Why Go to Vegas for Horseplay?

LOS ANGELES Playing off the “What happens here stays here” Las Vegas tourism theme, RPA is urging young male Californians to try their luck at local horse tracks.

A three-spot campaign breaks this week to coincide with the start of racing season here.

In one commercial, a woman wakes up and discovers a “Misty” tattoo on her sleeping husband. When she interrogates him and doesn’t get an immediate answer, she slaps him and storms off. The voiceover: “Unfortunately, some things don’t stay in Vegas.” The spot then shows the man having fun at the track with his buddies, along with action footage. The narrator continues, “For more fun and less trouble, come to the track. You’re this close to winning.”

A second scenario shows an office drone being pursued by a woman who says she “can’t stop thinking” about him since their convention in Vegas. Exchanging furtive glances with her, he’s embarrassed further to see that a co-worker has discovered their secret.

In the third spot, a man answers the doorbell to see a provocatively dressed woman, luggage at her feet, who bounds into his arms. “Oh, Dan, it was so hard to find you!” Dan’s wife appears in the background to say, “Honey, who’s that?” The visitor asks, “Is that your sister?”

Larry Postaer, principal, ecd of RPA in Santa Monica, Calif., creatives Mark Erwin and Pat Mendelson, and producer Gary Paticoff developed the campaign. Erich Joiner of Tool and cinematographer Robert Richardson (The Horse Whisperer, The Aviator) also worked on the spots.

Alan Landsburg, director of the Thoroughbred Owners of California and a friend of Postaer, commissioned the work. “We got talking about the dilemma they face of the aging racetrack aficionado,” Postaer said. “Alan asked if we could break the code on how to enliven and youth-ify the track crowd.”

After researching the subject, Postaer said the agency decided to target the “occasional gambler, the guy who goes to a poker game once in awhile and goes to Vegas four of five times a year.”

“It seemed like something that young men could relate to and maybe even had seen in their lives,” said Mendelson. “The trip to Vegas could come back to haunt you.”

Erwin said the “You’re this close to winning” tag hints at the proximity of Southern California tracks to a populous facing heavy traffic en route to Las Vegas.