What happened in Vegas? The use of destination branding to influence place attachments

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Grillot, Kateri M.
Huxman, Susan Schultz

In 2000, the city of Las Vegas broke away from traditional tourism marketing and started using the destination brand of “adult freedom” in their promotional campaigns. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority not only changed the way they promoted the city of Las Vegas but more importantly, in 2003, changed the way Americans communicate about the city, with the often quoted, “what happens here, stays here” slogan. Las Vegas’ success was examined to glean insights into this rhetorical strategy and into how destination brands impact place attachments. This study draws from the works of Campbell & Jamieson in advertising, Campbell & Huxman in rhetoric and Altman & Low in place attachment theory in examining the campaign’s context, television spots, and portrayal in the media through critical discourse analysis of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority campaigns from 2000-2006. Employing methods of literature review, textual analysis and content analysis this study revealed several theoretical implications for theories in communication and anthropology. The analysis highlights a return to core forms of communication to understand destination branding, the role of participation in brand construction, and suggests the incorporation of place attachment theory into destination branding research. In addition, this study identified key phases of destination brand construction as well as critical probes useful in destination brand evaluation.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Elliott School of Communication