So it has come to this.
Horse Racings version of Jumping the Shark.
I actually kind of like the song, but the rest of the ad campaign might be pushing the edge just a bit.
But more on that later...
After last years debacle, the Preakness could not have done worse.
Or has it?
- After being embarrassed for years by all the drink, sex and criminal shenanigans of the Preakness infield crowd, a cracked down last year by banning patrons from bringing in their own beer. The attendance dropped to 77,850, the lowest in 24 years.
- Betting took a major hit. The Maryland handle of $7.8 million was the lowest in 10 years and a sharp drop from the record $11.2 million four years ago.
- For a while, folks were not even sure if the Preakness itself would survive financially.
So, what to do?
They (the Maryland Jockey Club - MJC) decided they liked all the drunk and disorderly people after all and after signing on for all the beer you can drink for 20 bucks to anybody who showed up for the infieldfest, an ad agency was hired to craft an advertising campaign to woo them back.
The new campaign appears to be working, at least according to the MJC. It says ticket sales are up as much as 25 percent over previous years. Its PreakOn website is getting more than 32,000 hits per week."
Tom Chuckas, president of the MJC, thinks it's a winner. Said he, "It has made other people take notice. The majority of responses, particularly from the younger demographic, have been very positive."
So what exactly does the ad campaign "Get Your Preak On" consist of?
Some of the more tasteless examples are:
A big highway billboard displaying a dude in tank top, headband and dark glasses announcing, "I Get My Preak On for Eight Straight Hours."
The radio campaign highlights a young stud talking about mixing it up with the elderly in a retirement village. He spouts, "How could I resist, especially considering this might be her last chance? I was a little concerned with how her hip would hold up, knowing we'd be at it all day."
Some people are understandably offended.
I'm just kind of sad about the whole thing.
Come on people, this is a horse race!
It's supposed to be about tradition and something special.
Do we really want images of the above to become the synonymous with horse racing?
What happened to going out to the track, dressed up, not down in a tank top, wearing the hats, having good food and yes drink in moderation and watching the races.
But with sales back up and interest
Preaking peaking... This year it looks like the sharks are going to have a feeding frenzy all the way to the bank!
BTW: You can listen to the song (It really is catchy and kinda good) and view the entire advertising web site and even buy tickets if you are so inclined by clicking here at Get Your Preak On.