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Derek Stevens’ pitch: National commercials for Circa

Soon, Derek Stevens’ face (or maybe half of it) is going to be recognized across the country.

A national TV commercial touting the Oct. 28 opening of Stevens’ Circa will air Tuesday and Wednesday nights during the Major League Baseball wild-card playoff games. The ad lasts 30 seconds. The clip starts with a tourist looking down on Las Vegas from an airliner on descent, and then shows Stevens gazing up at his new hotel, looking like a kid with a new toy.

Stevens says he was OK being in the commercial, not being in the commercial, or being in the commercial partially.

“That was a question, early on, ‘Do you want to be in it?’” Stevens says during an interview Friday at BarCanada at the D Las Vegas. “I wasn’t really pushing for it, but I wasn’t against it either, you know? I really didn’t want to be a main character in a national ad campaign, so I thought, ‘I’m great with doing the voice-over, and then for something else that plays into it, that’s fine.’”

The commercial airs in all 16 playoff markets simultaneously. There is no plan to extend to the World Series.

“That’s not within our budget,” Stevens said, laughing.

The message claims Circa will bring “a new era” to downtown. There’s no question of its unique position on Fremont Street, as the first hotel-casino built in the heart of downtown in 30 years.

“I really think with Circa, when people come in, there are all these moments, like that moment when you see the world’s biggest sportsbook, that moment when you walk out to see Stadium Swim, that moment at Legacy Club when the sun sets and as the sun sets the city lights up, that moment when you go to Garage Mahal and go, “Wow, this isn’t a parking garage?” Stevens said, taking on his role as hotel marketing wizard. “So, I think there are going to be a lot of these moments and they’re all moments that kind of reflect various moments for me over my life coming in to Las Vegas.”

Stevens says the moment where the passenger lifts the window shade is also based on the classic experience of flying into Las Vegas.

“You’re on the plane, you catch a little snooze, by the time you get over the Rocky Mountains you get a little turbulence it kind of wakes you up a little bit, you get over Arizona and you go, ‘OK, here we go,’” Stevens said. “And then at that moment when you raise your shield on the glass on the window you see the lights of Las Vegas and the energy in the plane picks up. It’s not like they’re pumping oxygen into the plane or all those myths, but you see it and you get excited.”

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is promoting the campaign on social media. Also, Circa’s opening is now being counted down on the Fremont Street Experience’s Viva Vision light show.

Stevens learned something about himself through the filming of the ad. He is not the best actor.

“You know, it’s amazing, these actors, they do a pretty good job,” he says. “You know, for me to fake rolling a window down — because there was no window there, you know that, that was added in. I’m sitting in front of the green screen, all I’ve got to do is look out. But it took a lot of takes, it took a lot of takes.”

Stevens grins and says, “Overall, I think it’s really positive for Vegas as a whole, and because we’re really opening with 512 rooms, we’re marketing to everyone that comes to Las Vegas.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.