Celebs to Star as Horse Racing Fans

ATLANTA Conover Tuttle Pace is producing a new advertising campaign for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to promote the sport of horse racing, the shop said.

The work includes five television spots that will begin airing nationally early next year. The ads include shots of trainers, jockeys and race fans, including celebrities such as Kid Rock, Dennis Hopper, Matthew Fox, Jerry O’Connell, Michael Imperioli, Wayne Gretzky, Rick Pitino, Sir Richard Branson and Alex Trebek. All are fans of the sport and participated in the ads pro bono. CTP plans to add other personalities to another flight of commercials next year.

Print and Internet ads are also planned for the campaign. That work also will begin running next year.

“By using a mix of celebrities and everyday fans, the ads reinforce the fact that racing attracts a young, diverse and energized audience and makes you want to join the fun,” said Grant Pace, executive creative director of Lynnfield, Mass.-based CTP. “The campaign is as much about horse players as about horse racing.”

The NTRA, which is based in Lexington, Ky., plans to spend $5 million on the campaign.

The upcoming campaign will introduce the tagline, “Who do you like today?” Previous advertising used “Go, baby, go” as a tag. That line is not used in the new work, but will be retained for future ad efforts, Pace said.

The TV spots were shot at some of the nation’s top racetracks, including Churchill Downs, Belmont Park, Saratoga and Del Mar.

CTP has worked with the NTRA for a decade on projects, but this is the first national campaign the independent shop has produced for the organization, Pace said. Previous work promoted the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup events.