LAS VEGAS – Another part of the drought-ridden West is attempting to make water conservation sexy, this time with funny ads in Las Vegas.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority this week launched a campaign on television, radio, print and social media themed: "There's Nothing Sexier Than Saving Water." The ads were developed by R&R Partners, the firm behind Vegas' most famous tagline: "What Happens Here, Stays Here."
The new advertisements depict people adjusting watering clocks as members of the opposite sex ogle with lust. It coincides with the new fall restrictions that began Tuesday, which through Oct. 31 limits watering to three days a week and prohibits sprinklers during the day and misting systems at businesses.
In June, San Francisco officials also unveiled sexy ads, which urged residents to go "full-frontal" and take short, steamy showers.
Spokesman Scott Huntley said the new Las Vegas campaign was developed over the last year and that Nevada officials were not aware of San Francisco's recent ads.
He said the Nevada water agency has for years done two-week long "compliance" promotions during the seasonal transitions, using humorous messages to remind users to be complaint. Violators are first given warnings before fines start at $100, exceeding $1,000 for repeat offenders.
The advertising, which cost about $1.6 million annually, is a part of the longstanding effort to plug water conservation in the desert area that has been in drought for years.
"We were the first to the game on this. We've had a tremendous amount of success that's being emulated in other places," Huntley said.
The previous "Don't Make Us Ask You Again" theme was used for eight years in Vegas and featured male-centric slapstick humor because research showed that the typical household water controller was, according to Huntley, a "Joe Six Pack," or a man in his late 20s to 50s.
And perhaps as proof that sex sells to everyone, Huntley said the new ads were made to also target expanding demographics, including those who are older and more diverse and female.
"There are certainly things that grab people's attention and humor does it a lot and one of the primary aspects of humor is the sexual humor, the sexy humor — that's one of the basics," Huntley said.