SBD/Issue 155/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Preakness Ad Campaign Encourages Fans To "Get Your Preak On"

The Maryland Jockey Club is "turning to a controversial marketing campaign" built around the phrase "Get Your Preak On" to help improve attendance at the Preakness Stakes, according to Sam Sessa of the Baltimore SUN. The slogan has been "plastered on billboards and bus stops across the city, and featured on TV and radio stations and online." The campaign, via Elevation, DC, is "in concert with a new all-you-can-drink alcohol policy" at the Preakness, after fans last year "deserted the infield in droves" when the MJC ended the long-standing bring-your-own-beer policy.  The campaign "seems to be serving its purpose" thus far, as MJC President Tom Chuckas noted that infield ticket sales are up 5% compared to this time in '08, the "last year patrons could bring their own beer and wine to the infield." Chuckas: "It reaches the demographic we're trying to reach. ... It gets them energized and involved." Sessa noted in one radio commercial, a "nerdy young volunteer at a retirement home gushes about getting his 'Preak' on with an elderly woman." Maryland state Delegate Pat McDonough: "It's creating an image and a brand that's offensive and rude. Is this the image of the Preakness and Maryland we want to have?" But Elevation Creative Dir Mike Marting said, "We wanted to create some buzz around the event. You can expect to have people come out and be opposed to this kind of language and message. We're fine with that." Chuckas added, "People like the campaign and people don't. But I will tell you one thing -- everyone has an opinion and everyone's noticed it. And after all, isn't that what advertising and marketing is all about?" (Baltimore SUN, 4/24). Maryland state Sen. Catherine Pugh: "If you correlate it with another word it may be sexually suggestive. But what we want people to do is understand Baltimore is losing money as it relates to the Preakness" (WJZ.com, 4/24).

"Get Your Preak On" Slogan Has Been Plastered
On Billboards, Bus Stops Across Baltimore
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