Harrah’s New Orleans Bows, but Not in ‘bama

Mayer Creates Casino’s Introductory Message for Most of South
NEW ORLEANS–Harrah’s kicks off a grand opening campaign this week for its new casino here.
Harrah’s is already mentioned in spots aired nationally by the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp., thanks to its $1 million contribution to the ad budget. This Peter A. Mayer Advertising campaign, airing on the heels of parent Harrah’s Entertainment’s initial $30 million image blitz, shows viewers how closely this 100,000-square-foot casino, set to open Oct. 28, wants to be identified with New Orleans.
Since Harrah’s began bidding for Louisiana’s only land-based casino in the early 1990s, it was clear the gaming operator appreciated the Big Easy. New Orleans’ themes of the Mardi Gras, French Quarter courtyards and Magnolia-shrouded cafƒs have dominated Harrah’s remodeling efforts and new properties since then.
With the lessons learned from the 1995 bankruptcy of Harrah’s temporary casino here, the new management team of the permanent site helped fine-tune the ad message.
Mayer’s two 30-second spots, supported by outdoor, radio and print, will run throughout the South for the rest of 1999. The New Orleans shop’s message that Harrah’s is “where the action is” does not presuppose that it is one of the city’s the main attractions. Instead, Harrah’s strives to be “just one more reason to love New Orleans.”
Sources estimate the ad budget for the grand opening is $5-10 million; nearby competitor Mirage’s Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss., is said to have spent $30 million on its March opening.
Like the national ads, the New Orleans spots show people playing blackjack, which was forbidden outside Nevada until the Supreme Court struck down the FCC ban last June. The client’s national campaign is the first to take advantage of the ruling. Alabama broadcasters, however, have declined to air Harrah’s New Orleans’ TV spots.