This is a post from Signs.com’s co-founder, Kirk Green:
Almost every city or town has some type of welcoming sign. Many include population, elevation and established date. It is hard to understand the obsession with altitude, but most city’s include it. Denver even boasts about it.
A few signs, like the Hollywood standard, become landmarks. Yet there is probably no more iconic city sign than the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Actually the sign says, “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada.” (See Surprising Facts)
I recently found myself in Las Vegas for a trade show. During a break, I went outside the Luxor to get in an afternoon run (full disclosure, I say run, because waddle, while accurate, just creates awful imagery).
My course was south on Las Vegas Boulevard. I decided to run away from the strip. It is too difficult to maneuver around the crowds and casinos. Since the Mandalay Bay is generally considered the end of the strip hotels, I expected to have the sidewalk to myself.
Surprisingly, I found a number of people going south. I kept wondering why so many were moving away from all the action.
A red light stopped my run and gave me a defensible reason to rest. I found myself waiting at the light with couple in their 50s. They were dressed quite nicely. They made some comment about my running and I suggested that they were in the wrong clothing to be exercising.
“Oh, no”, they laughed, “we are going to see the sign”.
It took me a second to realize that they were headed to see the Las Vegas welcome sign. From their hotel the walk would end up about a mile each way. They were intent on viewing and taking a picture of themselves in front of the marker. They weren’t alone in their quest.
As I ran past the location, I saw individuals, couples and groups lined up to take their turn being photographed in front of the sign. On my way back I found many others waiting to have their picture taken. In fact, the highway department has created a turnout lane so that souvenir selfies can get to the sign without disrupting traffic or becoming part of the pavement.
A local cab driver told me that he has never seen a time when there aren’t at least a few folks lining up for photographic opportunities. The flashing welcome attracts people like a summer porch light gathers bugs.
Signs, banners, and graphics are almost everywhere. They invite and try to seduce us. Companies spend billions trying to attract us to send money their way. Images appear almost on every conceivable backdrop. Yet, there are but a few advertisements that are so powerful that we choose to be identified with them. Congratulations, Las Vegas! You have turned an enticement into an attraction, and have created millions a mini-promotions in the process. Oh, and hats off to our friends at Yesco. The brothers Young have brilliantly included their company logo in every one of those pictures.