For years, anytime a TV show needs a ratings bump, the writers send them to Las Vegas. “Friends,” “Roseanne,” “Saved By the Bell,” “Modern Family,” “Full House” and more—there’s a reason they all seem to end up in Sin City.
It’s a place powered by the wildest imaginations, where things that shouldn’t seem possible exist—a Sphinx in downtown, a hotel with more than 4,000 rooms, Mike Tyson’s acting career. They all happened in Vegas.
So it seems appropriate that this year’s OBIE Awards, which honor the year’s most outstanding out of home advertising campaigns, take place in Vegas. Creativity thrives here, and surely agency people can out-party Uncle Joey.
photo of Dash Two Los Angeles Staff
Dash Two Los Angeles Staff
Are you heading to this year’s awards? Cool, so are we, so we put together a primer on what to do there and things to watch out for. Come say “hi” if you see any of us, and feel free to leave your own input for this list. (It’s Vegas, there are a billion things to do, so we certainly didn’t hit on all of them.)
OBIE Awards Rundown
The 77th annual awards are being handed out on Tuesday, May 20, at the OAAA/Geopath OOH Media Conference + Expo. Wondering where the name comes from? It derives from the ancient Egyptian obelisk, which some historians consider the first form of advertising.
If you want to see all this year’s 134 finalists, you can buy the OBIE book. It includes some insight from agencies on how they came up with their nominated campaigns. (We’ll let you see ours for free, though—we’re a finalist for this Beatles billboard.) Follow the OBIE Twitter feed for the most current information.
Hang out at the conference and network a little. Pat yourself on the back if you win. But also make time to see the rest of Vegas and/or revisit your favorite spots.
The Lowdown on Billboards in Las Vegas
You may naturally be curious about billboard advertising in Vegas if you’re attending an OOH gathering, so here are a few tidbits:
The average monthly price of a billboard is $4,000 or more, depending on the location. You obviously pay more on or near the Strip.
You can reach up to a million people each week with billboards.
There are dozens of digital billboards, and more being converted from static every month
The Most Famous Billboard in Las Vegas
It’s the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign that sits on Las Vegas Boulevard South, not far from the old airport. Designed in 1959, it’s currently owned by Young Electric Sign Company and leased to Clark County. The sign has been changed slightly for marketing purposes over the years and once to honor the victims of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting.
Best Restaurants in Las Vegas
Make it out of your hotel for dinner at least once by hitting up one of these excellent restaurants:
b.B.d’s: The abbreviation stands for beers, burgers and desserts, and the restaurant butchers its own meat for the burgers on site. We’ve heard you can get the best wings in Vegas here. Go there: Palace Station Hotel & Casino at 2411 W Sahara Ave.
The Bazaar By Jose Andrés: For carnivores who want to indulge, Bazaar Meat offers a raw bar, fire pit and an appetizer called Cotton Candy Foie Gras. Go there: SLS Hotel at 2535 S Las Vegas Blvd.
Veggie House: Yep, it’s all vegetarian fare, a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown where crispy beef is made with soy. Even if you aren’t plant-based, you’ll find the kung pao “chicken” amazing. Go there: 5115 Spring Mountain Rd., Suite 203.
Best Cocktails in Las Vegas
Start the night with a bang or head for a nightcap after the OBIE festivities at these three locations:
Marche Bacchus: In addition to a wine collection with more than 1,000 bottles, Marche Bacchus recently added an abalone shell bar with a huge cocktail menu and more than 60 malt scotch varieties. Go there: Desert Shores at 2620 Regatta Drive #106.
Oak & Ivy: A craft whiskey bar that creates barrel-aged cocktails. It also has a selection of rare beers. Yes, it’s kinda hipster. It’s also really good, with fresh ingredients in the unique cocktails. Go there: Downtown Container Park at 707 Fremont St.
Frankie’s Tiki Room: Sounds kitschy, looks kooky, but the drinks are great and the atmosphere a lot of fun. This is where you go for fruit drinks at the end of a long night. Since it’s open 24 hours a day, you find characters of all kinds. And did we mention the furniture is hand-carved? Go there: 1712 W Charleston Blvd.
Best Shows in Las Vegas
Obviously, which show you consider the best depends on your personal taste, and that will vary from person to person. But here are a few universal crowd-pleasers:
Absinthe: A sort of next-gen Cirque du Soleil that’s riskier, racier and done with fewer clothes and more humor. Go there: Forecourt at Caesars Palace at 3570 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
La Reve at Wynn: Featuring synchronized swimmers and an 80-foot dive, the show is a water ballet with amazing stunts. Go there: Wynn Hotel at 3131 S Las Vegas Blvd.
Concerts: If you like old school, Cher and Barry Manilow are playing now. Alas, Lady Gaga doesn’t get to Vegas till later this month. But Janet Jackson, Lady Antebellum and Pitbull are in town.
What to Do in Vegas (Besides Gamble)
You can hit the casino floors any time of day. But if you’ve hit your daily limit, check out one of these:
Hoover Dam: Located 30 miles from Vegas, the Dam is a popular tourist location drawing almost 1 million people per year. Tours occur daily. Go there: GPS coordinates N 36.016222, W -114.737245.
Eiffel Tower: Not the real one, course, but you can journey to the top of this Parisian look-alike for a price and see a beautiful view of the city. Go there: Paris Las Vegas at 3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Bellagio Fountains: Not gonna lie, trips to Vegas are pricey, even if you do have a corporate charge card. But you can do this for free: Go check out the iconic view of the fountains at the Bellagio (and go to the botanical gardens inside for an extra, also-free treat). Go there: Bellagio at 3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Neon Museum: The Strip lights up with neon every night, and the Neon Museum celebrates it. Tour the “boneyard” of old, retired neon signs. Go there: 770 N. Las Vegas Blvd.
Hope to see you in Vegas later this month — we’d love to connect if you’re going. Connect with us in advance on Facebook or Twitter.