Work / Churchill Downs
Keeping the excitement going
People around the world recognize Churchill Downs racetrack as the home of the Kentucky Derby and the most exciting two minutes in sports. But, outside of those two to three weeks surrounding the Derby, there were audience segmentations in Louisville that didn’t consider visiting the track at other times of the year. Thus, Churchill Downs needed a campaign to increase awareness and attendance during their Spring, September and Fall Meets, especially for themed days such as Downs After Dark, Family Adventure Days and Twilight Thursday.
One key obstacle was a list of misconceptions about the experience and expectations of a typical day at the track. The target audience was unsure about basic information, such as when the races occurred, how to buy tickets, what to wear or what happens between racings. Worse, some individuals were under the impression that every day at the track is just like Derby day. They expected large crowds, traffic issues, high costs and formal attire.
Separating fact from fiction
The Power Agency team needed to convince the target audience that live racing at Churchill Downs is a fun, easy, affordable social experience that can fit a variety of social occasions. While multiple campaigns were created, it was critical to receive input and feedback from the very people who would be affected by the messaging. Focus groups and online testing provided valuable analytical insights and helped to hone the winning concept, 40 Track Facts.
This idea allowed Churchill Downs to address each of the audience’s misconceptions in a direct, consistent way. And the numbering component encouraged people to visit the website to learn about all the other facts they may not know.
Down the home stretch
Executing an effective creative solution was only the beginning. An integrated media campaign focused on the specific event promotion timeframes and was precisely targeted to each distinct audience profile. By leveraging traditional outlets—including radio, TV and out-of-home—while also working directly with Churchill’s Ticketmaster digital vendor to support and leverage online media vehicles, the most recent numbers have been very impressive.