Colour And The Glory

Ascot Racecourse

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Task

To drive attendance at Royal Ascot and to begin to restore the health of the Ascot brand after a year in which overall attendance and perceived brand value had begun to drop.

In trying to replicate a successful formula from the past, Royal Ascot campaigns had become rather static and uninteresting. Indeed, some competitors had started to encroach on their previously held point of difference by creating ads which used models in designer dresses alongside thoroughbred racehorses.

Ascot’s supporting communications designed and delivered through online and offline channels were also no better than those produced by a growing list of other racecourses. They had allowed the brand and the perceived experience to become too easily comparable to other sporting occasions and leisure options, which had inevitably begun to take it’s toll on ticket sales and hospitality revenues.

Insight

The spectacle of Royal Ascot is delivered through a combination of fashion, beauty and a unique atmosphere, the catalyst for which is the quality of the sport itself.

Solution

We created a brand campaign and proposition for 2013 which was uniquely Ascot. We photographed a breathtakingly beautiful model whose eyes were intriguingly covered by the rim of her hat, and then wrapped her in a swirl of colour and movement.

And for the racing purists we created a second execution of the campaign based on the dynamic winner of the 2012 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Black Caviar.

The campaign was delivered through traditional channels such as high-profile posters, press and lifestyle magazines, but the majority of the focus and media spend was through digital channels including display advertising, Facebook, and email marketing.

Results

Royal Ascot attendance rose by just over 2% on the week in 2013 (Tuesday-Friday), with a sell-out crowd of 73,000 on the Saturday. These results were even more impressive when seen in the context of Ascot’s decision to reduce the capacity in the Grandstand and Silver Ring across all five days, and to increase the ticket price bands across all three enclosures.

Our advertising campaign for the Royal meeting received praise from around the world, with more than 1,500 unprompted ‘likes’ registered on Facebook when the Royal campaign images were first posted. And we ensured that the supporting communications are equally stunning, with every piece meticulously planned to build excitement and anticipation.

Most surprising of all was the huge demand for retail merchandise carrying the campaign image, with bone china mugs, tea towels, fridge magnets, sweets, and posters all selling out very quickly from the merchandise store.

“Attendances have been very pleasing over the week, with increases every day apart from today (Saturday) primarily because the Silver Ring capacity has been reduced from 24,000 to 20,000 with comfort in mind. Hospitality has also been strong and spend has been up over the week.”

Charles Barnett
Chief Executive
Ascot Racecourse

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