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August 2, 2015

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Cosmopolitan’s jarring ad aimed at the ‘curious class’

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The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ first commercial debuted during the season finale of “Mad Men” on Oct. 17.

What do hundreds of furry, little animals have to do with the Las Vegas Strip’s newest resort?

Apparently nothing, but they piqued viewer curiosity during the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ first commercial earlier this week — and that’s exactly what the resort wanted.

Just two months before its opening, the $3.9 billion hotel-casino debuted its curious and provocative TV ad during the season finale of “Mad Men” on AMC Sunday evening.

The ad was shot on a set modeled after the soon-to-open Cosmopolitan and features cultural taboos such as an elderly woman groping a much younger man, a pantsless bellhop and a dominatrix being strapped into a corset.

“We didn’t want to take the prescribed approach of showing three people at a restaurant and a few people at a slot machine. You know what’s here and we are just going to show why we are different,” Cosmopolitan Vice President of Brand Marketing Lisa Marchese said.

The naughty behavior is exactly what you’d expect at a Las Vegas resort, until a flood of kittens, rabbits and chicks enters the party scene. The 60-second ad finishes with the slogan, “Just the right amount of wrong.”

“I’ve heard lots of conjecture about what it symbolizes, but it’s really just the juxtaposition,” Marchese said of the unexpected appearance of the animals. “It’s provocative and jarring in what we hope is a good way. Even if you don’t get it, almost every person we talked to in our testing said, ‘I want to go find out more,’ and that’s really what we wanted to achieve.”

Marchese said the ad targets the curious class,” which isn’t defined by typical marketing terms.

“It’s not so much a demographic. It’s more of a shared attitude, so it defies ages and locations and incomes. But it’s a general open-mindedness. People that are creative, like new ideas, like to travel, try new restaurants — it’s that innate explorer,” Marchese said.

The ad agency behind the thought-provoking commercial is Minneapolis-based Fallon. The group is responsible for ads for brands such as Starbucks, Holiday Inn Express, Travelers and NBC Universal. Fallon is also handling Cosmopolitan’s print and online ads.

The ad will continue to run in what Marchese called “feeder markets” such as Southern California, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Marchese said the ad, which is also airing in Las Vegas, will run through the Cosmopolitan’s Dec. 15 opening and into the beginning of next year.

“We’re really proud of it. It hits all the strategic marks that we were going for,” Marchese said. “The thinking was we needed to do something breakthrough and unexpected, because I think that’s our brand.”

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