business news in context, analysis with attitude


  • Just back from Las Vegas this morning, where we had the opportunity make a couple of presentations. As always, we find Las Vegas to be more foreign to us than some cities in other countries. Part of it is the fact that we don’t gamble, so much of the experience is lost on us. (We walked by the quarter slot machines, fished in our pocket, found two quarters, lost them both, and was done with it. “What happens is Vegas stays in Vegas…”)

    Actually, this raises an interesting marketing point. Vegas has had an fascinating marketing history, moving from its gangster roots to its Rat Pack heyday, then moving into its Disney-esque phase, and now back into more of an adult approach. Hence, the advertising slogan, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

    But the interesting thing is that the city has managed to change its image so quickly, to the point where we must have heard dozens of people use that ad slogan in casual conversation. It was like the joke that everyone was in on…which sounds to us like a pretty successful marketing effort.

    There are other ways in which Vegas is noteworthy, though. Walk into any casino, and there’s this odd smell in the air…and it takes a moment or two before you realize that it is tobacco – making Vegas perhaps the only place left in the US where you can smoke indoors without fear of retribution, and where second-hand cancer comes free of charge.

    And it’s got to be one of the few places in America where the hotel can upgrade you to a suite…but there’s no in-room coffee pot. (There was, however, a fully stocked bar. Ring-a-ding, baby.)

    And finally, Vegas is this amazing place where many of the household names seem to be familiar only to households there. Out jogging early one morning, we were struck by how many enormous billboards and posters were devoted to supposedly major stars that we’d never heard of, but who apparently are headliners in Vegas. Who, for example, is Danny Gans? And why does he get a bigger poster than Celine Dion (who at least we’ve heard of)?

    And by the way, in case you didn’t know – David Brenner is alive and well and playing a small room at the Hilton.

    At least his name we recognized…

  • While everyone else spends their money at the gaming tables, we went right to one of two restaurants owned by Emeril Lagasse in Las Vegas. At Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House in the MGM Grand Hotel, we enjoyed a wonderfully rich Seafood Gumbo, a Grilled Sweet Barbeque Atlantic Salmon on a Homemade Andouille Sausage and Potato Hash with Spicy Onion Crust, and washed it all down with a fantastic 2001 "Provocateur" Pinot Noir from the JK Carriere vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley (which was hearty enough to stand up to the gumbo without overwhelming the salmon).

    Amazing what we’ll do to ward off prostate cancer and heart disease.


Have a good weekend. Sláinte!!
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