McDonalds Comes to the Art District

Our pal Kristen Petersen over at the Las Vegas Sun tells us:

It’s not every day that you see the Las Vegas Arts District in a McDonald’s commercial.

Local ad agency Robertson Wood has changed that — at least for September — with a 30-second spot that features the Arts Factory and the Funk House as well as the Entertainment District’s Beauty Bar and Downtown Cocktail Room.

The whimsical commercial, which melds cartoons with real images, began airing this week on several local stations.

Set to an ’80s-style rock jingle, it features a multicultural cast of characters getting out of bed and heading off to the retro McDonald’s on Sahara Avenue near Las Vegas Boulevard. After a romp through Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, they stroll past the downtown landmarks swinging a McDonald’s bag.

It closes with an overlay of the McDonald’s logo on the graffiti-style mural on the Funk House at Casino Center and Colorado Boulevard, recognizable to anyone who has traversed the epicenter of First Friday.

There are cartoon hints of the familiar Strip skyline and the Fabulous Las Vegas sign, but the focus is clearly on local cultural hot spots.

The ad agency wanted to get away from the cliche Las Vegas landmarks and cater to Las Vegas “insiders,” says Scott Robertson, president and creative director of Robertson Wood, which also is responsible for Summerlin’s “This Is Home” commercials.

“We thought we’d appeal to people emotionally, put a smile on their face, inspire them to come eat their burgers. But we didn’t want it to be the Strip,” Robertson says. “By showing hidden gems that only locals know about, that would be something that would be more resonant with people.”

It isn’t common, but McDonald’s sometimes contracts with regional agencies to give ads local flavor, company spokeswoman Blake Wynter says.

Robertson says he was drawn to downtown’s retro industrial architecture, and if the ad gives the area a boost, all the better.

The Attic, a funky vintage clothing store on South Main Street in the Arts District, got a big boost in tourist business a few years ago when it was featured in a national Visa commercial.

Two local production companies, Lola Pictures and Sun Media Productions, worked on the commercial. Lola founder Christopher Ramirez says he likes the idea of celebrating local culture.

Wes Myles, a commercial photographer and owner of the Arts Factory, is used to it. Disney recently shot a movie on Main Street. Rap groups, car clubs and other companies, including Harley-Davidson, use his property for filming.

“It’s the bohemian funky look,” Myles says. “It’s the hip thing to do these days: to show the real world. It’s not so polished, so white bread anymore.

“I think it makes downtown a little less fearful to people.”