by Hans Ebert
It might sound silly, but for horse racing to be more than it is today, and much more than it should be tomorrow, it must be more than only about horse racing. It must be more than where words and terms like “progress” and “perception” and “brand personality” often get held up without an inside run, and with the sport either refusing, or unable to see the forest for the trees, while believing that cosmetic shee shee Un-David Bowie ch-ch-changes will bring about real change and give the sport a much-needed kick up its backside in order for it to reach a wider audience. Having some ‘live’ music after a race meeting might mean a few column inches in the music press, but this, or more “fashions on the fields”, or that Daddy Warbucks term called “eye candy”, and some more apps for the rabid punter isn’t exactly pushing the creative envelope and taking horse racing onto a bigger playing field.
In many ways, it’s horse racing’s failure to understand what real marketing is and the difference between being customer-centric and consumer friendly which results in a chain reaction of knee-jerk reactive promotions versus bona fide marketing- the marketing of creative ideas. Replicating old advertising ideas from other industries and believing these to be relevant as this is what “adverts” are supposed to look like, not only shows boffins at work and in the wrong jobs, it is what continues to keep the sport in its little box with not many wishing to play with it. Why? Other industries- and their brands- see this work filtering through, meet the boffins behind it, and any plans they might have had for working together for any win-win situations disappear. Fast.