Turfcall backs The Racing Post and David Ashforth’s plea therein (Friday January 29th 2010)
"Net result could be fruitful if racing chiefs take perfect chance".
David identifies:- “Three key ingredients needed for racing to maximise the
promotional benefits of the National Hunt Cheltenham Gold Cup clash between Kauto Star and Denman. (Cheltenham Festival four day meeting. (Tuesday March 16th through to Friday March 19th 2010)
First, a suitably staffed marketing organising; (Turfcall: Care needs to be taken to see that true proven top professional horsemen and horsewomen are not omitted.)
Second, a good marketing plan;
Third, adequate funding;
“All of these should have been in place several months ago. With 48 days to go none of them appear to be.
“Racing has always been lukewarm about central marketing, with the result that it faces this rare opportunity with no marketing department, no marketing director, no marketing budget. Say it ain’t so (although I’m not sure who to direct this plea to, Nic Coward? Rod Street? Paul Lee?)
“Is there a marketing organisation in charge of the Gold Cup project?
Is it Racing for Change? Is there a project manager? Is there a project leader? Is it Nic Attenborough, Racing for Change’s recently appointed PR director? If so, what powers does he have, what support staff and what budget? What sum has been allocated to execute the marketing plan, if there is one?
“Google Racing For Change and there, at the top of the list, is racingforchange.com, “a group of like – minded individuals with one goal, to direct people of all ages interested in breaking into the motorsport industry”.
“Then there is racingforchange.org, which keeps us informed about Tristan Muller’s efforts to raise money for charity. Where is Racing For Change’s website?
“Why, when I go to youtube.com and search for Kauto Star, does it throw up all sorts of bits and pieces but nothing to let me know that coming up soon is a showdown with Denman? Why isn’t there a video on YouTube setting up the big day – Kauto Star versus Denman: Clash of the Titans – The Final Showdown?
“All the various interested parties are reported to be working closely together to plan a marketing campaign but, as Piers Pottinger an expert in the field, suggests, they are running late. Not too late to make an impact, but too late to maximise the impact. Planning, evidently, is at an advanced stage.
“We should have already moved beyond planning, into implementation, even though there is always the risk that the Cheltenham duel may fail to materialise.
“Pottinger has some lovely ideas, including launching a Kauto Star and a Denman cocktail, and so does Henry Chappell, of communications consultancy Pitch, with his emphasis on squeezing the most out of the build-up, using this unique opportunity , ‘to do something that hasn’t been done before’.
“ Kauto Star and Denman already have their own pages on Facebook, although virtually nothing seems to have appeared on Denman’s since Christmas. How can racing exploit this and other communication channels popular with young people?
“We know about some of the ideas and plans that Channel 4 Racing, Totesport and Cheltenham racecourse have in mind, with others due to be unveiled when the campaign is launched. Is there an official launch date? An event to get the campaign off with a bang?
“If it was to have been tomorrow, will it now be pushed back to February 13, when Denman is due to run at Newbury? Perhaps Kauto Star could be there, too, in the parade ring.
“We know that there will be scarves in the rivals’ colours (Cheltenham racecourse), a special touring bus (Tote) and the involvement of celebrities (Channel 4), and that Paul Nicholls, who trains both horses, can be relied upon to play his part, and more, in promoting the event. Nicholls has even signed up sports media relations consultancy JSC Sport to oversee his media and commercial activities.
“I would like to see racing try, to engage the many people who like horses and may be actively involved with them – riding school customers, for instance – but who have not tried racing. This also includes, I feel sure, many celebrities.
“I would like to see bobbleheads of Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh, and yes, of
Kauto Star and Denman, as part of merchandising initiatives.
“ We all have our ideas, and I hope the campaign produces many successful ones but, looking forward, if racing is to promote itself as a national sport and exploit these great horses and great occasions to the full, it needs to equip itself with those key ingredients – a proper marketing organisation, producing professional plans, properly funded”.