16 May, 2011

Kegasus vs. Get Your Preak On

With the running of the 136th Preakness Stakes coming this weekend, I thought it might be fun to get people’s takes on Preakness advertising since it’s “Rebrand.” And when I say rebrand, I mean the advertising that’s supported the second leg of Horse Racing’s Triple Crown since it was transformed from a Bacchanal to just a big festival. What do I mean when I say Bacchanal?

That MASN (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network) banner that was on the screen from about 0:51-1:04, as that guy tried to remember which appendages should face down, yeah, we designed that. And it got viewed almost 360,000 times. Oh, and don’t think this is only a Baltimore thing. They do it at the Kentucky Derby too, with the same varying degrees of success.

So up first is the first TV spot in 2011 Preakness “Be Legendary” campaign, featuring Kegasus, Lord of the Infield Fest. Apologies for not knowing the agencies who created these campaigns. I was doing this post on the fly. But if you know who created the campaigns or would like to claim credit for them, please do so in the comments sections.

Number two is the “Get Your Preak On” campaign for the 2010 Preakness, featuring…mouths? This was after the Preakness had canceled the BYOB policy prior to the 2009 Preakness, and instead hosted a festival-style concert and a bikini contest, and offered a $20 all-you-can-drink mug for 2010. This one was posted by the Maryland Jockey Club.


And finally, here’s a commercial for last year’s Belmont Stakes. I would say it has a decidedly different tone, and it was posted by the New York Racing Association. 

Okay, you may notice the Preakness and Belmont commercials go in slightly different directions. So something we should note is that the Maryland Horse Racing industry has been struggling for a few years now, and the Preakness goes a long way to supporting Maryland Horse Racing for the entire year. That’s one reason why ticket sales are enormously important for the Preakness. And after eliminating the BYOB policy for 2009, attendance significantly dropped, despite it being a gorgeous day. So these spots both highlight the efforts (concerts, contests, beer, etc.) made to get fans back on the infield. On the other hand, it looks like the Belmont Stakes organizers are not as aggressively pursuing audience attendance.

Around Baltimore people have had pretty strong feelings towards the past two Preakness campaigns, both positive and negative. So weigh in down in the comments section (you may have to click on the title of the post in our archive section to the right in order to comment).

What worked? What didn’t? Which was your favorite and why?

And finally, kudos to Fair Hill, Maryland's own Animal Kingdom, who's one third of the way to winning the Triple Crown. Let's hope he fairs just as well on his home turf...uh, dirt, that is. Besides, papa has some debts he needs to pay off. And for your information, yes, you can gamble on American Idol. But choosing your contestant on the grounds of "funniest hat" is not something I'd recommend.

--George C. Convery, Copywriter

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