MGM Resorts International announced in September a new marketing initiative called ‘Welcome to the Show’ which was designed to transform the company’s image in the United States. MGM no longer wanted to be labelled as a major casino provided but wanted to be known as a world class entertainment provider.
The marketing campaign was launched across a new of media platforms including television and social media. MGM Resorts focused its marketing campaign on highlighting the numerous non-gaming offerings and attractions that were on offer across all of its properties and gave very little attention to its casinos. Some of the slogans that MGM looked to popularize through its marketing campaign included ‘We are in the Holy Sh*t business’ and ‘The World’s leading producer of OMG’.
Vegas Shootings Mentioned In Modified Campaign
The MGM brand received a lot of publicity in October due to the shooting that took place at the Mandalay Bay hotel – one of MGM’s properties. The gunman Stephen Paddock had rented a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay and opened fire on a crowd of twenty two thousand people who were gathered for a country music concert. This was the worst shooting on American soil and there were some gaming analysts who believed that the tragedy could have a negative impact on Mandalay Bay and the MGM Brand.
MGM Resorts has not avoided the October 1 shootings but has embraced it along with the #VegasStrong hashtag. The #VegasStrong hashtag trended on social media and was also used on merchandize as a show of strength by those living in Nevada. MGM has featured the hashtag in its new ‘Together We Shine’ marketing campaign and Lili Tomovich who serves as the company’s chief experience and marketing officer said that it was created to show the resilience and strength of the people of Las Vegas.
The new ad has Odetta singing ‘This Little Light of Mine’ showcases images from iconic MGM properties and Cirque du Soleil shows with slogans such as ‘Together we rise’, ‘Together, we are one’ and ‘Together we shine’ while ending with the #VegasStrong hastag. Tomovich said that the new campaign had been well received and the reviews have been positive. She said that MGM’s campaign was to emphasise that Las Vegas and MGM Resorts would remain united and strong when confronted with adversity.
Criticised For Exploiting Vegas Tragedy
However there are people out there who feel that MGM Resorts is looking to exploit the Vegas shootings in its marketing campaign and take advantage of public sentiment. There have been a number of people who have raised questions about the lack of information and conflicting information that has emerged from the October 1 shootings. They believe that since the investigation is still on-going and MGM is yet to provide information to the public as to what went wrong at Mandalay Bay, the company should not be using the Vegas Strong hashtag.
In a statement, John Carroll, an assistant professor of mass communication at Boston University said “It all depends on how you hold it up to the light. If you are someone who is suspicious of MGM and suspicious of the investigative process or the level of cooperation that they’ve provided through the investigation, then you could conceivably look at this through a more cynical lens.”
Questions remain as to how the shooter was able to take so many weapons into his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay and bypass security. Reports have surfaced that Stephen Paddock first fired at a Mandalay Bay security guard before opening fire on the crowd. The media have not been able to interview the security guard who some say wasn’t registered to work as a security guard in Nevada. How much of this is true and how much of this is hearsay nobody knows and MGM Resorts has declined to comment on the shootings and questions raised by the media due to the on-going investigation. Lili Tomovich and her team preferred not to comment on these negative remarks.
Carroll said that it was a difficult decision for MGM Resorts to go back to its old ‘Welcome to the Show’ campaign as just last week one of those injured in the shooting passed away and there were still a number of victims who were in a critical condition.

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