Tequila and Chips for Las Vegas Casinos’ Super Bowl Makeovers
This weekend in Las Vegas you can, of course, watch the Super Bowl.
Defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs are playing the San Francisco 49ers at Sin City’s Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, February 11.
The game is the first Super Bowl in Nevada, making for a historic bow in one of America’s most-visited destinations. It’s a rematch of the 2020 championship game, with the Chiefs looking to become the first back-to-back champs since the New England Patriots did it 20 years ago.
So, is that enough excitement for one weekend?
Of course not. It’s Las Vegas, baby.
Brands and casinos have pulled out all the stops for the 300,000 extra visitors expected to hit the Las Vegas Strip this week.
That includes a Cheetos-themed wedding chapel on a replica of Brooklyn Bridge. Or try a ride up a 1,100-foot bottle of Don Julio tequila at the Strat. You could even watch a 300-foot Bud Light commercial on the Sphere, before heading to a Pepsi-sponsored confessional with Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua.
Nevada casinos’ embrace of commercial sponsors is nothing new. Especially in the age of digital billboards, virtual “brand experiences,” and who can forget, the advertisers’ fantasy that is the Las Vegas Sphere.
But they’ve certainly ramped it up for what could be a record-breaking football betting event at Las Vegas’ casinos.
Corn puff-themed nuptials outside MGM’s New York-New York Hotel & Casino are far from the only brand endorsed possibility in town over the weekend.
The latest company to debut their addition to the Las Vegas Strip this week is Don Julio.
The venerable tequila-maker has partnered with Sin City’s tallest building, observation tower and casino The Strat. And, of course, it will be turning the entire 1,149-foot building into a giant bottle of Don Julio 1942.
Or, at least, a projection of one. A projection with the brightness of 2 million lumens, or around 1,200 100-watt lightbulbs, which have been blazing out above the skyline since Thursday and will be permanently on until Sunday night.
“In a landscape saturated with conventional advertisements during one of the most-watched annual sporting events in the world, Tequila Don Julio is rewriting the rules with a first-of-its-kind stunt… leveraging cutting-edge projection technology while leaning into the iconicity of the hosting city…” said a (very wordy) statement from the booze-maker.
Many other iconic Las Vegas casinos have not escaped a commercial redesign for the weekend.
That’s a fact that literally cannot be missed by most of the 300,000 people expected to flock to the city for the NFL’s flagship game.
The soon-to-be imploded Mirage Volcano has become a snowy Paramount Mountain experience. The sleek black pyramid of MGM’s Luxor is now a huge, slightly volcanic-looking Dorito chip.
The Delano has a slightly lower tech, but just as gaudy, Pepsi ad draped across its top floors.
Caesars, meanwhile, has gone for the more traditional option of a huge projector screen showing Super Bowl hype pieces on the side of its Augustus Tower.
And then, we have the Cheetos wedding chapel at New York-New York.
Sure, Don Julio spokesperson, the market might be saturated. But the pure cheesy-handed depths Cheetos has plumbed for this weekend’s advertising has got to be one for the books.
The Chip Strip at New York-New York will take over the entire Brookyln Bridge-themed frontage area of the casino resort.
Visitors can, in no particular order, ride in a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos-branded limo, duel with oversized Cheeto style foam chips, eat a cheesy chip-inspired truffle ball cake, or get hitched in a Cheetos Chapel, overseen by (who else) a hologram of brand mascot Chester Cheetah.
Is it even legal to get married by a hologram? Who cares, honey, pass that slice of flamin’ hot truffle ball over here.
Putting Your Chips Down
Of course, all jokes aside, brands wouldn’t be throwing out the kind of big money it takes to light up Nevada’s tallest building into a replica of a $200 tequila bottle for four days if they weren’t expecting to make a whole load more back.
Super Bowl LVIII is expected to bring in $215 million in extra spending for the city’s small businesses alone. The players may not be allowed to gamble, but Nevada retail sportsbooks are predicting a record-breaking weekend of betting is in store. Some estimates say as much as $700 million in additional revenues could come in for Sin City’s gambling operators over the weekend.
All that makes fertile ground for casinos looking to use their huge advertising space to match with brands hungry for eyeballs on their products. Such as, say, turning your 357-foot pyramid casino into a giant Dorito.
“The marketers are understanding there’s a way to get people to see the built-in environment a little differently if you do it in a really creative way,” said Glenn NP Nowak, hospitality design professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Architecture School.
“Sure, it’s the shape of a chip. But it’ll be memorable for a little longer than your standard billboard.”