisor, Account Management: Amanda Duncan
Senior Manager, Account Management: Sarah Lipton
Supervisor, Project Management: Lizzie Schwager
Manager, Project Management: Annie Tomasek
SVP, Account Planning: Amy Winhoven

Production: Burbank Gamma Ray
Director: Dugan O’Neal
Executive Producer: Sue Yeon Ahn
Producer: Benjamin Gilovitz

Editing: Hutch Co

Color: MPC

Sound Design: Beacon Street Studios

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.