Atlantic City skyline

Atlantic City skyline.

Dale Gerhard

ATLANTIC CITY — The resort that’s attracted visitors by suggesting it’s “Always Turned On” for more than eight years is about to try a more direct approach: “Do AC!”

“Backed by a $30 million investment, ‘Do AC!’ will provide consumers ... with a comprehensive advertising campaign — television, radio and print — that promotes all of our unique offerings,” wrote Caesars Entertainment Eastern Division President Don Marrandino n a recent letter to employees of the company’s four local properties. “The new campaign launching in mid-April will encourage customers — both new and those we haven’t seen in years to visit AC.”

Dated March 2012, the memo circulated throughout Bally’s Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort and Showboat Casino Hotel. The properties reported a combined workforce of 13,396 people to the Casino Control Commission on Jan. 1.

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Marrandino, who declined comment Wednesday through a company spokeswoman, also heads the board of the Atlantic City Alliance, the nonprofit marketing arm of the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. Alliance representatives also declined comment Wednesday.

But local business and community leaders as well as marketing and advertising professionals from the greater Atlantic City and Philadelphia markets seem to think the new slogan will work well.

“The sexual innuendo is apparent” to Scott Tattar, senior vice president at LevLane Advertising, which handles marketing for the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., a partnership between the city government and Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s A.C. Decadence rules,” Tattar said via email. “Why not put it right out there for the consumer to be teased by the invitation ‘to do’ A.C.?”

That’s not necessarily the intent, said Jeff Vasser, president of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority.

“Just like ‘Always Turned On,’ it wasn’t the intent to be sexual,” he said. “The beauty of these things is that people can read into it as they choose, and if that’s what motivates them to come to Atlantic City, so be it.”

Vasser said he was among those who helped select Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, which as hired to partner with New York-based advertising group Euro RSCG to help the Alliance develop the marketing campaign that will replace the “Always Turned On” concept developed in 2003.

The city has changed since then, said Vasser, whose agency has continued to support resort marketing efforts but increasingly has focused on convention sales since the onset a year ago of state laws establishing the Alliance and integrating the ACCVA into the CRDA.

The new slogan seems like a “call to action” to Phyllis Lacca, who runs Atlantic City-based Masterpiece Advertising.

“In today’s competitive market, leisure dollars are tight,” Lacca said Wednesday. “I hope ‘Do A.C.!’ will move people to visit Atlantic City. I look forward to seeing the full campaign versus others (for nearby markets).”

Once the complete campaign launches, the full effect of the slogan will be more apparent, said Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt, president of Suasion Communications Group in Egg Harbor Township.

“It sounds like an evolution from the old slogan: ‘Always Turned On,’ ‘Do A.C.!’” Adelizzi-Schmidt said. “It’s very simple and quick, and easily digestible, so I think it will resonate. (But) you have to have the whole package to support the slogan: the visuals, the icons, the identity.”

Rollout is scheduled to happen by the end of April, a timing intended to “generate a strong momentum as we head into the summer season,” said Alliance board member Bob Griffin, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey and Trump Entertainment CEO.

“We have seen a preview, and we all agree that it is exciting and sure to be successful,” Griffin said.

Atlantic City Council pushed to change the resort’s slogan earlier this year. The nine-person panel passed a resolution in February declaring the new tag should be “The World’s Famous Playground” — which had been used along with “The World’s Favorite Playground” for more than 100 years when the ACCVA introduced “Always Turned On!” in October 2003.

Slogan aside, “we all want Atlantic City to be the mecca for entertainment and tourism on the East Coast,” 2nd Ward City Councilman Marty Small said.

“Do A.C.!” seems like a good way to go to Small, who promotes events part-time.

“When you’re having a discussion with your friend, you say, ‘Let’s do Vegas,’ or ‘Let’s do Philly,” (meaning) ‘Let’s go,’” Small said. “It’s creative, it’s catchy. The bottom line is, we want people to do A.C.”

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