The Heart of the Arts


The Smith Center for the Performing Arts



THE SMITH CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS is a world-class venue in Las Vegas that grand opened in March of 2012. Our job was to help build the brand and grand open this $470 Million dollar gem. The planning had spanned over a decade, and the promise was that it would become a cultural icon in Las Vegas for generations. Las Vegas had never had a world-class performing arts center, so our guts told us very early on that The Smith Center had all the potential to be something extremely special to Las Vegans. We thought it would be more than just the newest shiny object in a city full of shiny objects. We thought it would become a beacon of community and culture in a city that has been accused of having neither.

Research and account planning proved us right. Focus groups showed us there was incredible pent up demand and thirst and yearning for such a spectacular venue. It was more than just a place to see performers. It was a symbol that Las Vegas had become a real, world-class city. A point of pride. And it was at the center of an exciting, energetic cultural renaissance in the downtown corridor. However, there was also concern and doubt. Las Vegans are used to the grandest of grand openings, but they’re not used to grand openings that are for them. And they’re not used to the idea of a big, beautiful building being built with the intention of standing the test of time.

So, we had a very important message to deliver to Las Vegans. We needed to tell them that something special was about to open in their city. Something that would mark a cultural evolution and revolution–a new stage for Las Vegas. Something for them. For their children. For their grandchildren. Las Vegas was about to become a true community and a world-class, culturally rich city. And The Smith Center for the Performing Arts would be at the heart of it, driving that pulse, that energy. It was their new “Heart of the Arts.”

You’ll see versions of that message in these three brand television spots, which ran in the months leading up to grand opening. They were meant to build anticipation, excitement and the brand. We wanted them to be elegant, striking and emotional, so they would distinctly stand out in the market.

In addition, we created a series of images, which were used in signage, magazine and newspaper, featuring the wide variety of different acts represented at The Smith Center. It was important that we use local artists for these images, because of what The Smith Center would mean to the local community, and the fact that it will be home to these very performers.

As well as building the brand and the excitement that came along with it, we were very aware that The Smith Center ultimately needed to sell tickets. In the three 15 second television spots below we employed a few different strategies to drive ticket sales, from a sense of urgency to gift ideas to showing off the breadth of performances that were available to explore. We tried to stay very true to the elegance of the brand with our retail messaging, which can also be seen below in our physical season brochure and digital flipbook season brochure.

Another aspect of The Smith Center’s “Heart of the Arts” brand launch was the invitation for their opening night. This highly coveted invite was sent to donors and the city’s cultural community.  The message that served as the backbone for the grand opening invitation, “I Was There,” spoke to the historic nature of this special, once-in-a-lifetime event, suggesting it was something they’d be able to tell their grandkids about someday. This messaging was a thread that ran through all the touchpoints of the opening night event, including the mementos that guests were given as a keepsake.