Las Vegas’ foolish complaint about Boston’s slogan

As a recent spat between Pat Moscaritolo, the head of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, and his counterparts in Las Vegas showed, the people of Nevada seem to think Sin City and Puritan Boston are indistinguishable from each other. According to a recent Globe article, lawyers from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority threatened Moscaritolo with legal action because they felt a tagline used to promote Boston as a convention destination — “What Happens in Boston Changes the World” — was too similar to Vegas’ trademark slogans “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” and “What happens here, stays here.” Vegas lawyer Jeffrey Rugg told Moscaritolo in a letter that the similarity would be “likely to cause consumer confusion.”

While consumer confusion is certainly to be avoided, the American people don’t need the help of an advertising slogan to tell Boston and Las Vegas apart. Our harbor views, colonial architecture, and continued lack of a casino at Suffolk Downs should be more than enough to remind tourists that they aren’t in Nevada.

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