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TODD SMITH — Billboard, print ads are helping with healing of Las Vegas

TODD SMITH

Ads are appearing all over Vegas, and across the country, from digital billboards at airports to famous marquee displays outside the major hotels and casinos to print advertising.

Two lines of white copy on a black background:

We’ve been there for you during the good times.

Thank you for being there for us now.

Below that are the Las Vegas tourism logo and the hashtag #VegasStrong.

The message is everywhere. Some displays have other ads rotating in, but many are unblinking – broadcasting just those words of thanks to the tourists, and to those around the world who offered support since the nation’s most horrific mass shooting in history.

Every city in mourning repurposes its outdoor ad space this way. Think of the “United We Stand” ads in New York after 9/11, or #BostonStrong after the marathon bombing. Out-of-home plays a unique role at such moments, giving public voice to the pain – and also to the resilience that emerges. It’s something the community craves – and bonds a nation.

Las Vegas knew it would need such messaging, and quickly, to help the city begin to heal. The task fell to R&R Partners, longtime agency of record for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority – best known for their long-running tourism ad campaign “What happens here stays here,” according to Adweek.

Wall Street Journal ceases European, Asian editions

The Wall Street Journal has stopped publishing its European and Asian editions, the paper recently announced, amid a wider editorial restructuring and falling revenue.

In an end to a 40-year history, the company stopped publishing its separate editions for Europe and Asia last week The decision comes after the paper’s parent company, News Corp., reported a loss of $643 million for the most recent fiscal year, which ended in June, compares with $235 million in net income during the previous year.

The paper began publishing a separate Asian edition in 1976, and its European edition followed in 1983. The U.S. edition of the WSJ will be available in some cities at a later unspecified date, according to WSJ.

Despite recent losses, digital subscriptions are on the rise and the WSJ plans to focus on encouraging customers in Asia and Europe to read the publications online. Those gains in online-only subscriptions made “continuing the foreign editions no longer cost-effective”, the newspaper said.

The WSJ added 322,000 digital subscriptions in the most recent financial quarter for a total of 1.27 million for the Asian market.

Reports emerged in June 2017 that the WSJ would be ending its publishing operations outside the US, and a spokeswoman at the time said the paper was “constantly examining the balance between print and digital at a time when we’re seeing sharp growth in customer demand for digital”.

The end of publishing separate editions also comes as the paper undergoes a wider restructuring. At the end of 2016, all WSJ employees were eligible for buyouts and layoffs followed shortly after.

The WSJ has seen a host of reporters and editors leave in the past year as some staff grows frustrated with the paper’s coverage of President Trump.

Twitter to double character limit to 280

The tweets in your timeline are about to get expanded, big time!

Twitter said recently it has started testing 280-character tweets, doubling the previous character limit, in an effort to help users be more expressive.

“Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English,” the company said in a blog. “When people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting — which is awesome!”

About nine percent of all tweets today are exactly 140 characters, Twitter says. It’s tough to do that on accident, suggesting that users frequently have to edit their initial thoughts to get them under the limit.

The 140-character limit was originally established to reflect the length of SMS messages, which was how tweets were distributed prior to the development of mobile apps. SMS messages are limited to 160 characters; Twitter reserved the remaining 20 for the username. As often happens in creative mediums, the constraint spurred creativity, and Twitter became a fast-moving, newsy, jokey playground.

Silenced Mic: Tom Petty rocked – and gave voice – to our world

Tom Petty, the iconic front man of the band the Heartbreakers, who died recently, moved, entertained and transformed our generation – the children of the ‘70s and ‘80s!

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers romanced tales of refugees, outcasts and rebels in the late 1970s, and quickly dominated the pop charts.

Petty’s voice, laced with the perfect dose of heartfelt angst danced perfectly with the group’s ragged rock & roll. Songs like “The Waiting,” “You Got Lucky,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Learning to Fly” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” dominated Billboard’s rock chart, and the majority of Petty’s albums have been certified either gold or platinum. His most recent release, Hypnotic Eye, debuted at No 1 in 2014. Petty, who also recorded as a solo artist and as a member of the Traveling Wilburys and Mudcrutch, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002

The band recently completed a summer tour with three nights at the Hollywood Bowl. The trek marked the band’s 40th anniversary where he belted out rarely played deep cuts like their first album’s opener, “Rockin’ Around (With You),” and a selection of Wildflowers songs. It was intended to be his “last trip around the country.”

Petty had a rough childhood, and didn’t do well in school, according to The New York Times, so he turned to music. He met Elvis Presley in 1961 while The King was in Florida shooting a film. That was a life changing moment for the young Petty. He received his first guitar at a young age, and quit high school at 17 to join the southern-rock group Mudcrutch, which took off. The rest is history. He became a rock star, following in the footsteps of Elvis, Roy Orbison, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Somewhere above the clouds – and beyond the Pearly Gates – Petty has taken the stage with Elvis, Roy Orbison, John Lennon and George Harrison, and are rockin’ with the angels!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» TODD SMITH is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

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