There has been much talk of branding and/or doing more marketing of harness racing. That'd be nice, but marketing this game is one tough task. I believe brand awareness would really be helped by creating something that is viral in nature. Viral marketing is simply promoting the brand on the web through social networking (e.g. emails you might get of a funny commercial, or one you watch on youtube). We want young people to notice racing and we want to change our brand.
I was hanging out last night, working and checking out some industry websites regarding Internet advertising. I came across some positive buzz about an ad campaign. It is the new campaign for Burger King. It is done with real people in an entertaining way. It is a perfect example of a campaign that does what it is supposed to do. The 30 second spot on TV is one thing, web chatter is another. The ads are now on Youtube and getting plenty of watches. Believe it or not, I actually went to the Burger King website and watched an 8 minute ad for the Whopper! It's ingenious and it is a good example of viral marketing. Link below. Give it a watch if you have a moment.
Getting the word out in a unique way is hard to manufacture, and has to be done correctly and ingeniously. In the UK, the Cadbury brand for chocolate was not getting good buzz. They hired a group to do a commercial. The commercial was a success. It is an ad about frankly, nothing. It has received monster play on youtube, generated great buzz and helped the Cadbury brand. If you have not seen it, it's below.
Of course, a good ad pays over and over again. Spoofs appear, and they "remarket" for you. One of the Cadbury spoofs is linked below. Very cool stuff.
What can harness racing do? Other than getting a central organization that is funded together, I don't know. I am not that smart. One thing, in my opinion that it should not do, is be what is expected. A picture of horses going around in a circle with a couple of fans screaming has been done forever. We leave the watcher with "why would I not just go to thoroughbred racing instead", whenever these appear, in my opinion.
I hope someone in power, whenever we do get a branding strategy in place dares to say "let's be different". Different wins, same-old-same-old loses. I would rank an idea of Randy Waples in a speedo playing cards with Real Desire higher than Randy Waples in a driving suit behind a horse ten out of ten times, for a memorable campaign that can do something, as ridiculous as that sounds.
If I have a bit of time later today or tomorrow, we'll have a look at some racing campaigns that have been tried and see what they are accomplishing. We'll then ask the question "How would you brand harness racing" and see if anyone in cyberland has some ideas.
Cadbury Ad: Right here
Cadbury Ad Spoof: Here
Burger King Video: Here
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