Today’s Horse Racing Business focuses on two advertisements for horse racing, one in Dubai and the other in the United States.

A reader alerted me to an extremely well done 60-second video advertisement (by DubaiMedia) for the 2012 Dubai World Cup on March 31. It dramatically captures and holds one’s attention. Even if a person is uninterested in horse racing, one is apt to watch this advertisement in its entirety if he or she happens to see it.

In my judgment, this is the most riveting advertisement I’ve ever seen for horse racing…and it has no dialogue whatsoever. The pictures and music convey the message.

Following is a link to the video:

Click here for the video advertisement.

Note that the horses in the video are Arabians, which seems fitting, since three Arabian stallions were the foundation sires for the Thoroughbred breed and the Dubai World Cup is held in their distant ancestral home in the Middle East.

The next advertisement is a 90-second video titled “Original Madness” that appears on the Jockey Club’s new website This video’s title  is a nice tie in to basketball’s “March Madness” and is used to introduce the upcoming “Road to the Kentucky Derby” coverage. The website also allows viewers to enter a drawing for a “VIP Trip for Eight to the 2012 Breeders’ Cup.” The advertisement itself is well done, though it is ordinary, in that it similar to numerous ads that various racing organizations have run in the past.

The ad starts out with a brief history of Thoroughbred racing (the “original madness”) and compares its vintage to other sports. This is not a strong, attention-grabbing hook. Why would racing’s longevity matter to most customers?

Click here for and then click again on the video “Original Madness.”

The larger point to keep in mind is that the Jockey Club’s initiatives in social media are badly needed and one should cut them some slack in getting the program underway. Part of the initial social-media effort is a video called “Derby, the 2 Minute Intensity Drink,” which uses the Twitter hashtag #TheOtherMadness.

An advertisement can receive kudos yet not change minds or sell product. Conversely, an ad can test poorly and end up being very successful in building name recognition and business. Marketing experts can never be sure what ads will work until they are actually tried.

One issue that I see with most racing ads is that they show clean-cut younger people having a great time at the races. When a viewer responds by actually going to racetracks like Del Mar or Gulfstream, the environs are similar to what is depicted in the ads. However, when a viewer attends some of the seedier racetracks the picture is much different. There is no doubt that marketing and advertising can get more people to try live racing, but if the experience does not match up to what is promised, they will be unlikely to return. Thus national ads can only be expected to do so much.

Copyright © 2012 Horse Racing Business


  1. Hi Bill,

    This one gives it a run for the money, imo. It was done six years ago.


  2. Why can’t the USA do an ad this good? Sensational.

  3. Thanks for bringing this ad to everyone’s attention. It gives me goose bumps.

  4. The new NTRA ad is embarrassing by comparison. Maybe a tight budget is at work, but still not a good ad. The NTRA ad looks like a weekly promotion by a state lottery. Sad but true.