What Recession? Businesses Market Clever Ad Campaigns to Boost Spending

Commericals Get Creative

Americans may not feel like spending money on vacations, but advertisers are targeting them anyway, developing clever ads to lure business back to cities and airlines that have been smarting from the pinch of the recession.

In its latest creative move to attract travelers back to Las Vegas, Nev., which is among the major U.S. cities hit hardest by the recession, the city's tourism board has released a new ad confronting rumors that Las Vegas is deserted.

And Air New Zealand was willing to bare all if it meant enticing more consumers to buy tickets on its planes. The airline developed an ad that depicts the flight attendants dressed in nothing but body paint to promote just how serious they are about their no-hidden-fees policy.

"It's a fact that people have closed their pocketbooks," said Steve Hall, the editor of the marketing industry blog Adrants.com. "They're saving and listening to economic advisers who are saying do this and not that, and yet there are companies out there whose sole existence depends on people opening up their wallet, taking money out and giving it to them."

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The desperation to stay out of the red has forced many companies to do whatever it takes to retain their customers and possibly attract new business, Hall said.

ABCNews.com took a closer look at some of the most original ways advertisers and companies are turning to desperate measures to promote their products -- and encourage consumer spending -- during the recession.

Las Vegas' 'What Happens Here, Stays Here' Ads

Las Vegas still has plenty of sin to go around; at least that's what the city's marketers would like consumers to think.

A new ad campaign released this month by Las Vegas Tourism revamps its old slogan "What Happens Here, Stays Here," and attempts to refute claims that nobody is interested in all that Sin City offers.

"All of the news coverage made it sound like things were closing down and we were boarding up the twon, and that's clearly not the case," said Betsy Ward, the director of communications for R&R Partners, the firm handling Las Vegas' advertising.

"We had to show, in a dramatic way, that regular people are coming here and having a blast," she said.

And dramatic it is.

The ad depicts faux television reporter Candace Newman delivering the news on the dismal reality of life in Las Vegas: Empty cabanas and pools where "the water's warm, but nobody's getting in."

But as soon as her broadcast ends, Newman strips down to a skimpy bikini and joins the revelers in the nearby pool.

"We decided to push back a little on the message that the sky is falling," Ward said. "Yes, things are tough but people still need a break and Las Vegas is the perfect place to do it."

Earlier this year, Las Vegas Tourism tried to alter the traditional image of the city by running ads that suggested travelers didn't have to be high-rollers to have a great Vegas experience.

A series of spots features all 358 residents of Cranfills Gap, Texas, traveling to Las Vegas for an all-expenses paid vacation, a ploy aiming to show that even small-town America can enjoy Vegas.

Air New Zealand Bares It All

Air New Zealand staff members are baring it all -- for the sake of business, of course -- and they're not at all shy about doing it.

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