There was a story in Sunday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal about how the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is going to spend some $1 million this summer advertising Las Vegas in four major league stadiums. The ads will be produced by advertising giant R&R Partners.

R&R executive vice president Rob Dondero told the paper that “big league ballparks are great places to advertise the Las Vegas tourism message because it fits into the summer awareness program of luring visitors to Las Vegas during the hot-weather months.” He further claimed that baseball park advertising would be effective “because fans in that sport show high loyalty rates to the companies paying for the signs.”

Really? How does he know this? And how will the convention authority know if someone books a Vegas vacation because they saw a “Visit Las Vegas” sign at Dodger Stadium?

Answer: He doesn’t and it won’t.

Because there’s no specific call to action that will allow anyone to actually track responses. This is called “image” advertising. Here’s what legendary direct response marketing copywriter John Carlton has to say on that subject:

“The big advertising agencies are scared to death of direct response advertising. They figured out long ago that as long as they never asked for any measureable action in the ads they created, no one could ever accuse their ads of failing. The success of their work, they claim, is in the mystery of ‘brand awareness,’ which they try to prove in focus groups. It Is A Scam.”

And while the convention authority might have a $1 million lying around to spend on a promotion that may or may not directly result in a single person coming to Las Vegas, your business probably can’t afford to take that chance.

If you can’t systematically track exactly where your business is coming from and from what ads, you probably need to rethink your advertising campaign. Otherwise, your advertising is nothing short of an old-fashioned Las Vegas crap shoot.