(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)
Yes? No? Maybe? Pull the other one?
PETER V’LUNDIES AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN HIM BEFORE: WITH A MULLET
NEW YOUNG GUN TO WATCH: CHRIS CASARTA
18, brash, VERY talented, ultra-confident, black belt third dan in taekwondo, Victoria-based apprentice, and, say some, the new Frankie Dettori.
FROM THE RACING TWITTERVERSE
And the question of tipsters-for-hire and tipsters as tipsters rages on
WHY RACING CLUBS STILL CANNOT JUST DO IT.
IDEA: People listen to music before playing sports to find rhythm, focus, inspiration. But elite athletes do so for more complicated reasons—not just to connect to positive influences, but to escape negative ones.
“As much as it’s about their favorite songs, it’s also about the noise they block out—from rival fans, other players, from the media,” said Beats by Dre evp-marketing Omar Johnson.
With that in mind, Beats by Dre has advertised its premium pair of noise-cancelling headphones, Beats Studio Wireless, in three darkly compelling ads starring U.S. athletes Kevin Garnett, Colin Kaepernick and Richard Sherman—who escape external pressures by just slipping on the headphones, entering a world of stylized serenity.
Now, the fourth spot heads to Spain and an even more intense sports culture: the El Clásico rivalry between F.C. Barcelona and Real Madrid. The ad, starring Barcelona’s Cesc Fàbregas, is a homecoming of sorts for the campaign (the original idea came from European soccer) and in some ways its riskiest spot yet.
“You see a lot of brands with an real insight, but they’re afraid of putting it out there,” said Johnson. “We’re not afraid of that risk, if the message is authentic.”
COPYWRITING: Against an overhead view of Madrid at dusk, a Spanish radio voice, subtitled in English, talks of “the match that will decide Spanish glory.” Suddenly we’re at street level, seeing Madrid fans prowl the street.
Fàbregas leaves his hotel and boards a bus, under police escort, watching intently as the crowds swell, their chants grow louder, and the tension seems poised to become violent. Indeed, one fan throws a red flare at the bus. But Fàbregas calmly slips on his Beats, as Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” starts to play.
The spot shifts to slow motion, and the tension gives way to a heroic calm that carries the player all the way to the stadium, through a crowded tunnel and into a quiet locker room. The tagline, “Hear what you want” (a line Johnson said came directly from an athlete), appears on screen, followed by a product shot.
The ad’s feeling of menace is real: Athletes often do feel under threat. “The most intense stories are the ones where it gets really close, where it almost feels like physical danger,” Johnson said.
ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Director Max Malkin constructs a darkly chaotic vision. The whole campaign has been filmed with anamorphic lenses (which the brand can finally afford.) “It needed to be shot cinematically to bring you into the emotion of the athletes,” said Johnson.
Malkin told Fàbregas to just be himself, Johnson recalled, telling him, “Think about the rivalry, think about those fans, think about the venom they spit at you.”
TALENT: Garnett, Kaepernick, Sherman and Fàbregas were all chosen for their key roles in a momentous rivalry. Fàbregas grew up near Barcelona, and thus was perfect. “He has experienced El Clásico not only as a player but as a fan,” Johnson explained.
SOUND: Johnson and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine usually consider five or six tracks for any spot. This time, there was no debate. Aloe Blacc’s “The Man,” used on all four ads, “was the first and only song we ever played with the picture,” said Johnson. “The ads go to a dramatic place, and that song brings them back to the light.”
MEDIA: The Fàbregas ad broke March 23 to coincide with the latest El Clásico match. Barcelona’s president tried to get it banned, fearing it sent the wrong message about hooliganism, leading Beats to reply that the events in the ad are “purely fictional.”
PREVIOUS SPOTS IN THE SERIES:
Client: Beats by Dre
Evp of Marketing: Omar Johnson
Spot: “Beats by Dre x Cesc Fabregas: Hear What You Want”
Agency: R/GA, London and Los Angeles
Executive Creative Director: Rodrigo Sobral, R/GA London
Head of Film Production: Kat Friis, R/GA LA
Senior Producer: Diego de la Maza, R/GA LA
Associate Creative Director: Dan Maxwell, R/GA LA
Associate Creative Director: Stuart Parkinson, R/GA LA
Jr. Copywriter: Tyree Harris, R/GA LA
Jr. Art Director: James Beke, R/GA LA
Production Company: Prettybird
Director: Max Malkin
Ever seen an ad or a commercial or an outdoor poster, watched a television show or heard a radio programme, or- let’s really simplify things- a tweet from a racing club that has stood out as a shining piece of world class, Clio and Cannes Gold Lion Grand Prix standard creativity?
I haven’t, and a major reason has to do with the quality of people working in the racing industry to promote this sport.
It’s they who keep the excitement of horse racing looking, feeling- and sounding- deadly dull to those millions outside of the inner circle of corporate navel gazing with a misplaced sense of “power” and riddled with fear to make a decision.
Where, for example, is the creativity and impact in horse racing that we see in all those brilliant Super Bowl commercials, the advertising for Wimbledon, basketball, and almost every single piece of communications by Nike, Adidas or Reebok?
Is the global racing world- and its sponsors- simply incapable to Just Do It as its internal systems are bogged down by too much talk, too little action and way too much time over-analyzing the obvious?
“Relaxed Racing”- make that Lazy Racing Marketing- seems to permeate in many boardrooms of racing clubs where key objectives get buried amongst the copy and paste gobbledygook.
Instead, neatly packaged bullshit is allowed to flourish as the blind lead the nodding, wobble-heading blind with a great big waffle iron.
Again, it reminds us of the time a very scared music industry tried to jump on the digital bandwagon to “re-connect” with music fans when realizing they had created their own DYI world- something that can very easily sneak up and bite racing clubs on their collective arses currently operating under the belief that they- and all who sail in them- are indispensable to race-goers. Think again.
Race-goers are people, people have choices, and they go for the best options available- especially those to still buy into The Horse Racing Tragics Fan Club.
For music companies and this fan-based DIY world, that was a LOUD wake up call over a decade ago. It shows just how many lengths behind them racing clubs are today.
Trying so hard to be part of social media- but with no idea how today’s consumers think- and why, for example, Instagram is so popular and how this can be used in racing for greater immediacy- and why twitter often means 140 words or less tweeted to communicate with the usual suspects who were once part of traditional media- only show up an embarrassing lack of understanding of the potential new racing fan. Potential.
Where do these half-arsed, unoriginal efforts lead other than going around in circles despite all those seemingly never-ending meetings with this and that expert, textpert and sexpert pontificating about “communicating with the new generation”.
This seldom leads anywhere NEW for the sole reason that these have been created by committee- dated thinking and corporate bollocks that fall on deaf and uninterested ears.
A key problem with horse racing is the wrong people in key positions needed to move things forward instead of pseudo-intellectuals trying to over-complicate the obvious because, to put it bluntly, they don’t have the courage of their convictions- and are simply not good enough.
The other problem facing the branding of the sport is not being able to attract good, strategic creative talent due to the very splintered and silo structures of most racing clubs- and an arrogance, perhaps accepted by the Yes People around them, but loathed by those business partners needed to make the product consumer-friendly, credible and relevant.
What results is disorganized chaos, procrastination and with no one capable of moving the chess pieces because all the internal “warring factions” are moving in different directions and looking out for Number One.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
When there is more than one weak link, well, it all falls apart like a cheap suit and with consumers able to see this in the bland end product and saying, “Thanks, but no thanks. I have better things to do with my time”.
THE FAST TRACKER WANTS TO PLAY A WAITING GAME.
As we plod towards the end of the season with nothing much to keep our interest level flying high other than, perhaps, whether Caspar Fownes can overtake John Size and win the Trainer Premiership- not exactly ball-busting exciting stuff- some have asked why there can’t be a Trainer Challenge or a “quinella” with the Jockey Challenge. Why not?
Frankly- and let’s not be coy like those two-bit tipsters who claim to hand out their selections to help their fellow man- what I care about is winning and lining my own pockets.
Though it’s nice to watch mates in the jockeys and trainers ranks win, if their wins don’t help my bank balance, well, who really cares? Not me.
As for today’s races- and while we hurtle towards July 1 and wonder what might happen in usually placid Hong Kong- it’s not an easy card and where winners look thin on the ground- tired horses going around, quick backups, new horses making late season debuts, the usual jockey merry-go- round, wondering why the regular jockey on a winning ride has gone walkies elsewhere, some bizarre riding tactics etc.
Little wonder that former professional punter and astute businessman Andrew Harcourt has given up the punt, kicked back with the many millions he’s made over the years and is watching from the sidelines as things aren’t what they used to be when it comes down to the odds of winning.
Frankly, I’d wait for the last meeting of the season when Douglas Whyte will be back in action, when Tye Angland will make a welcomed cameo appearance here and when John Size will come out with all guns blazing including his Luger.
In the meantime, sure, have a flutter- but don’t get your wings clipped.
R1 POWER BLITZ(4)GOLD TARTINI(1) PUBLIC FIGURE(13) YUAN’S FORTUNE (6)
Gold Tartini will go off favourite, but is very beatable. It WILL place, and this looks like a race for a tierce bet or part of a quinella/place all-up taking 1×4,6,13- a very interesting Public Figure that used to go so well with Greg Cheyne.
R2 GLOBAL FAME (4) SOLAR DRAGON(1)GOOD LUCK WIN(9)GOLDWEAVER (8)
A tough race and one which SCREAMS out VALUE!
R3 SPITFIRE (4) PSYCHOLOGIST(1) JOLLY SPRING (6) FLYING RED(14)
A pretty even lot and though Flying Red will go off as favourite, I’ll rely on Hughie Bowman to have Spitfire run in the top three and another leg of a quinella/place all up.
R4 BRILLIANT DREAM(2) WILD BOY (5)
In this, the first leg of the Triple Trio, these will be double bankers for many.
Legs could be Sea Warrior (1), Tomodachi (3), Happy Champion (4), Bould Mover(8), Super Tornado (13) and Trendiful (9).
R5 TOP ACT(6) PEPPERMINT(5)GLACIER BLUE(4) RAZOR QUEST (3)
R6 ISHVARA (10) OSCAR MIRACLE (5) BEAUTY KING (3) REALLY THE BEST (7)
That first run by Ishvara where it rattled home for fourth over 1000m was an eye-catcher of Marty Feldman proportions and being bred to run out this distance, it’s real banker material for me.
Oscar Miracle is back from a break and should run well fresh with Neil Callan aboard and who knows the horse well.
Really The Best is not without a chance, but after his Mr Bean ride on Caspar Fownes’ I’m In Charge on Wednesday night- he sure wasn’t in charge- how can anyone follow anything apprentice Dickie Lui’s on?
Sure, the kid’s learning- but for how much longer must punters- and trainers- suffer giving “Noddy” chances?
R7 DISCIPLES TWELVE(13)SUGAR(12) PLEASANT KNIGHT(6)
I’d make these two my anchor in a 4×5 or 5×5 quinella place roll up.
R8 MIGHTY K (10) ADDOLE(11) BERLINI(12) ARCHIPUSS(5)
Probably the toughest leg in the Six Up with nothing really standing out- all being pretty much the same: Average.
R9 KEY WITNESS(3)FABULOUS NOVEMBER (5) ALL THE BEST (11) PEARL WIN (13)
Key Witness was a past the post formality at its last start, but only managed a disappointing third with Douglas Whyte up and today, somewhat surprisingly, Tony Cruz has Neil Callan on it instead of in-form stable jockey Matthew Chadwick. I can only assume that owner Archie Da Silva just doesn’t want Chadwick riding it.
Racing down a class and having a shocking draw to overcome, I’m hoping that the always dependable Callan can steer this one home or at least be in the top three placings so that an attack on the third Double Trio can be launched.
R10 REDWOOD BABY(6) BOY OH BOY (1) BEST TANGO (4) SMART BALL (8)
Redwood Baby seemed to be running almost every week for a while, and now, after a break, it’s back reunited with Moreira with the 1600m and barrier eight looking perfect- BUT, after looking to be a very good horse in the making, the gloss seems to have come off and this will start under the odds.
Boy Oh Boy, Best Tango, Why Not and Smart Ball all have strong chances whereas Derek Leung, currently going through a late season renaissance period, and on D’or Wongchoy looking a very good roughie.
BEST BET 3×1 ALL UP WIN R4 BRILLIANT DREAM (3) R5 TOP ACT (6) R9 KEY WITNESS (3)
NEXT BEST QP R6 5×3,7,10
LONGSHOT R10 D’OR WONGCHOY(14)
WRITE A GAI CAPTION FOR THIS AND WIN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
SARIKA’S “GET RICH QUICK” SIX UP!
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