The Dos and Don’ts of Vegas Invites

T-minus seven days. Yes, folks, one week from this moment, I’ll be walking through the smoky Vegas airport, listening to the sweet melody that will serenade us all for a week: jingling slot machines. Love it or hate it, the time is upon us once again to head to the desert to buy, sell, schmooze, eat, drink, schmooze, be merry, be cranky and, in all probability, be dehydrated. (and, did I mention, schmooze).

I remember my first trip to the JCK Las Vegas show. It was overwhelming. I think I had one or two evening events to attend. Ten years later, if there’s only two per evening, it’s a quiet day. Each year, the number of invitations and events increases (while the number of editors and retailers remains roughly the same), so that means either really haggard buyers and writers or more strict editing of what to attend.

As competition to draw people to events (or even just to a particular booth) grows more intense (not unlike competition retailers experience at home in wooing new customers) companies are stepping up the invitations. A simple printed card? Bah! So, since we’re all focused intently on Vegas this week, thought I’d offer my own personal opinion of what’s happening in the world of invitations this year…

Not-so-subtle bribery (of the “if you come by, we’ll give you a free gift” sort). Now, I know there are editors out there who will stampede for something free at a show, but this one doesn’t work on me personally. It’s not quite, um, ethical. Also, it’s kind of a downer to receive the invitation. (Laura looked a little bummed today showing me what looked like a box of chocolates, but what turned out to be an empty box with a note inside.)

Huh? Attention-getters. I opened an envelope and found an ice cream scoop today. Definitely takes the prize as most unusual invitation and certainly got my attention. I likely won’t forget to check out Lazare Kaplan’s “most beautiful ice cream cone” (whatever that may be).

The funky invite. After a couple minutes fighting this morning with a nifty invitation that looked like a flower, I simply ripped it open. Looked cool (if not user friendly). Might have been turned off otherwise but, frankly, I wouldn’t miss Robert Lee Morris’s booth, anyway.

The celebrity (-ish) name. While neither particularly appeals to me personally, I’ve seen the names of both Gene Simmons and Paris Hilton splattered across invitations (not together, though that would be fun). The thing is, I’m not entirely clear from the invitations if either will actually be at the events in question. (The names attract attention for sure but, if they’re not there, and people go thinking they will be, it’s a little too bait and switch for my taste.)