It took a trip to Scott Moore’s brother’s couch on Cape Cod during game six of the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup finals for the Wynn Resorts chief marketing officer to get the idea to include Larry Bird and Magic Johnson together in Encore Boston Harbor’s newest – and most iconic – advertisement to date.
Moore said it was both a highlight and lowlight of his marketing career when he and his brother settled on the idea, and he took it back to his team and created a commercial that has the entire Boston and Los Angeles markets buzzing with excitement and nostalgia.
“We were trying to find a celebrity spot in our campaign that would appeal to the Los Angeles and Boston markets, so I was asking around about who liked the Wynn brand,” said Moore. “It turned out Magic Johnson likes Wynn. We thought it would be great if Magic was part of the Los Angeles piece of the spot. Magic came first. We were working on how to pull Magic in magically. So we were talking with his team and thinking about Boston too.
“Then I went to my brother’s house in Brewster where I grew up for his son’s graduation,” he continued. “We were huge Celtics fans when Larry and Magic were rivals. So, while we were sitting there watching Game 6 of the Bruins finals, my brother turned and said, ‘Why don’t you just put Larry Bird in your spot? That seems simple.’ He runs an antique shop on the Cape. I was speechless. It was both a highlight and lowlight in my marketing career. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it. My brother was like, ‘Dude, it’s got to be Larry Bird.’”
Upon leaving Brewster, Moore said he had a note in huge letters that read, ‘Call Larry Bird.’
Though he didn’t know how to get ahold of Larry Bird or if Bird would even consent to being in the resort casino’s advertisement for Boston, Moore said he was convinced he had to give it every effort.
After Magic Johnson’s people reached out to Larry Bird’s team, there was a good response, and with a little time, things were ironed out and it was a go.
“It was pretty serendipitous to have Larry and Magic in it because we had wanted to do a celebrity cameo in our spot but couldn’t think of the right ones,” he said. “Larry and Magic were not the focus of the advertisement. We had a story to tell and we did it by highlighting things that were absolutely appropriate…That advertisement works whether you have Magic or Larry in there or not. It tells our story. It’s just much better told with Magic and Larry.”
The spot is currently appearing in Boston, and just started in Los Angeles – which is a major advertising market for the Las Vegas properties. The commercial is part of the ‘A World Above’ theme and highlights the elevator imagery that has been part of most of the Encore opening ads since May. This time, the elevator is going around the world seemingly collecting things for the Encore Boston Harbor.
It stops at a field of flowers likely in South America; then heads to an art auction in Paris; brings in the musical act Chainsmokers; and brings gaming materials for Vegas and food from Sinatra’s into the elevator as well.
Towards the end, suddenly Larry and Magic appear on the elevator, and seconds later the doors open and they come out together on the gaming floor. It was a rare moment seeing them together, and Moore said it also coincided with the 40th anniversary of the beginning of their rivalry in 1979. Plus, it was a perfect blend of two iconic sports celebrities that are both historically revered and hated in either market.
It also fulfills the purpose of uniting both Encores – bringing west and east together, which was another purpose of the advertising spots, he said.
“Anyone who was around and alive and tied into these players understands the dynamic because it brings about a deeper connection (to the places),” he said. “It’s not just a celebrity cameo or spot. There’s meaning, and because these two are true legends, it resonates fast and quick…It’s reminiscent and ties the property to these places in a classy way. That’s what I think people see when they see Larry and Magic. It brought me right back to being a middle school basketball player on Cape Cod.”