Barely two weeks after MGM Resorts International unveiled its first corporate branding campaign, disaster struck. One of its properties, the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas, became intimately associated with the deadliest shooting in modern US history.
The brand, thankfully, was quick to pull the plug on the ill-timed campaign called "Welcome to the Show," which also carried the line "blow the mind of all mankind." And in the weeks following the attack, shifted gears to focus on a message of unity and healing with its agency McCann New York.
This past weekend, Business Insider spotted that the entertainment company quietly debuted its new spot, "Together We Shine" during the broadcast of Saturday Night Live on NBC. Unlike the previous campaign, which was meticulously planned for 18 months, internally implemented and widely publicized, the new ad seems to have soft launched.
The powerful 30-second spot is set the tune of "This Little Light of Mine" by Odetta, and highlights a message of unity and togetherness in the face of the tragedy, with the lines "Together We Are One," "Together We Rise" and "Together We Shine" interspersed with visuals of Las Vegas as well as the company's resorts. It ends with the hashtag #VegasStrong.
"We created this spot to reflect the strength and resilience of Las Vegas, of MGM Resorts, of Mandalay Bay and of all of our employees," Lili Tomovich, MGM Resorts' chief experience and marketing officer told Business Insider. "It reinforces our promise to the world that we’ll remain strong and united in the face of adversity."
In addressing the shooting promptly and adapting its message to reflect the tragedy, the brand not only avoided potentially taking a tone-deaf stance, but also demonstrated that its values align with those of its customers, said Deb Gabor, CEO of brand strategy consultancy Sol Marketing.
"In an age when brands increasingly find themselves in the crossfire for showing off values and beliefs that don't match with those of their customers, MGM's news #VegasStrong ad does quite the opposite," she said. "Their spot is quietly dignified, prioritizes the master brand and sentiment of the Vegas hospitality community above its own, and represents an idea that transcends merely selling hotel rooms."
While it isn't unheard of for brands to want to show their support for and align with their communities during times of disaster, MGM Resorts is better suited than others to lead such a conversation in Vegas, she added.
"When executed in an authentic and sincere manner, these efforts can pay off for those brands long-term," she said.