Our most interesting luxury brand naming job began on a Sunday when we retrieved a voice mail from Steve Wynn, who left two cell phone numbers, a work number and his home phone. Two days later we spent ten hours locked (literally) in the penthouse of the Desert Inn with him – our longest kickoff meeting to date. He was seeking a name for his newest hotel resort casino.
Mr. Wynn was open to using his last name for what would be his finest work, but had several reservations about that strategy. A leading concern was that Donald Trump had done this when naming his casino in Atlantic City. From a branding perspective, it needed to be clear that Mr. Wynn's hotel was in fact a much higher-level experience than Mr. Trump's. At issue was whether the same naming strategy would subliminally convey that the two experiences were in any way similar.
We were convinced that Mr. Wynn should use his last name for the name of the hotel. It became clear that within the resort casino sector, the two last names – Wynn and Trump – conjured very different qualities in the hearts and minds of their audiences.
True to his famous reputation for attention to detail, Steve Wynn had called us in two years in advance of the resort's opening, so there was ample time to work through all of the possibilities and get it right.
During the initial meeting, an agent of Sotheby's had arrived with a multitude of iconic paintings in tow, prompting talk of naming a hotel that was to be a timeless work of art after an existing timeless work of art.
The new name was announced to the press as "Le Reve" ("The Dream"), after a Picasso painting. As the opening of the hotel drew near, the actual name, Wynn Las Vegas, was announced. Which is as it should be: a great work of art, signed by the artist.