Marketers still sell the sexy sizzle

Nov 21, 2006 2:52 AM

Sex attracts and sells, no matter the market.

"It’s a matter of knowing your demographic and making sure you don’t go over the top," said Michael J. Broderick, director of racinos at Lincoln Park (Rhode Island), in his presentation during G2E last week.

"It’s all about delivery," Broderick continued. "Sex is the second strongest passion behind self-preservation. It can drive business."

Broderick said he works with Indian properties in Palm Springs, where the clientele are mostly retired, educated people with disposable incomes.

"I find they want the young experience that sexual promotions provide," Broderick said. "Sexy humor works very well. Sex and poker have proven to be big seller."

Todd Moyer, vice president of marketing at Trump Marina, has worked with

casinos in both Atlantic City and Las Vegas. He suggests that knowing your customer base is essential in marketing sex.

"The Generation-X gambler has turned 40," Moyer said. "It’s necessary to know what kind of car they drive, what restaurants they like, which casinos they play. I’ve marketed at Trump Taj Mahal, the Trop in both Atlantic City and Las Vegas and the Hard Rock. Marketing sex has worked at each property, but at different levels."

Moyer cited that double-entendre or using "double meanings" to images and messages has been a dependable way of bringing dollars into the casino using sex as the bait.

"At the Trump properties, we have used promotions like The Mile High Club, Hot and Ready Slot Machines, and Miss Deckadance 2006 to bring customers into Harrah’s Marina," he said. "Some ads work, some don’t. Hard Rock got into big trouble with an ad using sex that seemed to promote cheating at table games. It went way over the top.

"The Marina promotes The Wild Side of Atlantic City to the 40-year-old crowd," he continued. "That means promotions such as Playboy slot tournaments and New Year’s Eve pajama parties. What didn’t work was Miss Dreamgirl, featuring girls in negligees. Our demographic didn’t like it and we stopped the promotion after one year."

Mary Loftness, now based in Minnesota after having marketed for five years at Station Casinos, said she takes a milder, low-key approach to promoting sex.

"Rural Minnesota is about people with time and money on their hands," she said. "Sex is a turnoff to the majority of customers, who are between 52 and 57 years old and mostly female slot players. They generate almost 75 percent of the casino’s revenues playing slots."

Loftness did praise Palms, the trendy Las Vegas hotel that has managed to capture both the younger and older crowd.

"Palms has done an amazing job taking care of the 55-year-old woman," she said. "It’s known as being Paris and Brittany’s place, yet doesn’t have the feel of just being a place for the younger generation."

Moyer seconded the praise for Palms for being able to tie in Playboy.

"Palms made Playboy fashionable again," he said. "Playboy was the place to be seen a generation ago. Now Playboy is being rediscovered. I went there the other night and it really was a great experience."