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What’s In A Name?

The Calvin-Klein handsome, android-like model, has his head turned and is looking at the camera while firming up the knot on his tie.

The red headline that runs across the middle of the ad says, “Vdara means business.

Now before you read on, unless you know this brand, ask yourself what you think they sell? What would the brand Vdara represent?

What do you think?

My first thought was that it was some kind of IT product out of India. You know, some Internet-based, wireless, Bluetooth, iCloud compatible, Goggle-centric, digital, 5G, communications system for corporations, or…?

And then I read the copy at the bottom of the ad.

Vdara is…a hotel in Las Vegas.


And they are not just any Vegas hotel, they have a niche. They are an “eco friendly,” non-smoking, non-gaming hotel whose tag line is “Do Vegas Differently.”

Okay. Those attributes make them different in Vegas. Assuming they have done their market research and there’s a demand for an eco-friendly, non-gaming hotel in Sin City, that is definitely a unique focus.

And that’s a good tag line.

But the brand communicates none of that. According to an Internet article, the “V” stands for Vegas and “ara” is meant to evoke established, high-end boutique hotels (this undoubtedly from the mind of some media psychologist tripping on acid.)

The “d” is not explained. Vegas is in the dessert so maybe….

There are two points here:

1- Their brand is not descriptive of who they are or what they do. It does not communicate the unique essence of this hotel: non-gaming, non-smoking, eco-friendly.

If you are not a Vegas groupie, how would you know, seeing that brand, what it stood for?

2- There is a second point, and this one requires a trip to their website (http://www.vdara.com). Here we find the landing page with our mannequin-like protagonist, and his – can I use the word “hot”? – girl friend. There are also numerous pictures of our elegantly racy couple strewn throughout the website.

There is no positioning image forwarding the non-gaming/non-smoking/eco-friendly position. The closest they get to this is picture of a bottle of Naturaphatica skin cream, which is buried on one of the back pages of their spa section.

They do have a unique, focused niche in Vegas. But other than saying it – telling people to do Vegas differently- there is no visual of the Vdara as a “clean,” non-gaming Vegas destination.

I mean if they want that position, what about a shot of some lush tropical vegetation, bathing in a rain forest-like mist in the lobby of a pristine, soaring, ten story atrium.

No, their website is full of Sex and City when Vegas has more stunning call girls than there are stars in the dessert sky. And and they put an ad in the Wall Street Journal promoting Vdara as a “business” destination when the city is the number one business convention center in the country teeming with “business-friendly” hotels.

Hardly unique in either case.

They have a great niche. Their marketing people should SHOW IT.

Your brand should forward your position and the visuals should forward your position. Don’t use a tag line saying one thing and then show images of something else entirely.

It mixes messages and your brand becomes a cacophony of confusion and loses its focus and the sales and income that go with it.

If you need help with your positioning or an assessment of your marketing materials, or surveys of any kind, we are but a mouse click away.