Some of us were watching the latest installment of an inter-active video created for what was a dying brand- Tipp-ex- and which went viral when it first came out in 2010 and called “A Hunter Shoots A Bear”.
The concept is always “simple”when done by someone else, but, as always, it needs someone else to make something new happen. We have been huge fans of the creative thinking that a dying- or dead- brand like Tipp-ex bought into and the use of social media to create a viral phenomenon.
Why, we have wondered for a some months now, is the marketing of racing lagging so far behind? We have sat in on meetings with marketing people in racing clubs and have heard all the current buzz phrases- “social media”, “viral” etc- and you know what?- many are clueless about what they are parroting like some attack of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and are even more lost as to what they are trying to achieve.
Trying to achieve “everything” means achieving nothing at all and it’s all just another series of meetings with nothing coming outta them or else something which has the impact of a flea attacking an elephant. We’re nodding ff thinking about all this.
It’s very reminiscent of the now pitiful music industry and music companies looking for “sales” in all the wrong places. At least one can look for “love” and pay for it for a night. But the arrogance of music companies is what led to their downfall and some of us were there to see the domino effect take place: They seriously thought that they could control the listening habits of consumers. And though that arrogant little Frenchman named Alain Levy who once ran the once-mighty EMI Music before being shown the door kept repeating the mantra of “Giving consumers what they want, when they want it and how they want it”, it never worked. Why?
Alain Levy was a bad leader with zero vision. He didn’t believe in his own mantra, he and those “new media” gurus who were suddenly hired from “websites” to make up for lost time had no idea how to have music inter-act with consumers. Plus he surrounded himself with subservient knobs who had no idea what he was on about and simply nodded in agreement with whatever rubbish he would go on about. The good left and the bad and the ugly stayed and clung on to their jobs for as long as possible and held “Digital Meetings.”
They were jolly get-togethers in some exotics locations where some got laid, others got stoned and everyone went home and forgot what the hell had happened and it was all back to square one.
Meanwhile, consumers had moved on while Nero and his Fiddlers watched Rome and the music industry burn. If something is not done soon, this same fate awaits many racing clubs and the racing industry.
Technology and consumers have overtaken the marketing of horse racing in 2012 so let’s not belabor the point: The industry is still way behind the barriers with winkers and blinkers on while the horse has bolted. This “horse” is the consumer- the new consumer that the racing industry needs- the tech-savvy consumer who uses Facebook like one once did the telephone and with what once was the telephone now an iPhone and with a very wide buffet of apps.
Apps and music have tried to come together, but when they have, it’s always been too damn late. The consumer has moved on. There are apps and there are saps and the real saps are those who are happy with any app as long as it’s an app. Relevance, fun, inter-activity, they are not too clear about as what is shown to them by many new “apps designers and creators” is new- to them. It’s old and withered and flaccid to consumers.
This is why the music industry is still trying to make up for their lost years of arrogance, but will never ever regain the respect- and TRUST- of consumers. They are seen as the enemy- flim-flam men and hucksters. As for the racing world, sure, one can mention Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc, one can upload this and that, get a few “views” – and which can be bought by any Search Engine Operative in Bangalore for the price of a chicken vindaloo- and then what?
Speak to a “social media agency”? We have seen these new “social media agencies” suddenly sprout out like a bad case of the zits and have seen them present ideas about how to inter-act with “today’s generation” and most are, well, knobs. And they know they’re knobs when they see us look at them and ask, “Can you tell us something we don’t already know?”
The sad fucking fact of the matter is that everyone talks about the same things- Facebook yada yada yada- but VERY few can make an impact with these social media sites. So you upload some videos on YouTube, so you have bloggers blog for you- and then what?
How did a dead brand like Tipp-Ex reinvent itself? What if a racing club worked with Tipp-ex or , better yet, took a leaf from their brand of marketing and created an app where a racing fan can change the results of races- and play this for fun with his mates? Why not?
Look at the bizarre Japanese app for racing before. Sure, it’s weird, but do you have any idea how many non and current racegoers play this game? How? Why?
What we foresee is a complete change as to the way horse racing will exist in the next few years: Gone, for example, will be tipsters. These “tipsters” today are like “record critics”: No one believes them. The new “tipsters” will be consumers and through apps, online inter-action and their own “systems”, they will find new ways to play this game to win.
At the same time, they will inter-act with like-minded people on social networking sites- throughout the world- and stay home and become an online team and create their own smaller online racing community.
All the “homework” and discussions will take place online and a visit to a racetrack will need to be a series of ongoing ‘live’ events and not just “another race meeting” one can watch from the comfort of their homes and via an iPhone app.Racing clubs have the greatest venues in the world, but how many realize this USP? Some ‘live’ music, a DJ, an irrelevant celebrity and Fashions On The Field are not enough- not anymore. What more can there be in the form of on-the-ground activities? We would be telling, but think what attracts consumers anywhere- food, drinks and the “right” people. We can elaborate on this, but we’re saving this for later though we will say this: Have you noticed the similarity between a magnet and a horse shoe? And bringing people on-course CAN be a great magnet.
If things like this do not happen, the game of racing will be played from wherever these new consumers congregate and with racetracks becoming very expensive white elephants.
Social media in its truest forms- and those who understand it- will control its destiny. And we’re tipping that the odds as to who these people might be are those now called “newbies” or “consumers.” Knowing how the music companies never saw the warning signs, the racing industry has the “luxury” and ability to learn from the mistakes made by the Alain Levys and Guy Hands and even Rupert Murdochs of this world.
It won’t be simple, but once the penny drops and racing clubs become truly in-sync with this new group of millenials- forget this Generation Y crap- and allow the tail to wag the dog so it can teach a few old dogs new tricks, all will be fine and an Aldous Huxley-type of Brave New Racing World will be created.
DOES THE KNUCKLE DRAGGER THINK WE’RE ALL KNUCKLEHEADS?
John O’Shea’s excuses after Foxwedge, the colt recently sold to Newgate Farm for a reported $10m, came home last in a six horse field in Saturday’s Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes had many smirking- including us. A “mucus buildup in the horse’s trachea” explained “The Knuckle Dragger” to the Stewards as the reason for the flop. Hmmm, we have to wonder what those at Newgate Farm were and are still thinking.
Us? We think O’Shea Doth Protesteth way too much and hasn’t the balls to own up and just tell all that, perhaps the horse was not worth the hype and how on earth this “mucus” could have appeared right before such an important race and right after such a huge sale of the colt which must have, at least, halved the price of the horse by now.
Okay, so who now is going to pass the tin around for Dear John and have another fund raiser for the old boy?
Knuckle Dragger? More like a Knucklehead to us. And to think he called us “fuckwits.” Coming from him and the crap he’s brought upon himself recently, that’s rich.
WHY TECHNOLOGY AND KNOBS WILL BRING DOWN ONLINE BETTING.
Over the past few months, we have received a number of emails regarding horror stories by many when it comes to dealing with online betting sites. We all know how it works and how it’s not different to many other businesses: When they want new business, it’s all roses, fairies and Ray Stevens singing, “Everything Is Beautiful.”
It’s “Sure, we’ll give you best tote odds! Sure, we’ll give you some incentives! You want us to bend over? Sure- here- have a go. Our pleasure is your pleasure. You have friends? Sure, we’ll take care of them!” And so, you try these sites out and bet small just to see how easy it is to navigate through them, when they close betting on races, the odds paid into your account etc.Everything is beautiful.
Then, you actually start winning and “Yes, Sir, No, Sir, three bags full, sir,” start to change its tune and the goalposts are moved. No more does one get “Best tote odds.” You need to pick the tote and any dullard can see that a when a heavy bet goes onto this tote, like Humpty Dumpy, the odds come crashing all around you. 7s suddenly become 1.8.
Also, new “bets” are sneaked into your account until this is noticed and challenged. The answer to your questions? “It was all a mistake, heh, heh and we have taken it out. Heh heh.” Yeah, pull the other one and no we weren’t born yesterday.
What’s more, new “ceilings” are built above you and trying to bet with these Shylocks becomes such a pissing match that many just close their accounts and find somewhere else to play. But this is nothing new. What IS new are apps and mobile phones and technology like Twitter making their way onto not racetracks together with race-goers- but into the area of betting- and the outcome of a race- or the personality defaults of knobs.
How does all this work? From something very interesting sent to us, more and more online betting shops have some mole working for them. And who is “them”? They know where the big bets come from, they tweet this information to someone on the payroll behind the barriers. They, in turn, have a quick word with the jockey and the bet goes down the toilet the moment the barriers are open. Those “slow starts” are contagious.
Of course we are not saying this happens at all online betting sites and all racecourses, but it IS prevalent. What we have here is technology becoming part and parcel of the underbelly of horse racing.
What one also has are too many online betting sites- especially in Oz. Hello, you knobs, haven’t you ever heard of reaching saturation point and trying to move against quicksand?
Plus, almost every online betting site has some form of relationship with an owner, or a trainer or an entire stable. It all comes down to the Haves and the Have-Nots and with those at the top dealing with those others at the top and making mugs of everyone else. Horses owned by those running online betting shops is very well-known. Many of us know who they are and we can also see what happen when a jockey related to one of their VIP customers rides their horses at short odds: It goes via the cape and “looks good” coming third in a seven horse race.
Don’t even get us started on what happens in many of those six horse fields and how many hot pots get lost in translation and have run their race 400 metres from home. But back to technology- and the Dark Side Of The Moon of how it can be used…
Let’s say- hypothetically- that several online betting shops have already been hacked. Why? Because they can. This is what hackers like Anonymous relish: Opening Pandora’s box just because they can.
Let’s say, the genie has been let out and all manner of data- names, figures, dates, betting and bank account details etc have been forwarded to some people. This trainer “does not bet”? What if we know this to be untrue? What if betting accounts show where the money trail leads? And here’s the scariest of them all: If Anonymous sends out a warning that it has the means for the entire online world to go tits up just before one of the biggest races in the country goes off.
Think about it and really think how much technology is being used today by The Dark Side and by Anonymous who have tired of the “elitists”. Just think about it. It’s like the movie “V For Vendetta”- but way too close to being real to be any type of conspiratorial film script.
GAI WATERHOUSE RAINS ON TINKLER’S PARADE.
When it rains, it pours and, right here and now, Nathan Tinkler aka Fat Boy Slim, is sinking fast and is proof of a very fattening pudding that money cannot buy anyone respect, happiness or even winners.
When the Gai Waterhouse-trained and Nash Rawiller-ridden Pierro made the efforts of the Tinkler-owned All Too Hard look all-too-hard, indeed, to win the Sire’s Produce Stakes on the weekend, we laughed like the Three Musketeers once did. Jockey Dwayne Dunn was niggling at his horse a long way from home and which looked kinda soft to us.Pierro made All Too Hard look as flabby and sluggish as its owner.
For weeks, the Tinkler Camp- and we’d hate to see Nathan Tinker being camp- were almost “more joyous” in their pre-race hype about Pierro “not coming close” to their horse. Confidence is a wonderful animal. Over-confidence is a beast that needs to be contained and there is no better person in racing in Oz- or around the world- who enjoys a challenge and the gauntlet being thrown down at her feet than Lady Gai.
She enjoys the challenge even more when the gauntlet is thrown down by some real knobs. And so she let her horse- the wonderful Pierro- do the talking and the running and the winning.
Meanwhile, the downward spiral of Nathan Tinkler continues and with him having the unique knack to continually shoot himself in the foot with his arrogance. For example, with his latest argy bargy, this time with the the FFA- Football Federation Australia and where they tackled his business “etiquette” fair and square- the future of the Newcastle Jets soccer/football team and the careers of its players have been ruined.
They have become the unsuspecting- and disposable- meat in the sandwich of Tinker’s New War. As the Owner of the team, Nathan Tinkler, never the most popular man in Oz, is even more reviled, as he puts himself above and anyone else and thinks he can plow like a cowboy through anything anyone puts in front of him like some maniacal dough boy- and a dough boy who is falling flat on his face on the punt and his horse racing businesses.
To say that The Big Cheese has royally screwed the team and its supporters would be like saying hardcore porn is just the ability to juggle more than one ball in the air with one’s mouth full.
When he loses at anything, Oz seems to come alive and be more energized. There seems to be a common cause to rid Nathan Tinkler of every industry and let him get back to his mining business. As for his racing interests and word that jockey Joao Moreira is about to leave Singapore and head out to join Tinkler’s Knick, knack Patinack setup, all we foresee are more tears ahead and more rain falling on his various parades.
Remember what happened to the boy who cried “Wolf!” once too often: No one bothered to come.
BITCHES AND PIECES
It’s amazing how one can plant a rumour and the speed in which it is embellished. It’s a very weird game of Chinese Whispers- and it’s worse when this game is part of the racing world.
For the past few weeks, everyone who follows racing in Hong Kong believes that a permanent partnership between “Jungle John” Moore and Brett Prebble is a fait accomplis. After all, who IS there who will ride for this trainer who puts himself first and above everything and everyone?
“Jungle John” is a shocker to work for and the mass exodus of jockeys who have had to deal with him- and gave up- and boarded the HMS No Moore speaks volumes for his track record.
Prebble might not be the brightest light bulb in the building, but we have it on good authority that he will NEVER EVER ride for Moore on a permanent basis. Good on him for that. Just pick and choose the rides, win a few big Cup races but never enter into a marriage from hell when one can still have something on the side without becoming a real Kunta Kunte .
Meanwhile- and far more important to us- is the slow but steady improvement of Darren Beadman. Beadman is a star- a legend- and it’s always great when the racing media provides everyone with updates on how “The Dazzler” is doing while he recuperates from his horror fall.
The progress of Darren Beadman is far more relevant and important to us than rubbish about the Moore-Prebble foxtrot. It’s getting life’s priorities in order.
IF I WERE A RICH MAN…OR WOMAN…
We nearly gagged when hearing about a lady from China who wants to be Hong Kong’s next very big horse owner. Remember Mr Choy, the China-based businessman who bought a two-year-old Fastnet Rock for HK$9m at the last HK International Sales? Well, this lady think HK$9m is “too low” for a horse and is prepared to fork out a neat HK$15m for her equine “face-saver”.
We know the lady as at one time, she was part of a conglomerate bidding for EMI Music in Greater China. She/they passed as it was felt that EMI’s asking price “was too low” and which signaled that all was not kosher with the ailing music company. And they were right to Pass. EMI went bust and that knob who is Guy Hands, the head of private equity company Terra Firma who purchased the music company was sued by Citigroup and is now but a mere shadow of his former knob-like self.
As for this new breed of horse owners from China, we are tipping many more will surface and they will quickly become the most powerful forces in horse racing. To critics of this happening, get used to it. Money talks in any language and money from China is talking very LOUDLY!
RACING’S GLAMOUR OF THE DAY: SOPHIE WHITTLE
From the very little we know, she works for Lady Gai, she is smart, and has a band called, er, No Erection. Pity- and a bloody waste!
WELL DONE, MARK PEGUS!
He might not be a “Group 1 jockey”- he should be- and it was “only a Monday meeting at Mildura” but riding five winners anywhere deserves great applause. From what we hear, Mark’s old man Tassie once rode six winners in a six-race card- and at Mildura. Spookily good!