Maryland’s premier sporting event, The Preakness Stakes, moves into Baltimore in a few weeks and most of the talk around town isn’t about getting a ticket, the new “all you can drink” promotion or anything else actually related to the event itself.
All of the yapping these days centers on the 2010 marketing theme, introduced a few weeks back and gaining steam now with the race in full focus on the community calendar.
“Get your Preak on”
Yep, that’s what all the fuss is about.
Actually, there’s a lot more to it than that, but every ad and every promotional piece that contains “Get your Preak on” is connected by some sort of sexually suggestive material.
Personally? I think “Get your Preak on” is pretty bad, as far as a marketing message goes, but my opinion on the slogan has nothing at all to do with the fact that I’m offended or otherwise put off by the sexual-innuendo that is included in the advertising. I’m not offended at all.
I just don’t think it’s smart marketing.
But I definitely understand what the ad is SUPPOSED to do.
It’s supposed to catch the attention of the 20-something crowd, not old geezers like me or, presumably, Patrick Lynch, who blasted the campaign in a recent editorial contribution to The Sun. Here’s what Lynch wrote.
I’ll bet anyone 25 chinese lunches that Patrick Lynch isn’t a 20-something. He’s more likely to be an old fuddy-duddy like me who would be more moved if the Preakness advertisement featured a Led Zeppelin song or an infield autograph signing session with Earl Monroe, Bert Jones and Mike Boddicker.
Patrick’s editorial piece has been echoed by a lot of people recently. I’m not singling him out for any reason other than I was surfing through the Sun web-site and saw his whining note to the editors. Trust me, there are LOTS of people in town who feel the same way as Lynch. They’re all outraged by the mere fact that sex is being used to sell the Preakness.
“Disgraceful. Embarrassing. Over the top. Completely uncalled for.” Those are a few of the descriptions folks have used to offer their assessment on the sexually-charged ads that are being run all over town, including on WNST Radio.
Give me a break.
Like I said, I don’t actually think the campaign is all that appealing. I hear the ads when I play them during The Morning Reaction and I think the same thing every time I hear them — “they’re not very good”.
But to label it “disgraceful” or “appalling” or “out of line”?
Unless you consider girls with big boobs in beer commercials to be disgraceful. Or a model’ish looking guy with his shirt unbuttoned driving a convertible along some deserted highway that borders the coast of California. In fact, just about ANY commercial you see on TV these days has some connection to one common theme. As I sit here and write this blog, in the last 3 minutes, I’ve watched a commercial about a cell phone company, a clothing company, a restaurant chain and home improvement store.
They all feature one central theme at some point in the commercial: Sexuality.
If you’re going to peddle cell phones these days, do you do it with some homely looking middle-aged woman who appears as if she sleeps under a bridge somewhere or do you find a hot 24-year old with a delicious body and a million dollar smile and partner her up with some other young hotties?
Let’s go with the hotties. How’s that for marketing?
Watch TV for an hour and almost every commercial dedicated to connecting with adults is tempting you to express your sexuality using THEIR product. Count how many commercials go out of their way to convince you that the ultimate result if you use their product will be a romp in the sack with the man or woman of your dreams. Just watch the way that girl looks at you from the corner of the bar if you’re willing to wear THAT cologne. Did you see how he smiled at you because you washed your hair with THAT shampoo? And if you’re waiting for that special moment, why don’t the two of you sit in a couple of lawn chairs overlooking the mountainside and prepare for that little pill to take over?
Unless you’re selling orange juice, fast food or toothpaste, the central theme of your advertising campaign is going to be sex. In fact, I should remove toothpaste from that list. If you brush your teeth with THAT toothpaste and go out on the town tonight with that smile beaming like a lighthouse, you’re gettin’ laid for sure.
There isn’t anything sexy about a horse race, that’s for certain…unless the people attending the race are drinking, scantily attired and eager to tongue-kiss someone behind one of the porta-pots.
Patrick Lynch — me, even — and the rest of the stick-in-the-mud crowd might not be moved by “Get your Preak on”, but we’re not going out to Pimlico to watch the race.
So the advertising isn’t meant for us in the first place.
And it’s not disgraceful to target 20-somethings using a sexual theme. It’s what motivates them, frankly.
If you want to debate the merits of the campaign itself, I see the point in doing so. Me? I would have banged away (no pun intended there…I swear) on three central themes for this year’s Preakness had I been given the task of developing the 2010 advertising campaign: 1. Make memories with your friends at the Preakness. 2. Drink all the beer you want, all day, for $20.00 3. Come out and watch a great band – O.A.R.
I would throw a pretty girl or two in there, of course, just to remind the guys that “making memories, beer and O.A.R.” will most likely draw women to the infield. And for the girls, I’d throw a cute guy or two in the ads as well.
Notice I didn’t really mention horses or a horse race. That’s not necessary, actually. 80% of the people in the infield probably don’t watch one race while they are at Old Hilltop.
Beer, music and, *ahem*, meeting new people and sharing good times with friends…that’s what the Preakness is all about.
What those folks do when they get to the infield is pretty much their business, although that idiotic “running of the urinals” has finally been put to its rightful rest by the folks at the Maryland Jockey Club.
At this stage, other than luring ticket-buyers with some kind of illegal activity, I’d encourage the folks at the MJC to use whatever marketing tricks they can to boost the infield crowd after last year’s dismal showing.
If “Get your Preak on” does the trick, so be it.
I’d write more on this subject, but I just saw a commercial promoting buffalo chicken wings and I’m gettin’ kind of hungry. And I as watch the ad, I have to wonder: The waitress with the cleaveage…bending over at the table to serve the wings…are her tits real?
I guess I’ll have to go to my local Hooters and find out.