Yearly Archives: 2016

Success for Grupo Posadas, Petalo

CMV/R&R in Mexico City, one of R&R’s nine North American branches, has enjoyed recent success with new accounts.

Gamma – Grupo Posadas, the newest hotel brand of the largest resort chain in Mexico, had a major challenge: Branding. But with the help of CMV/R&R, after two months of influencers helping position the brand and strategies for organic growth, the brand’s account interaction on social networks more than quadrupled.

Another recent campaign for Kimberly-Clark brand Petalo was a different challenge entirely. CMV/R&R had to communicate the most important and basic characteristics of toilet paper to help this Kimberly-Clark brand resonate with Mexico consumers, particularly mothers.

Petalo was positioned as everything a mother is to her children – Soft. Efficient. Resistant. The campaign, titled “In Everything, Just Like You,” speaks directly to the target audience: the women who want to give their families the best and most cost-efficient products.

The TV spots went on air and were posted on YouTube in March, and have more than 2 million views, exceeding expectations and providing a strong campaign for Petalo.

Think of your Corporate Social Responsibility as Corporate Survival

R&R Partners is a part of and attended a recent Nevada Corporate Giving Council. The renowned guest speaker, Edmund Cain from the Hilton Foundation said that CSR is no longer being looked at as social responsibility, but rather as corporate survival. All companies whether their size should do their part to impact society.

Cain provided three helpful tips as it relates to prioritizing your corporate social responsibility programs: be respectful of the donor intent (ideally it’s for impact versus for cost of doing business); do the analytics (what are the pressing issues); how can your works be leveraged (with collaboration amongst other groups funding).


Cain also touched on his recently published blog on why foundations should keep global sustainability issues top of mind.

Cain complimented the work being done in Nevada, and gave a nod to much of Conrad Hilton’s successes stemming from his ownership days of the Las Vegas Hilton and Flamingo Hotel. For more information on the Nevada Corporate Giving Council’s annual philanthropy report, see recent BusinessPress article.

Upon reflection after the event I attended, I thought about what CSR means to R&R, and it is at the heart of everything that we do—as an agency and for our clients. Before corporate social responsibility became essential to survival, we started the R&R Foundation, as we believe our employees and partners can come together for the greater good.

Jim King, Chairman of the R&R Foundation says, “As R&R Partners as a global marketing agency is well-known for providing creative communications solutions to a broad spectrum of clients, we want our Foundation to be known for strengthening the communities we serve.” I believe that not only is this at the heart of our culture and in living our values, but part of the lifeblood of our agency.


How we win … and what we won.

Saying we’re going to win for our clients, and ourselves, is easy. It’s the doing it part that’s hard. It takes talent, work, patience, perseverance, passion and a dogged refusal to settle for anything less.

We win by being smart. We win by getting smarter. We win with ideas. We win with creativity. And we win with hard work. So far in 2016, we’ve done a lot and we’ve won a lot.

Kneaders header
UMUC logo




Take a look.


Sometimes winning literally means winning. As in awards. This year, we’ve taken more than our share.

  • National ADDY − Boeing – Branded Content and Entertainment
  • Radio Mercury Awards – LVCVA National Finalist
  • District 15 ADDYs – LVCVA − 2 Gold
  • SNWA – 6 Gold, 2 Silver
  • Salt Lake City ADDYs – UTA − Radio Campaign of the Year
  • UTA – 2 Gold
  • Barrick Gold – 3 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 District Silver
  • Days of 47 Rodeo – 2 Silver
  • Utah Dept. Health – 1 Gold, 2 Silver
  • Utah Dept. of Public Safety – 1 Gold, 1 Silver
  • Phoenix ADDYs – R&R Self Promo – 3 Gold
  • Ford Vignale – 2 Gold
  • Las Vegas ADDYs – LVCVA – Judges’ Choice Award
  • LVCVA – 5 Gold, 5 Silver, 7 Bronze
  • SNWA – 5 Gold, 4 Silver, 1 Bronze
  • Las Vegas Animal Foundation – 1 Silver

Plus numerous other national awards (Appys, Travvys, etc.) for LVCVA and Boeing.

The Evolution of Play: Topgolf Las Vegas


The Evolution of Play arrived in Las Vegas in May with the grand opening of Topgolf’s flagship location at MGM Grand. Topgolf Las Vegas boasts an entertainment complex with four levels, 108 climate-controlled hitting bays, two pools, live entertainment, meeting space and the patented Topgolf game.

R&R’s media efforts began in January with a recruitment plan to help it fill 850-plus positions. Using a multimedia strategy, the campaign helped generate thousands of applicants.

The grand opening media strategy was designed to reach both Las Vegas locals and tourists. Select media channels launched in mid-May as the venue opened, but the full multimedia approach went into effect in June with several high-impact, premium placements. Paid social posts were instrumental in delivering Topgolf’s teaser videos.

The campaign far exceeded some of Facebook’s key benchmarks, including cost-per-view, engagement and organic reach. Paid social media efforts will continue to be an integral part of the strategy as new content and assets become available – as evidenced by the celebrity traffic that it attracted during the recent Billboard Music Awards within days of its grand opening – Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, Drake, etc.

In addition, the R&R team is already busy working on media support for Topgolf’s upcoming entertainment schedule to support ticket sales, as well as preparing to execute a visitor profile study via our strategy and insights team.



The Utah Department of Highway Safety hired R&R Partners to promote a simple—and commonsense—message during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.

Don’t drink and drive.

Over the last five years, there have been 23 alcohol-related crashes on St. Patrick’s Day, placing it among the top three deadliest holidays in Utah. The team at R&R Partners understood the need to create a behavior change among St. Patrick’s Day celebrators—seems like an easy task—but how does one take a decade-old message that nobody pays attention to anymore and re-say it in a way that changes behavior, especially during a holiday that has become synonymous with alcohol?

On the evening of St. Patrick’s Day, R&R launched the latest DUI prevention campaign with the help of statewide law enforcement and strategic partnerships with local bars and taverns. Uniformed officers and local actors dressed as living statues of the Saints of Sobriety, including: St. Haylor of Cab, saint of wise travelers; St. Cristyl O’Clearhead, saint of responsible drinking; and St. Alweis the Appointed, saint of designated drivers, stood outside entrances to bars/taverns, urging patrons to celebrate responsibly. Those patrons who pledged to get home safely received a coin from law enforcement, and when deposited in the statue’s hat, activated an interactive performance by the living saint statue. To assist in additional awareness, each bar also placed a stained glass display at their location to communicate the importance of sober driving on Utah’s roads.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 12.02.21 PM

Yes, it’s another obvious observation, but it’s also the key to R&R’s drunk driving prevention success. If people get so drunk that they can’t remember their names, how can somebody expect them to remember a TV commercial they saw last week telling them not to drink and drive? Instead, R&R Partners’ push to advertise as close as possible to the point of decision—that moment between when people finish their last beer and pull out their car keys—is vital to immediate behavior change.

In one day, a marketing investment of approximately $10,000 turned into nearly $100,000 worth of local media attention and roughly 1.3 million of news media impressions. And even more impressive is that for the first time, Utah had zero alcohol-related accidents or fatalities for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Trooper Lawrence Hopper from Utah Highway Patrol shared, “We wanted to find a way to drive down the number of alcohol-related incidents on Utah roadways, but do so without ending the good times and celebration. With the help of R&R, we not only reached our goal, but surpassed it, creating a community-wide movement that altered the way both patrons and bar owners think about holiday celebrations.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 12.01.46 PM

By partnering with local businesses, placing timely messages at the point of consumption, and creating innovative and creative DUI prevention messages, R&R Partners created a new best-practice in social norms marketing. For a message that hasn’t been newsworthy in decades, that you shouldn’t drink and drive, that’s pretty good.

We’re Only Here for the Beer

In 2015, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival brought in more than $84 million and attendees tweeted about it over 30 million times in the first weekend alone. Each year, the festival tends to outdo itself and 2016 was no different.


Guests soaked up the sun and pool time during the Las Vegas #WHHSH Pool Party at the Ingleside Inn in Palm Springs, Calif.

Coachella has morphed from a three-day Woodstock-like getaway to a weekend full of brands, marketing and messaging with the music taking a backseat. Brands flock each year to Palm Springs to throw the best pool party, sickest celeb-filled event and have the most sought-after guest list. Each year, most brands fall short, but others are able to capture a majority of the media and conversation surrounding the two-weekend festival. Celeb sightings, party recaps and gifting reviews occupy most of mainstream media for 10 days, with each brand hoping to get a mention, and only three to four making the cut.

Kat Graham - Stacked

Kat Graham, star of The Vampire Diaries, visited the Las Vegas #WHHSH Pool Party on Saturday, April 16. She tried (and loved) #WHHSH beer, stopped by the Red Rock Resort braid bar, and caught up with pal, Joe Jonas.

Las Vegas’ newest campaign, #WHHSH, geared toward a digital savvy, millennial audience was primed for the Coachella landscape and demographic. But how were we going to speak to the Coachella festival goer in a way that resonated and aligned? Oh, and make sure we’re among the three to four most talked about brands in our freshman year? Beer, of course. The #WHHSH campaign had been exploring product creation and distribution as a way to “bottle the essence” of the brand and take it on the road. #WHHSH Beer, already in progress, was the perfect conversation starter for the media and attendees.

The event came together as a two-day resort takeover with beer leading the charge, but Vegas being represented in a number of ways. Property partners curated service cabanas necessary to Coachella survival; local restaurants curated festival-friendly menus; Las Vegas virtually came to life at the Vegas VR station; celebrity attendees graced the beer can step and repeat; and DJs and talent kept the party going in true Las Vegas fashion.

Brian Kelly - VR

Points guy Brian Kelly saved his travel points for the real deal and opted to test out some Vegas experiences with the Vegas VR app.

The event not only created an engaging experiential opportunity for guests in multiple ways, but also secured solid numbers in earned media and social engagement. With over 4 million social impressions, 2,000 uses of #WHHSH on social platforms and 76 million media impressions worth $8.8 million, the #WHHSH Coachella event made the list of best Coachella events in its inaugural year. Our team was able to use #WHHSH Beer to start, extend upon and amplify the conversations around Las Vegas.


Chart-topping sensation DNCE and front man Joe Jonas closed out a wildly successful weekend with an exclusive DJ set for partygoers.


Clever creative helped R&R position Arizona’s Citizens Clean Elections Commission as a nonpartisan, unbiased, official government agency that publishes neutral political information.

Voters have enough to think about when deciding among candidates and ballot questions. The process shouldn’t make the task more daunting. In Arizona, the Citizens Clean Election Commission has tools and resources available for voters to help them prepare for elections.

The question: How do we bring more awareness to the Commission?

R&R Partners’ research uncovered that Arizona voters are completely overwhelmed by the process of finding trustworthy research they can use to formulate opinions about candidates. Bias, hidden agendas and negativity were all cited as common hurdles.

The solution was to position Clean Elections as a nonpartisan, unbiased, official government agency that publishes neutral information about political processes and procedures, providing every voter with statements directly from the candidates.

Creatively, we depicted several alternatives to using information from Clean Elections – we see voters resort to flipping a coin and using fortune-telling devices like a paper finger fortune and a Magic 8 Ball. Producing creative that is the complete opposite of the types of political ads that would typically be in market – entertaining, voter-centric, humorous, simple to understand, quiet, honest and free of bias – drove the point home with voters.

Sadly, El Nino didn’t save us.

It all sounded so hopeful. Last autumn all the talk was about the “Godzilla of El Ninos,” forming in the Pacific Ocean and preparing to bring all of us in the western U.S. a winter positively brimming with wet, wonderful precipitation. Rain in the valleys, snow in the mountains and water everywhere the eye could see.

Meteorologists and climatologists were lining up to tell us that the models they were working on portended an El Nino unlike any we had seen since the record winter of 1997-98. States including California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Colorado that had been suffering under the jackboot of the worst drought any of us had experienced for more than a decade would finally see some relief.

It was going to be glorious.

Except, it wasn’t. In June, as we look back on the El Nino winter of 2015-16, it seems that Godzilla underachieved. Granted, the news wasn’t all bad. The Pacific Northwest had a very wet year. But that’s Washington and Oregon. Their situation isn’t nearly as dire as ours. Closer to home, rainfall in Northern California actually had what has been described as “near normal” rainfall during the season. The nature of the drought is such that a year of “near normal” is now considered cause for celebration. But, many of Northern California’s reservoirs did receive a nice jolt of new water. And that’s a very good thing.

But things were much less rosy elsewhere. The snowpack in California’s mountains was still 14% below normal for the year. Even more disappointing, the seasonal rainfall in Los Angeles was 6.59 inches. Normal for the area is 13.54 inches.

Things were no better – and no wetter – in Arizona. Arizona’s mountains recorded a less-than-normal snowpack for the sixth consecutive year, even after a very promising start to the season. Nevada had a year very much like California’s. Not bad in the mountains and lakes of Northern Nevada. But in Southern Nevada – well, it never rains or snows very much in Southern Nevada anyway.

Which brings us to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado – where the winter snowpack determines how much water will flow down the Colorado River into Lake Mead and ultimately to the millions of homes, businesses and farms in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah – even Mexico – that depend on it as their primary source.

Again, we are forced to wonder what might have been. As in Arizona and California, the year in the Rockies got off to a very promising start. But in the months after that… more disappointments. When all was said and done, the snowpack fell 20% short of what is considered normal. Even worse, a warm March caused much of the snowpack to melt too quickly and too early to really make a difference in the downstream reservoirs like Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Granted, the region did have a very cool and wet month of May, but by then, the damage to the snowpack had been done.

Lake Mead 3[5]

Put simply, Big Daddy Drought had slapped El Nino on the butt.

There is no greater evidence of that than in the declining reserves in Lake Mead. In May of 2016, the level of the lake was measured at 1074 feet, the lowest since Hoover Dam had been completed. That level is expected to go down another five feet by the end of June. On a more optimistic note, due to some late season runoff and some extra stores that will be allowed to flow into the lake by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, it is anticipated that its level will measure 1078 feet by year’s end. That’s an important number, because it the lake measures at 1075 or less at the end of this year, it will trigger new – and harsher – restrictions on its use by all of us who depend on it for water. Cross your fingers now.

Lake Mead 1[8]

So, El Nino didn’t save us. What now?   We have to continue to save ourselves. Water authorities and purveyors throughout the region need to continue to fight the good fight. Research has always shown that people in a drought-stricken area are enthusiastic to jump in and be part of the solution. They just need to know what to do, and trust that all of their neighbors are also contributing. If the drought has taught us nothing else, it has instilled in everyone in the region an awareness of the problem and a mindset to aid in the solution. Water smart habits were slowly but surely being formed. It’s vital that we keep that momentum going.

Our client, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) is about to introduce an aggressive new water-saving program this summer, while continuing the other sustainable water management programs we have established over the past two decades that have resulted in some astounding savings. But we in Southern Nevada are old hands at drought, and the SNWA is viewed internationally as a leader in water conservation programs and marketing.

The key is that people, businesses and governments in all of the areas that depend on water that we all hope nature will deliver adopt a similar mindset and attitude, proactively changing behavior to conform to a reality that we’re ultimately going to have to save ourselves.

Because now we know one thing for sure – El Nino isn’t coming to the rescue anytime soon.

Reflections in the Aftermath of Orlando Shooting (and Lessons Learned for LGBT Marketers)

In honor of the lives lost in Orlando this weekend, I wanted to open my LGBT blog post with a small tribute to the horrible tragedy that has impacted all of our lives. I’m sure many of you woke up on Sunday morning as I did to the tragic news coming from Orlando. Each Sunday, our kids wander into our room and we go eat breakfast and plan for the day ahead. Well, that happened yesterday too, but Hudson and Sawyer witnessed their dads paralyzed to the TV with tears streaming down their eyes. What do you tell your 2- and 5-year-olds about a senseless tragedy and about death? I didn’t know exactly what to say and I don’t think I ever will, but I will always think of the Orlando club owner when I think of my kids moving forward. She had named the club “Pulse” as it reminded her of her brother’s heartbeat, whom she lost to AIDS years ago. I will always think of my kids’ heartbeat, and also the heartbeats of the 49 victims, each and every day of my life here on earth. My heart goes out to all of the families affected by this senseless act.

Growing up in Mississippi, I was always raised with a value system to love, care for, give back and be respectful. I’ve always looked for similar shared values in the companies and clients I’ve worked for, and being a part of R&R Partners now for 10 years has been a perfect match for me. At the core, R&R is empathetic − we embed with our clients, helping them through whatever situation they are going through. R&R also puts our employees and their families at the forefront of everything we do, as we know it’s our employees who help deliver the results for our clients at the end of the day.

As an advertising executive and gay man, I carry those ingrained values that my family instilled in me throughout my personal and professional life. Recently, my partner and I served as plaintiffs in the successful Nevada marriage equality lawsuit. I was so grateful that R&R supported this endeavor that was so very important to millions of LGBT individuals throughout the world.


The high of the Supreme Court’s decision on the marriage equality victory was recently overshadowed by the ridiculously bigoted rollback of anti-discrimination laws in North Carolina and my home state of Mississippi. I was appalled by the governors in these Southern states and how they’d allow for discrimination to not only affect the lives of many of their residents, but also the economics of their state. These states are losing millions, if not billions, of dollars in tourism dollars. There’s a great website that is tracking artists, from Bruce Springsteen to Cirque du Soleil, who are boycotting these states to stand up against their bigoted leaders. While I hate it for Mississippi, I love it in the respect to standing up for what’s right, and I’m in hopes that these biased laws are overturned in short-order.

The Mississippi discrimination law situation reignited my upbringing and also my desire to work for and with companies who are diverse, respectful and welcoming. It makes me proud to work for a phenomenal, independent advertising and marketing firm that has not only created the path for LGBT visitors to enjoy Las Vegas and our resort properties, no matter who you are, but also has helped fight for equal human rights in the Nevada legislature to pass hospital visitation rights, anti-bullying laws, transgender rights and marriage equality, among other corporate social responsibility initiatives.

AdAge recently published an article with “musts” for those clients marketing to the LGBT community. I’m proud to say R&R Partners has been living and breathing these musts since their existence began 42 years ago, helping lead the way for people like me to be a successful (gay) executive in today’s society, despite the setbacks a few are making us work through.

rac 100237_13_RRFOUND_FTS_Becker_Outside_Bans_14x5

Fletcher Whitwell is senior vice president at R&R Partners, overseeing multiple offices across the U.S. He is a devoted husband and father of two adopted children. He serves his community on many boards, including Human Rights Campaign, SampleDance, Spread the Word Nevada and Worldwide Partners.