Monday, October 25, 2010

Knock Down Drag Out

Recently I spoke with a marketing colleague about controversy and promotion. It was nothing new; just a regular chat about how some brands, artists, acts and so on can win with a carefully marketed controversial campaign.

It struck me that one thing horse racing (not on chat boards, but at high levels) seems to possess is any true controversy. The trade press is particularly non-confrontational, especially with breeders, for example. However, of late, there has been some fun, exciting, back and forth in the sport.

  • The "Racy Ad" was a more than interesting read. Ray Paulick responded to a couple of bloggers who took exception to the Churchill Downs' ad featuring a dude with a pair of bincoulars having a look-see at some good looking women racetrackers. In his first salvo, he told two of the people whom were offended by the ad to "get a room". That spawned 44 comments. A couple of days later, he was back with more.
  • Andy Beyer took a slight shot at Zenyatta recently, in a not-so-flattering piece. He was summarily booed by Zenny fans at Hollywood Park. Now I see a journalist of some sort (I have no idea what the site is, but I think it is a left-wing paper) takes their shot at Beyer for the tome. "For guys like Andy Beyer to besmirch this legend is a travesty. He has virtually called her average in his columns recently. Someone needs to examine his press credentials, if not his head." was written.
  • Jessica Chapel over at her blog took a shot at the general distaste for synthetic surfaces by some. She used the DRF as an example of such distaste and it spawned about a gazillion comments, there and elsewhere. This thought was picked up by Sid Fernando and the comments flew, including a response from Steve Crist. This debate, in my opinion, is never one for fair-minded people because it usually turns into sophomoric talk about "plastic". However, the chatter on those two posts was sharp, entertaining and did the issue a little bit of justice.
  • Betfair has been called names for years from the old-guard in racing. As mentioned previously, when an Australian member of parliament (in a racing area) says you are funnelling money to Al-Qaeda to try and discredit you, it is pretty hard to imagine you are going to find any sensible debate inside racing. However, it was interesting to read that the Bloodhorse actually published a bullish piece on the company, written by a gambling expert (and of all things a consultant to betfair themselves). I found this stunning, to be quite frank because with betfair, facts are usually not allowed in a racing bible and a pro-viewpoint is even less welcome. As well, Ray Paulick, whom I found to be parroting much of the misinformation in the debate this summer, actually linked to the following piece, where the Chairman of the British Horse Racing Authority's fund was a big buyer of the Betfair IPO. Smashing!
There has been some good stuff this past few weeks in racing. The above gives me some hope that we might get see more of it!

    2 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    I heard about the CDI ad and from the comments I thought I would see women running around in bikini's. That is the most tame, flat, nothing ad I have ever seen by a big time company whom are targeting younger men.

    What a non-story. It's like the National Organzation for Women are the ones making the comments.

    Phil

    RG said...

    I agree Phil. Poker (online and land-based) have been using ads to the younger male demographic since the 1990s. Racing is about ten years late to the party (as usual).

    RG