This Just In

LVCVA’s Rossi Ralenkotter and R&R Partners’ Billy Vassiliadis Canonized by BRANDWEEK Magazine as ‘Grand Marketers of the Year’


Las Vegas – What happened here is getting worldwide attention. A branding campaign for Las Vegas,  developed by Rossi Ralenkotter, President & CEO of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and Billy Vassiliadis, CEO of R&R Partners, has landed them the cover of BRANDWEEK magazine and the magazine’s “2004 Grand Marketer of the Year Award”  for the “What Happens Here, Stays Here” campaign.  The team prevailed over such brand nominees as DaimlerChrysler for its Hemi campaign; McDonald’s for “I’m Lovin It;” Michael Moore for “Fahrenheit 9/11;” Mel Gibson for “The Passion;” and Mark Burnett, creator of “Survivor,” “The Apprentice,” The Casino,” and “The Restaurant.”

The “What Happens Here, Stays Here” campaign has become part of the vernacular. This now famous tagline has been used by Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Bill Bennett, Matt Lauer, Katie Couric, Ben Affleck, First Lady Laura Bush, President George W. Bush  and “Falcon” on Saturday Night Live to name a few.

BRANDWEEK honors  the most compelling branding campaigns  that have appeared in the previous 18 months for the “Marketer of the Year Award.” Winners generally fall into three categories of achievement:  (1) industry leaders that recently launched a campaign which delivered an even greater lead over their competitors; (2) smart marketing efforts that reinvigorated a lagging brand; or (3) initiatives that helped a mid-range brand sprint to the front of the pack.

“We were pleased just to be mentioned among these top international brands,” said Ralenkotter, “but to take home the top prize really demonstrates what an enormous success this effort has been. There is no doubt that ‘What Happens Here, Stays Here’ has put the Las Vegas brand on the map but our numbers really demonstrate its effectiveness. We’re on our way to a record-breaking 40 million visitors in 2004.” Vassiliadis said, “We are grateful to have such an open-minded board, who are willing to take chances and push the creative envelope.”

Besides the Grand Award, here is a breakdown of winners in the various categories:

  • Travel & Tourism – LVCVA & R&R Partners for Las Vegas’ “What Happens Here, Stays Here”
  • Entertainment – Mark Burnett, creator of “Survivor,” “The Apprentice,” The Casino,” and “The Restaurant.”
  • Automotive – DaimlerChrysler for the “Hemi”
  • Food – McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” and Hershey’s for the resurgence of their various candy brands
  • Independent Films — Michael Moore for “Fahrenheit 9/11” and Mel Gibson for “The Passion”
  • Technology – Apple’s “iPod”
  • Sports – Palace Entertainment for owning three championship teams: NBA Champions The Detroit Pistons; WNBA Champions The Shock; and NHL Champions The Tampa Bay Lightening
  • Apparel – Lacoste for the resurgence of the classic alligator logo
  • Pharmaceuticals – Astra Zeneca for the Nexium/Prilosec antacid brands

All of the honorees are profiled in BRANDWEEK’s October 11, 2004 issue with Rossi Ralenkotter and Billy Vassiliadis featured on the cover of the magazine.

Reach Rossi Ralenkotter at (702) 892-2800 or

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