What Happens There, Stays Here.
The “champions” in this commercial are men who are pretending to be something they’re not. By carrying around their “trophy”, people believe that they’re members of an athletic team who are in Las Vegas to celebrate their victory – or something like that. This isn’t true, of course – their “trophy” is just a plant holder they found in the hallway of their hotel – but it’s okay to get all kinds of rewards one wouldn’t otherwise be able to get because, after all, “what happens here, stays here.” That’s the joke, at least.
The effectiveness of this commercial comes from the fact that while many people who visit Las Vegas actually do engage in behavior that they wouldn’t engage in elsewhere, they don’t engage in behavior that is that extreme while they’re in Vegas. This recognition helps people to rationalize the behavior which they do engage in. It helps them to tell themselves: “I don’t do that, so therefore what I actually do isn’t so harmful that it needs to ‘stay in Vegas’ (ie: be kept secret or unacknowledged).”
This begs a question, however: if what people do while in Vegas isn’t so bad that it needs to “stay in Vegas”, then why does such an idea even need to be joked about? Why does such behavior need to be rationalized away via commercials like these? Why can’t it just be openly, explicitly talked about and celebrated? The answer: because what people do in Las Vegas actually is bad. Because it actually is harmful their values and virtues and interests – and therefore the only way they are able to go through with engaging in it (ie: visiting Vegas) is if they lie to themselves via evasion through hyperbole.
It isn’t surprising that a place like Las Vegas – which owes it’s existence to a widespread and perverse view of money – would employ an advertising technique such as this one, but it is disturbing that it is able to do so so openly and on such a large scale. What does that say about the true health of the culture and economy?