This Is Marketing: We Are in the Holy S*** Business

A new corporate brand campaign for MGM Resorts International has a hidden benefit.

It helps translate and demonstrate what some business leaders consider “mumbo jumbo.” That would be marketing cornerstones such as branding, positioning and customer experience.

These critical building blocks, and others, are like oxygen to marketers and business leaders who believe in the power of smart, disciplined marketing to help build and grow profitable businesses, and keep them relevant.

But, not everyone is a believer, and not all practitioners have instilled confidence.

Credit: MGM Resorts International.

So, particularly for the marketing skeptics, this new MGM marketing is instructive. It’s strong, bold marketing that grabs attention. And seemingly has a chance to be effective.*

(* MGM did not identify specific business objectives, e.g., higher room occupancy, increased entertainment attendance, higher gambling revenue, etc.) so the assessment here is general.)


The full-page print ad in The Wall Street Journal jumped out as an excellent positioning example:

We are not in the hotel business.
We are in the jaw dropping business.
The spine tingling business.
The holy s*** business.

Credit: MGM Resorts International.


The marketing effort, called “Welcome to the Show”, is designed to promote MGM’s 27 distinctive resort destinations.

MGM defined objectives in broad terms, per a statement from Chief Experience & Marketing Officer Lilian Tomovich:

To “give audiences permission to be bold in their pursuit of fun, to live life fully. It communicates our clear aspiration to be first in the minds of consumers as a company that offers the most comprehensive entertainment experiences, delivered by our extraordinary team around the world.”

MGM pushes that “first in the minds of consumers” goal with ambitious hyperbole in its video communications, with statements such as

  • We invented MGM to entertain the human race
  • Mankind was not born to be bored
  • One mission: blow the mind of all mankind
  • An experience that blows you away

Since they’re used in context and fit with the overall message, the exaggerated claims aren’t an automatic negative, plus we’ll give MGM some expression leeway. While marketers need to be smart, and believable, that doesn’t have to mean bland. (Refer to my previous comments about “blandizaton” and plain vanilla marketing.)


According to MGM, “the campaign launch includes significant takeovers of highly trafficked spaces in New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. The subsequent rollout will feature unique integrations with platforms including Twitter and Snapchat, in addition to extensive visibility in national TV, print and out-of-home media.”

Harvey Chimoff is a versatile marketing and business team leader who believes good marketing sells. Contact him at StratGo Marketing, a plug-in marketing department resource for company leaders.

2 thoughts on “This Is Marketing: We Are in the Holy S*** Business

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