Sports marketing agency Earnie has been appointed by the British Champions Series with a brief to overhaul the positioning of QIPCO British Champions Day, the UK’s richest day of racing.
The London agency, which now forms part of the Threepipe group, is behind the event’s new, ‘The Ultimate Race Day’ positioning, which seeks to highlight the quality of horses, entertainment and prestige of Ascot, as well as QIPCO British Champions Day’s place in the racing calendar.
The new platform was developed through a number of internal workshops alongside a review of the wider sporting landscape to define a clear brand voice and messaging framework.
Alistair Gammell, managing director, Earnie, commented on the work, saying: “It’s been a real pleasure to be involved in one of the biggest sporting events of the year and to see the new positioning now resonating across all the channels.”
Gregg Taylor, head of marketing, British Champions Series, added: “QIPCO British Champions Day is becoming one of sport’s iconic events and our work with Earnie will help us achieve real stand out in a crowded calendar.”
The new campaign forms part of efforts to strengthen QIPCO British Champions Day’s status within the British sporting calendar and to help broaden its appeal beyond core racing fans.
Other promotional initiatives for the event, which will take place at Ascot on 20th October, include an interactive activation in the heart of the City of London.
The Race a Champion event, organised by The Park in Exchange Square Broadgate is inviting top athletes and members of the public to take on leading racehorse Bataash over a 10m track.
Battaash is rated the best sprint horse in the world, with a calculated speed of 1.71 seconds over 10 metres, and is entered in the £600,000 QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day.
Sprinter Adam Gemili, cyclist-turned-jockey Victoria Pendleton, rugby star Danny Care and emerging racing superstar Oisin Murphy were among those involved in a media launch event, in which they attempted to beat the equine champion's time.
QIPCO British Champions Day ambassador Gemili found the challenge tough. The 2018 European sprint relay champion said: “I really enjoy going to the races and doing the 10m sprints today gave me a real sense of just how quick and powerful racehorses are. I’m delighted to beat Battaash’s time but I’m not carrying a jockey or breaking out of the stalls in race.
"For a half ton horse like Battaash to be able to cover ten metres from a standing start in 1.71seconds is pretty incredible and I’ve even more respect for the jockeys for staying on board during that acceleration. I love going to QIPCO British Champions Day, and taking on Battaash today will make me appreciate even more what amazing athletes racehorses are at this year’s event.”
Double Olympic Champion cyclist Victoria Pendleton added: “I really enjoyed taking part in this challenge, and as a former track cycling sprinter I thought I might have a bit of explosive speed to have a chance against some of the others but the time just goes so quickly!
"Having trained to be a jockey myself I’ve been lucky enough to work closely with lots of amazing racehorses so I know how much power they generate. They are incredible creatures but I am normally sitting on one rather than trying to race against one on foot! Hopefully today’s activity shows everyone how powerful they are.”
England and Harlequins rugby player Danny Care said: “I never really appreciated how fast these champion horses went until I had to race against one! In rugby it’s all about power and speed and I can’t imagine what it takes for a jockey in terms of agility and strength to stay on board when they’re travelling so quickly.”
Jockey Murphy, the breakout star of the season with four QIPCO British Champions Series wins this year, said: “I think my time demonstrates why I ride the horses and don’t actually sprint myself. As a jockey you get used to travelling on board a horse at such speed but it was really interesting to look at it from a different point of view and see how some of Britain’s top sports stars compared.”
We’ve been out in the City this morning, where @GBRacing is challenging people to test their sprint speed against a racehorse in a #championsday promo activation. Here’s @v_pendleton giving it her best shot. pic.twitter.com/XQj4RseYf8— Sport Industry Group (@SportIndustry) September 20, 2018
Naomi Lawson, head of PR for British Champions Series, summed up the results of the day, saying: “It’s been really exciting for us to put on a challenge like this ahead of QIPCO British Champions Day and it’s been fantastic to have so many incredible British athletes, as well as members of the public get involved. We know that over the course of a race it would be impossible for a human to beat a horse but we thought over 10m some might have a chance.
"It’s been a really fun way of showcasing just how incredibly powerful and athletic the racehorses heading to this year’s QIPCO British Champions Day are, and we can’t wait to see them all racing on the day for the record-breaking £4.35 million in prize money on offer.”
QIPCO British Champions Day is the culmination of the British and European Flat racing season, attracting some of the world’s best horses and jockeys who will compete for a record £4.35m purse in 2018.
The racing action will be bookended by an Opening Ceremony and after-party featuring music stars Ella Eyre and Jax Jones.