Casino Chain: Dealing Out Its Creative Work

By Kathy Tyrer

LOS ANGELES–Stations Casinos, a Las Vegas-based chain of gaming establishments, is launching a search for shops to handle creative duties on a project basis.

‘We’re looking for mostly West Coast agencies, creative boutiques or design houses that are interested in developing that kind of relationship,’ said Michael McNabb, the head of Stations Advertising, the casino’s in-house ad agency.

McNabb will exclude Nevada-based agencies from his list but is including several Texas shops, he said.

The founder of McNabb DeSoto & Salter of Houston, McNabb opened offices in Las Vegas and Kansas City, Mo., several years ago to service the casino chain. The agency was acquired by Stations on April 1 and became the company’s in-house ad unit. McNabb was named vice president of advertising for the casino.

Stations recently opened a $240 million property in Las Vegas, prompting the in-house agency to look for outside advertising help, sources said.

The casino chain operates four establishments located off the Las Vegas strip that are geared to local customers. It runs similar properties in Kansas City and St. Charles, Mo.

‘We’re in a different kind of marketing situation than the strip hotels,’ McNabb explained. ‘It’s a far more retail-oriented approach.’

Despite the retail focus, the project assignments will be geared toward developing an image for the Stations brand. Advertising will primarily involve local print media, though TV and radio will likely be a part of the mix, McNabb said.

Stations spends roughly $10 million on media advertising each year, according to McNabb. Media planning and buying are handled in-house.

In addition to the image assignment, Stations is also looking for project agencies to handle promotional duties, said Stations associate creative director Jennifer Lund.

The first promotion will role out in August. The first image work will likely break in September.

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