Grey Melbourne has been appointed the Victoria Racing Club’s (VRC) new agency and released its latest marketing campaign to attract visitors to the iconic Melbourne Cup Carnival.
VRC acting chief executive Julian Sullivan said the campaign captures the power of the rich narratives that already exist in the sport of kings.
“The new campaign is about welcoming people to Flemington; the treatment is a playful celebration of Flemington’s traditions, history and other-worldly appeal, while highlighting that it belongs to everyone,” Mr Sullivan said.
“It focusses on the people that make racing at Flemington so special at a grassroots level, people like the strappers, Fashions on the Field entrants, gardeners, farriers, jockeys, trainers and the racegoers themselves.”
With an industry trend of declining attendances and increased competition for the discretionary dollar, the VRC recognised the need for strategies that engage with not only current attendees but audiences that will contribute to growth.
VRC executive general manager, brand marketing & international development, Amanda Chase, said the campaign is a deliberate departure from those that have come before it, and includes playful ways to engage the potential audiences through greater use of non-traditional media.
“Through our new direction we want to give people the chance to get close to the thoroughbred heroes of our sport, see them in action, and fall in love with racing through our storytelling.
“We are boldly saying ‘Flemington is not just any racetrack’, setting ourselves apart from our competitors to inspire our current customers and evoke a desire for others to join.
“Flemington is the custodian of the world’s most vibrant racing carnival, but also provides opportunities to engage with our audiences year-round.
“We anticipate the new campaign will drive growth in attendance figures to the Melbourne Cup Carnival of between 5,000 and 10,000 over a two year period”, said Chase.
A stunning portrait of Flemington’s greatest assets— human, equine and physical — forms the campaign’s hero image, supported by an emotive TV commercial showcasing the beauty of the thoroughbred, the exhilaration of racing, the journey towards the Carnival, and the joy of being a racegoer, VRC member, horse owner or Fashions on the Field contestant.
Emirates Melbourne Cup winners including Gai Waterhouse, Damien Oliver, Kerrin McEvoy and Michael Rodd feature in the campaign alongside fourth generation Cummings dynasty trainer, James, and numerous thoroughbreds with backdrops of Flemington’s iconic lawns, rose gardens, grandstands, mounting yard arch and clock tower.
Flemington’s longest serving employee, Keeper of the Roses Terry Freeman, farrier Mark Cummings, veteran racecaller Greg Miles, Myer Fashions on the Field contestants, fashion designer Dom Bagnato and milliner Melissa Jackson also participated in filming and photo shoots over the last six months and appear in the full suite of campaign materials.
Michael Knox, managing partner/CEO, Grey Melbourne, said the new campaign was a unique opportunity to develop ideas that will help drive more visitors and engagement with Flemington’s Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“The campaign has presented Grey Melbourne with a unique opportunity to work on such an iconic brand and sporting event recognised by people all over Australia and throughout the world”
“We look forward to continuing to work with the VRC to further promote Australia’s greatest social and sporting event to a wider audience attracting new visitors to Flemington” said Knox.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival, highlighted by the $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup, is Australia’s original major event. Celebrating the best of what Melbourne has to offer—food and wine, sport, business, social interaction and fashion—the Carnival attracts more than 325,000 racegoers to Flemington each year, injecting more than $360 million into the Victorian economy and more than $700 million nationally.