Shielding my eyes, I duck into the casino. By now I’m used to the cacophony, but the lights still get me from time to time.
I’m looking for someone, a shady character in a green fedora. I don’t know his name, but I can smell his arrogance through the cigar smoke. As the head of the Firebrand syndicate, he’s wanted all over Sin City for crimes against brands. And I’m gonna nab him. Tonight.
Circling the floor, I weave through the endless rows of slot machines. To my left, one of the units is askew. As I approach it, I notice that it’s not even the same make as the others in its row. Clue number one: Brand misalignment. Either he or one of his goons has been here.
There are no prints on the unit, but I carefully put it back into place before moving on. Through the aisles I wander, with an air of nonchalance. Before long, a familiar whirring signals my arrival at the big six wheel. I’m about to place a bet on the casino logo when I notice that it’s been stretched. Clue number two: Brand asset mismanagement. I’m on the right track.
After helping the attendant replace the logo with a proper one, I approach a craps table surrounded by a sizable crowd. All eyes are glued to the shooter except for mine. Because I’ve found a real eye opener: a man wearing a green fedora! He’s standing behind the crowd, a mischievous smile on his face. Silently, I move beside him, but he doesn’t flee. I tap him on the shoulder, but as he looks at me I realize that he’s not the man I’m looking for. Clue number three: Brand misperception. Have I gone cold?
I don’t wait long for an answer; there’s someone slinking across the room. He’s ditched the fedora, but I know it’s him. I give chase, but he slips into a private, high-stakes poker area where I’m barred from entry. Undeterred, I play a few hands of blackjack as I watch for him to emerge from his hideaway. I try calling my connections, with no luck. A taunting message appears on-screen; he’s jammed my phone. Clue number four: Digital disruption.
An hour passes, maybe two. I inquire about his whereabouts, but get nowhere. Defeated, I head to the restroom, when I spot him running down a nearby hallway. I run after him, hyper-aware that he’s using the poorly appointed signage to his advantage. Clue number five: Brand complexity. He’s keeping me guessing at every turn. The pool? No, the theater.
Just when he seems to give me the slip, I notice a dealer with a suspiciously off-brand uniform. I pay a gambler to watch him as I don a pit boss uniform and a false mustache, then cuff him to the table before he does any more damage.
It takes a lot of work to keep things simple in this town, but I’m always on the case.
Miles Seiden is a senior designer, content and design, in Siegel+Gale’s Los Angeles office.