MGM Resorts Picks McCann and PHD to Reveal What Happens In Vegas

By Patrick Coffee 

At some point before you left the office for the holiday with visions of drumsticks dancing in your heads, MGM International completed its dual creative/media agency reviews, awarding the business to McCann and Omnicom’s PHD, respectively.

Back in September, MGM reps told us that the company had solicited an RFI from full-service creative shops “that would encompass representation of all of our Las Vegas brands including Delano and Mandalay Bay.” MGM gave the usual explanation: the decision was made in the interest of consolidation and did not reflect upon the work of its then-current agency partners.

Or, as the release puts it:


“This move comes as part of MGM Resorts’ overall efforts to optimize the company’s scale and partner with best-in-class agencies leveraging advertising and marketing activities to drive differentiation and consumer engagement.”

It’s also an extension of the company’s business with McCann, whose Motor City office won AOR duties for MGM Grand Detroit back in April.

Prior to this review, MGM did not retain a creative AOR for many of its Vegas-based properties, relying instead on in-house shop Mirage Advertising to create most of its campaigns. This review, however, does end MGM’s relationship with RPA of Santa Monica, which previously led creative for the Delano and Mandalay Bay properties and also handled media buying and marketing duties for the Luxor and Excalibur resorts in the past.

R&R Partners, the agency behind the “What Happens in Vegas” slogan (if not the 2008 Ashton Kutcher rom-com), will continue to run media for the properties not involved in this review, and back in July the company picked the Vegas-based shop to promote its National Harbor casino, which is set to open in 2016 in Maryland. But sources tells us that PHD now replaces R&R on all the Vegas brands, which make up the lion’s share of the account. We’ve reached out to the latter for comment but have yet to receive a response.

In the release, McCann managing director Devika Bulchandani–who was promoted to president of MasterCard unit XBC last July–says she is “thrilled and honored to be awarded strategic and creative responsibilities for MGM Resorts.”

Sources tell us that the final competitors in the creative review were McCann, BBDO and Cramer-Krasselt and that the account will be run out of McCann’s New York offices.

New campaigns focusing on the Grand Detroit and a dozen Vegas-area properties will launch in 2016.