Shine On

Las Vegas tourism ads mock straight people

Do you find this ad funny or offensive? (VisitLasVegas.com)Do you find this ad funny or offensive? (VisitLasVegas.com)The city of all night gambling binges, group weddings, and free booze has released a series of ads aimed at enticing gays and lesbians into its decadent clutches.

The Las Vegas tourism ads feature modelesque same-sex couples in fabulously fashionably outfits cavorting by pools and in swanky restaurants, while dowdy straight couples in polo shirts and sneakers happily observe the glamourous LGBT throngs.

The tagline: “Everyone’s welcome, even straight people.”

Also see: Crate & Barrel produces romantic ad featuring gay couple

In one image, a lot of buff men in very small bathing suits splash water on one another and laugh while sipping cocktails. Observing the handsome scene with a look of wonder is a frumpy straight couple in awful tourist gear complete with Tilly hats. They’re holding a camcorder, of course.

Another ad features a similar pool party, only this time it’s sexy lesbians that are filling every corner of the page with their taut bikini-clad bodies. Again, a very square and very unfashionable straight couple looks on. The husband is wearing baggy khakis...with runners!

The ads were created by Las Vegas agency R&R partners, who have this to say about the campaign:

“LGBT advertising is nothing new. It’s been here for decades. For too long, brands have told us they’re 'gay-friendly,' shown us a gratuitous same-sex couple, slapped a rainbow logo on it and called it a day. Las Vegas decided to do something different. To imagine a world where – every once in a while – we have to remind the heteros that Las Vegas still belongs to them, too…so long as they’re willing to share.”

Also see: Singapore’s bizarre anti-groping public service announcement(VisitLasVegas.com)(VisitLasVegas.com)

While these ads will likely amuse many, it’s also easy to see how they might offend. For one, they draw pretty heavily on gay and lesbian stereotypes, ignoring the many LGBT people who don’t look like underwear models. But then, that’s advertising.

Writes one commenter on right wing pundit Glenn Beck's website The Blaze, “Hey, Vegas marketing folks… How about you work on getting gay marriage legalized in Nevada. Then maybe that ad campaign might not seem so laughable. :P”.

Another commenter points out, “Could you imagine if the roles were flipped and it said “Everybody’s welcome! Even GAY people!” Seriously, the double standards are freakin’ unbelievable.”

Funny or offensive, the ads are creating a stir, and when it comes to advertising, sometimes that's the point.

Watch the video below about how the Alberta School Boards Association drew criticism last November from gay activists.

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