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On Targeting Middle America And Missing The Mark

By Misnomer on Friday, 19th April 2013 4:18pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 25


I am Misnomer. I am a middle aged, middle class, heavyweight man from Middle America. Flyover country. Cowtown, USA. I have a mortgage on a vinyl sided house that I'll never pay off. I have credit card debt. I have a wife, and some kids, and in the evenings, I get in my absurdly large Chevrolet FUV and drive them to the park for tee ball games. My wife and I sit under deciduous trees and watch them play. She reminds me that next month, our town is holding its annual carnival known as Mayfest, and we wonder if they'll put the Ferris Wheel on the ball diamond this year, or over by the fountain as in years past. If the kids win, we take them for burgers and shakes. When we get home, I crack open a cheap, domestic light beer, and check the wall calendar to see if the kids have a game tomorrow. They do. Back to the park. I turn and ask the wife if we got rid of the last of the Easter candy. She rummages through the cupboard and tosses a pastel, foil wrapped Hershey's kiss my way.

I suppose I should be thrilled that MGM is building The Park, with its burger joint and mass appeal chocolate shop, its deciduous trees and reasonably priced American lager. Similarly, I guess I should be happy that Caesars in constructing The Linq, with its bowling alley and its Ferris Wheel. I should be rather pleased that these two mega casino companies have managed to divert their attention from the Vegas disco scene long enough to pay some attention to a corn shucker like me. But I'm not. I'm actually rather insulted.

The assumption these companies make is that Middle Americans want nothing more than the cold comfort of familiarity. Meat in patties. Shakes in paper cups. Candy in bars and pale beer in brown bottles. What I buy at the strip mall, I want at the Strip mall. And I'll fly halfway across the country and burn my 6 days of accrued vacation time to get it. Meh.

Note to casino execs: I want an escape. Not that I lead some hellish existence in my day to day life. Like so many of my middle class brothers and sisters, I've already had my midlife crisis and existential meltdown, and I came out the other side realizing that all things considered, I've got it pretty damn good. But I don't go to Las Vegas for homogeneity. I go because I can't drive down Main Street and see an erupting volcano. I can't pull through the drive thru and order Jose Andres tacos. There's a fountain in town, but no fountain show. There's a cellphone tower, but no Eiffel Tower. That's why I go to Las Vegas. To see things I can't see at home. To do things I can't do at home. To have experiences I can't have at home. Dammit Jim, I want palm trees, not oak trees!

I've heard Las Vegas described as "Disneyland for adults". Great. Perfect. Do that. Build more wacky shit. Hire Imagineers. Wow me. Tickle me. Amaze me. Send me home exhausted, shaking my head with a smile on my face. Give me something to think about when I'm sitting under the tree at the park at home.

End rant. It's Bud Light Platinum-thirty.

Tagged: misnomer   


Comments & Discussion:

Where is the real Misnomer and what have you done with him? ;)


I like these developments, but it's mostly because I can't afford clubbing but like that alternative feel the Strip has been getting into lately. They are definitely looking to get more money from Skinny Jeans wallets than they have in years past, instead of just Ed Hardy Pants and Deep Dish Slacks like the 2000's.

Vegas is Disney World-esque, but not every single new ride at Disney World is worth flying across the country for. They've opened some Monsters Inc thing and a new Fantasyland and renovated their shopping district since I was last there in 2007, but I'm not going to go there for that. Wake me up when Lucasland opens in 2016.

Bravo! Well said, Misnomer.

"I am an old aged, middle class, heavyweight man from Middle America. Flyover country." I went to Vegas three or four times a year starting in about 1980. I liked every trip because it was so different than my work a day life in Detroit. Staying in 1st class hotels, room service, fancy restaurants, entertainment, and did I mention casinos? Watching The Mirage being built, seeing the demolition of Sands, Dunes, Hacienda, original Aladdin, etc were all exciting.

I don't want to go to Vegas for Shake Shack (although I'm going to the grand opening to the one in Boca next week just to see what it's all about). Although not for me, I believe both The Park and Linq will be successful and probably more lasting than the current club scene.

I have a feeling that if I'd ever get to meet and know Misnomer on a personal level, we'd be great friends.

Signed... "A middle aged, middle class, heavyweight man from Middle America. Flyover country. Cowtown, USA. I had a mortgage that I short-sold because I knew that I'd never pay it off (and once I jettison two teenagers, I can take the money we're saving to put a downpayment on a condo in suburbia to take us unto old age). I've paid down most of my credit card debt. I have a wife, and my kids are finally moved into high school and college, because I did spend endless nights and weekends at the park for tee ball and soccer games."

Im an old idiot and I live on a rock in the middle of the motherfuckin Pacific.

My fine sir Misnomer you said it.

Gimme shit I cant get anywhere else. Thats WHY i go Vegas.

Par excellance!

I am a generation x slacker from the east coast. I bought a house at the age of 29 four years ago. 2009 was a bad year to buy. I'm already 30k underwater, but I have a boring, but steady job in the insurance industry so I have no problem staying in my house. I have no kids or wife an I go to Vegas to get shit faced drunk and gamble for 15 hours a day with my friend who live in cornland USA and I see once a year meeting up in Vegas. Keep your parks and ultra clubs, I'll keep my chair at a blackjack table and I'll also be the SE Virginia redneck holding a 6 pack watching the FSE canopy waiting for the Doors show while finishing said 6 pack in 20 minutes.

I don't mind Vegas evolving, it's the casino's obligation to the shareholders to maximize profits. I'll still be able to find that chair, an ashtray, and a beer everywhere in this town.

So far as I know no where else in Amurica(Fuck yeah!) is there or will there be a 500 some foot tall Ferris wheel, so that's still unique. *shrugs*

I live in middle America too but in Chicago, a big ass city. The Linq and the Park seem to appeal more to me than the over the top experience that is Hakkasan. It looks like someone in Vegas realizes that everyone doesn't go to clubs and wast to go to places to see lot of neon and people wandering down the Strip shit faced. i would like to see a return to the theme but I guess open space will do. Misnomer, at the VIMFP i am buying you a beer for being honest.

I, too, would prefer the Park to have palm trees. There's something about palm trees.

Love this. Brilliant writeup. Bravo!

I was at the bar about 2 years ago at Fleur and the bartender tells me about losing walk-up customers the prior day because they didn't carry Bud Lite. My philosophy re Vegas is give everyone what they want so they keep coming back for more.

I see it both ways: The Linq and the Park to me aren't so much about appealing to Middle America but to our middle class wallets. It's something Vegas needs to think more about. But Misnomer is also right: There is no magic in these ideas and I need magic to keep coming back. For all the new stuff in Vegas in the past couple years, I can't think of much that has excited me. I will certainly visit these new park areas when I eventually come but I am not going to go out of my way to book a flight just for them.

The south end of the strip really needs an out door attraction of some sort. Like when the Excalibur used to do the merlin show. This is smart on their park to get people spending money or staying near their properties. Vegas really needs a new Volcano/Fountain/Pirate show attraction that separates itself from every other city.

I dunno, no matter how you slice it it'll be more interesting than what's there now, so isn't it going overboard to complain so loudly? Its not like the nice stuff you like (and I like too) is gonna disappear cause of this.

I agree. Keep Vegas crazy. I can walk in as park and buy a hamburger anywhere.

I agree. I go to Vegas for the opulence of Bellagio. I can get a Hershey bar at the gas station.

Well said, misnomer!

What kills me is that it's the "over the top" vision of the late 80s and 1990s that made Vegas the world's #1 tourist destination. It's that gaudy wow factor that makes everyone smile the minute they see it in person.

Now these purse-lipped asshats like Murren act like they're embarrassed by the very source of Vegas's mind-boggling success. It's like Cotton Mather taking over Disneyland. Themes must go. Bland rules the day. The high priests of urban architecture will show us rubes what we really want. Dumb, dumb, dumb!

I can't wait for Resort World to open. I bet they're going to clean up.

^^^But doesn't Steve Wynn constantly show people things that they didn't even know they wanted in the first place? He's regarded as a visionary (LOL), right? There are also as many people that thumb their nose at the "gaudy wow factor" as people who enjoy it, soooo... what was I trying to say?

I think the one thing I enjoyed most about NYNY was the room review that was posted on this site. Fucking place is a wasteland and its theme is mediocrity. They have an entertaining Cirque show, I suppose.

Monte Carlo stands out because its clean and right next to CityCenter, yeah? The casino smells like a stale carpeted butthole. Its theme exists in the lobby, the foam facade and the fountain out front. So, the fountain goes, which sucks because it's actually worthy of a look, but maybe we'll get something better than a LOLLERPOP FACTORY, or a Guy's All American Bowel Cancer, or another Yard House, or something else that swings for the middle, out of it. I like commas.

I'm cool with getting a place to sit outside and drink a drink with my friends. Where I don't have to pay for a daybed or a tip a cunt-hawk waitress just for taking up space. Hopefully they'll keep the music volume at a reasonable level.

Anyway, good article and food for thought.

Sounds about right!!!!

I agree that it would be better if they did something more unique with the project. Put a river or canal through it, like a river walk...make it some desert theme, beach theme...something. That said, any "NEW" development is better than doing nothing. Shareholders can debate the ROIC that will be generated from these projects and adjust their investments accordingly, but from a consumer standpoint, more options are better than fewer.

Let me explain. 1.) some people will like The Park and The Linq and enjoy them or 2.) if you don't like them at least they will draw marginally more people away from the things that you do like in LV and make those less crowded (more seats at the $10 BJ table is always nice). Doing something with empty space is better than doing nothing.

However, the key distinguishment is "new" development. Re-doing current stuff can go either way. The de-theming of MGM hotels has been horrible. The re-doing of Fitz/The D has been good. Sahara? And lord knows the Stardust and Frontier situation has been a complete disaster that is now finally being fixed. Would it be better to see something more original? Yes. But I more so agree with Vegas Gang that it would be better if Murren and Loveman just said, "hey, here's something new we are doing and we hope you enjoy it" rather than trying to call every tree planted in LV the most innovative and Strip-changing venture every conceptualized by mankind.

I too enjoy LV for the uniqueness. I do things in LV that I can't and don't do at home. Maybe it's because I am in LV about 6 times a year (mostly for work), but I just don't get excited like I used to when I am looking out the window on the plane and the strip comes into view. Maybe Resorts World will help that.

Now can I get another Bud Light? Oh, and dealer busting on that 6 might help too.

Well put and I wonder if when you read about the park and saw the oak tree renderings if it's what set you off, as when I saw it, all I could think is I don't want 'normal' trees there I want Palms. (for all others trust me it's a midwest thing)

I don't mind the direction CET and MRI are going with this, but a ton is goind to depend on who they get to fill these places and ultimately what those owners do with their property. I'll agree that some cool painted bowling alley with rockin' bowlin' isn't going to do it and if after these are developed all we end up with is 20 new Applebee's style restaurants, then there will be a problem. (My guess is we come close to 20 new Applebee's with 5 changing directions 8 months after opening)

The one aspect, that I think you were close to hitting on and where the discussion is likely to go for forums such as this, is what happens if Linq and the Park are huge duds? While I know the strip is resilient, I do believe there is a tipping point to that resiliency and if you make everything look like somewhere else, when do people really start hanging it up with the crunches. I'm not saying that will happen, but it does make me wonder how much corporate whitewashing of the strip I personally can deal with before it loses even more luster.

You make me cry man-spot on!!!!!!!!

I still like the idea of The Park (but not so much its name). I'm not sure, however, about The Linq.

I think you can enjoy all of Vegas' excess, take a breather at a Park-type thingy, then dive back into the fray. That contrast might make folks appreciate both The Park AND the rest of the Strip more. Right now, I have to go to Red Rock (the canyon, not the casino) to catch my breath.

Here's what I don't want: Replacing an alleyway of stores with an alleyway of different stores. Not cool, CET.

Here's what I like: Taking underused and unattractive spaces and sprucing them up. Thank you, MRI. (Except for the whole part about wrecking Monte Carlo's facade. That part of the plan sucks.)

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