Well played, Vegas. Well played.
The tagline “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” has been a bunch of baloney for a very long time — or at least since Facebook took off and social media invaded society. Nothing proved that to be true more than Prince Harry’s naked photos being circulated around the web. If the nude royal rump — with its hired team of bodyguards and minders — can’t “stay in Vegas,” nothing can.
Luckily, Vegas is taking it all in stride. (Yes, we’re personifying “Vegas,” as if it’s not a place but a person. We imagine him chubby and balding with a very expensive watch and a very pretty girlfriend who may or may not be visiting from the Cathouse… but that’s neither here nor there.)
Now, the city’s tourism arm has found a way to capitalize on the incident, turning it into a marketing campaign. First, the official Vegas Twitter account scolded, “To those in charge of purchasing the Prince Harry photos at @TMZ: Thanks for nothing.”
That was only the beginning. A friend of Zap2it, @MSLisaChang, was in the Vegas airport this weekend when she snapped the photo below.
The ad is displayed at every gate in the airport, with a hashtag warning visitors to “#KnowTheCode” so the sanctity of Vegas is not further violated by opportunists with sub-par cell phone cameras (seriously, we could barely tell it was Harry) and greedy instincts.
In an open letter to those persons responsible for the photos winding up online — including the picture-taker and the TMZ-buyer, the official tourism commission writes, “For Shame! To those who traded in their pledge to their Las Vegas
brethren, WE DEPLORE YOU. We are calling on you,
the defenders of what happens in Vegas staying in its rightful place —
in Vegas. We are asking for a shun on those exploiters of Prince Harry.
We shall boycott partying with (whoever exploited Harry). No bottle
service. No bikini clad girls.”
There’s even a new website where you can brush up on the Vegas code (protect the moment!), and shame any of your frenemies who dare to break it (report code-violators!). Go to VisitLasVegas.com/KnowTheCode to make sure you’re informed. At press time, over 90,000 tourists and Harry fans had made the pledge.