For decades, if not centuries, groups of men that travel together for work or pleasure have been murmuring to one another, “You keep my secrets and I’ll keep yours.”
It was only 12 years ago that marketing firm R&R Partners borrowed the idea and came up with “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas,” which has so firmly lodged itself into popular culture that it’s hard to remember a time when the phrase didn’t exist. It’s easy to think that Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were using it back in the mid-‘60s or certainly the larger-than-life Elvis using it during his jumpsuited years there in the early ‘70s.
The phrase certainly suggests that visitors to the city go right ahead and toss whatever inhibitions they may have aside, and so plenty of folks have followed suit. You’ve got O.J. Simpson and a few pals breaking in on some sports-memorabilia peddlers. You’ve got Tiger Woods hooking up with mistresses. You’ve got Paris Hilton getting nabbed for cocaine possession.
And then Prince Harry, third in line to take over for Queen Elizabeth II, went and played some strip billiards with some gals he just met.
As everyone knows, somebody got some incredibly candid shots and sent them along to TMZ. You can bet Prince Charles, who once embarrassed the throne pretty handily when he told his then-mistress on tape that he wished to be her tampon, and the Queen were pretty irate. But maybe not as mad as the Vegas Tourism and Visitation Board, who feared that people would be afraid to come to Sin City and let it all hang out.
So the group took action and bought a full-page ad in USA Today, warning the folks who took those pictures and distributed them that nobody was going to party with them anymore if anyone ever figured out who they are: “No bottle service,” the ad proclaimed, according to Reuters. “No bikini clad girls. No Bucatini from Batali. In other words, we will not play with them anymore."
Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the convention and visitors authority, said in a statement, "Las Vegas is a place to celebrate adult freedom, freedom that even celebrities and royals can enjoy. For everyone's sake, it's important that 'What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.'”
What she doesn’t mention, though, is that it isn’t actually the worst thing for such images as a naked Harry bear hugging an unclothed woman to hit the Internet every once in a while. After all, it helps showcase just what kinds of things you might be keeping to yourself if and when you do make a jaunt to Vegas.
Turns out Vegas should be thanking Harry for his transgressions. Virgin Holidays has seen a 30 percent jump in interest in hotel/vacation packages to Sin City from Britain since Harry exposed his own package there. Maybe Vegas should keep this guy on retainer.