New Safety Initiative: Stop to Talk, Text

Due to a recent rise in Utah roadway deaths and increased summer traffic on major highways, Staker Parson Companies hired R&R Partners in Salt Lake City to raise awareness for its long-held corporate goal of Zero Harm to all Utah drivers and travelers.

Staker Parson leveraged an opportunity to create a public social cause message to impact the overall safety of Utahns, as well as to create support for its ongoing safety efforts in the communities in which it operates. It’s consistently building safer roads by encouraging drivers to put down their phones while driving (employees in work zones and community members on public streets). The call to action? It’s simple: Stop to Talk. Stop to Text.

The intermountain region’s leading construction materials and services provider, strategically chose to partner with state safety officials and the Utah Highway Patrol to eliminate distracted driving—calling particular attention to cellphone use behind the wheel. Leadership from Staker Parson Companies and the Utah Highway Patrol joined Lt. Governor (of Utah) Spencer Cox to launch the new safety initiative at a formal press event on Thursday, June 2. This press event featured several speakers who shared their commitment to work-zone and Utah roadway safety initiatives, and encouraged all Utahns to pledge their commitment to the same worthy

Event speakers included: Lt. Governor Spencer Cox; Scott Parson, president and CEO of Staker Parson Companies; representatives from the Utah Highway Patrol; Lee Goodrich, Staker Parson employee and uncle of the late Chet Goodrich; as well as a student body officer from Corner Canyon High School.

press-event-1      Stop to Talk. Stop to Text.

In addition to the formal press event, several creative assets were built to complement the event. Branded concrete mixer truck barrels, banners, a Snapchat filter and printed collateral featured law enforcement and Staker Parson road crews working together to build safer roads.

By partnering with local and statewide law enforcement, state elected officials and other community members, we were able to secure successful media impact behind our safe-driving initiative. But, at the end of the day, it’s the lives saved that determines whether or not our efforts were successful. “If one accident is prevented from all this effort, one injury or one life not lost, it will all be worth it,” Parson said. “That would be success.”

Las Vegas VR is Virtually (and Literally) Amazing

Vegas VR, Las Vegas’ virtual reality app, sure knows how to get around. Since its debut in March 2016, the app has been downloaded over 11,200 times; has traveled to more than 10 countries; and has been incorporated into over 20 events, activations and trade shows globally.

Las Vegas has quickly become a leader in the virtual reality (VR) destination marketing field and is still one of the only destinations globally to incorporate virtual reality into its marketing efforts and to have a VR app.

Vegas Goes Virtual

For over 35 years, R&R Partners has been the communications agency of record for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). Campaigns like “What happens here, stays here®” were responsible for creating the modern Las Vegas brand that attracts more than 42 million visitors annually.


But, in order to keep campaigning fresh and relevant, R&R Partners envisioned a new direction for positioning the brand that would tap into the visceral and deeply emotional reasons visitors connect with the city. Thus, Vegas VR, Las Vegas’ virtual reality app, was born.

“Las Vegas is always looking for innovative ways to engage visitors. The VR app allows us to showcase the destination to first-time visitors and remind Vegas enthusiasts about all of the unique offerings,” said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Vegas VR gives our visitors a new way to connect with Las Vegas.”

When using Vegas VR, consumers are directly connected with a series of original 360-degree interactive videos that become immersive virtual reality experiences when used with a VR viewer compatible with smartphones, such as Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR.


From zip-lining through the Fremont Street Experience aboard Slotzilla, to being serenaded on an authentic gondola ride through The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and more, Vegas VR places trade show delegates, consumers and would-be visitors alike into some of the most iconic Las Vegas experiences.

A City Seen ‘Round the World

Las Vegas became one of the first destinations to utilize virtual reality technology in March 2016 when Vegas VR was showcased during the ITB travel trade show in Berlin, Germany.

Domestically, the LVCVA introduced the destination’s virtual reality technology to industry and tech media at the 2016 South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference and Festivals in Austin, Texas, which celebrates the convergence of the interactive, film and music industries.

Since its initial debut, it has continued to be used on a global scale. From trade shows, to media events and consumer brand activations, Vegas VR continues to shine.


Over summer 2016, Vegas VR went through its first major refresh, which brought new content and a new design. Additional features were added to some of the videos, including fact overlays, scene-change capabilities and time-lapse footage.

Reality Check

The LVCVA’s foray into VR technology started about two years ago when it partnered with Google on GeoVegas, a site that featured steerable 360-degree photos and videos inside Vegas hotels and attractions. It functioned like a digital walk-through, enabling viewers to tour a hotel, nightclub or restaurant.

To create the VR content, R&R Partners worked with the LVCVA and its destination partners to film 360-degree videos of experiences that only exist in Las Vegas using a Pro7 360 Plug-N-Play Holder and seven GoPro Hero 4 Black cameras, professional tools used for filming virtual reality 360-degree content in various environments.

Once the videos were created and stitched together, R&R Partners worked with Wemersive to create the Vegas VR app users can download today. Depending on the content of the video, the entire process can take anywhere from one to six weeks to create.

Vegas VR continues to be one of the most accessible VR apps on the market. All users need is the app, a smartphone and a cardboard viewer. Even without a cardboard viewer, users are able to watch all of the 360-degree videos on the app and interact with the videos using gyroscope, swipe and zoom functions without using additional virtual reality technology.

Looking Ahead

The Vegas VR app has been downloaded more than 11,200 times. The LVCVA has also distributed its virtual reality content through social media channels and other digital platforms where they’ve received over 17 million views.

The LVCVA and R&R Partners are always looking for new content and will continue to create and add new VR experiences to the app. Moving forward, the LVCVA and R&R Partners will look to add storytelling elements to the VR content and continue to use new elements such as the fact overlays, multiscene capabilities and time-lapse elements.

Vegas VR is available for iOS and Android platforms and is free to download here or through the App Store and Google Play. A selection of 360-degree videos are also available to view on Las Vegas’ YouTube channel.

The LVCVA has also launched VIVA, a dynamic and engaging platform that captures the best Las Vegas has to offer through original destination digital content, and WhereToVegas, a mobile app that provides visitors with a social heat map of trending locations and events in Las Vegas, helping visitors maximize their Vegas vacation experience by informing them of the “hot spots” in town during their stay.


The time is now. Like, right now.

In case you didn’t notice, Las Vegas is in the middle of the desert. Water conservation has become a way of life for most residents – using less, means more. Each year, the Southern Nevada Water Authority reminds residents to help conserve and save water by changing their watering clocks to comply with mandatory watering restrictions. Previous campaigns were English only and missing a key demographic of the valley – our Spanish-speaking audience.

Southern Nevada Hispanics live in multigenerational households with about 40 percent of them primarily speaking Spanish at home. Our task was to create a campaign that would resonate with the Hispanic audience, tapping into the cultural nuances to incite action.

Creative development was headed up by CMV/R&R out of Mexico City. The team landed on a theme common to many, but especially in Hispanic households. That theme was “Ahorita,” which can mean “I’ll get to it now,” but as it’s more commonly used, the task will “get put off” indefinitely. Imagine a wife asking her husband to take out the trash or do the dishes; his response, “Ahorita.” We all know what that means. It’s the eternal struggle between spouses. “Yes, dear, I’ll do that now” and yet, it doesn’t get done.

As with previous SNWA spots, such as “There’s Nothing Sexier Than Saving Water” or the infamous and Effie award-winning “Mrs. Nuttington,” “Ahorita” uses humor to engage audiences, which ultimately entertains as well as gets the main message across.

“Ahorita” is an integrated campaign that includes broadcast, radio, print and digital executions.

“Ahorita” Campaign Web Banner

Bad Decisions and Communication Arts

R&R Partners’ “Behind Bad Decisions” billboard for Parents Empowered has been selected to appear in the prestigious Communication Arts (CA) 2016 Advertising Annual.

CA’s Award of Excellence is one of the most coveted in the advertising industry, and of the thousands of international entries, only 138 ads were selected for publication this year.

The Parents Empowered billboard was the result of research showing that many parents viewed underage drinking as a teen boy problem. Based on that perception, these parents often didn’t talk to their daughters about not drinking underage. (In reality, teen males and females report roughly the same rates of alcohol use.)

Communication Arts

Award-Winning Communication Arts Billboard

The research, however, also showed that when it came to their daughters, parents were extremely concerned about unplanned pregnancies. By connecting teen pregnancy to underage drinking, the billboard helped elevate the issue of girls’ drinking underage.

The “Behind Bad Decisions” billboard-behind-another-billboard execution was so convincing that many people posted about it on social media, commenting on the irony of the situation. Then other people commented on how naïve those people were. Then, people said, “Stop being mean. How was I supposed to know? It’s a really clever ad.”

Apparently, Communication Arts agreed.

Media Tailgate: A Celebration of Partnerships

We have a simple belief here at R&R Partners in that anyone from the sales community is not a rep or a vendor, but rather a partner—a partner of our agency, our team, our clients. Someone who is committed to winning on behalf of our clients just as much as we are. R&R Partners is well-known as a close-knit family, and our media partners, near and far, are a big part of that family.

Our culture and communications manager, Sean Suggs, said it best, “Honestly, our employees, partners, clients and media partners are part of the R&R ‘Partners’ family. There’s no distinction between the groups. This brand of inclusiveness is evident in all of our core values, but especially candor, vigilance, respect and loyalty.” It’s this belief that was instilled in the media team long ago by group managing director, Fletcher Whitwell, and it’s one that is still front and center today.

Eleven years ago, an idea was born to celebrate our partners. Every year around the start of football season, the media team throws its annual Media Tailgate Party. We invite our partners in for an afternoon of food, beverages and a whole lot of fun, including chicken-wing eating contests, inflatable sports games, raffle prizes and, most importantly, to show our appreciation.

It’s this simple gesture that is often missing in today’s cutthroat world of advertising, but it’s one that can help push everyone forward, to work a little harder and to be all-in on the project at hand. So, to our partners around the world, on behalf of the R&R family, I say THANK YOU!


Media Tailgate 2015