2017 Winner

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation

Your Horse


GoldTurnaround Strategy

While once a vibrant entertainment activity, horse racing attendance has been on a long-term decline. Tastes have changed, entertainment options have multiplied and the perceived pageantry of horse racing has faded with each generation.

The numbers showed it: between 2006 and 2015 Ontario’s racing industry saw wagering revenue plummet from $475 million to $240 million, and attendance had dropped to a meager 4.6% of Ontarians visiting a track in the past year.

At the end of 2015, the provincial government stepped in with a new plan to reinvigorate horse racing in the province.

The challenge was to unite thoroughbred, standardbred and quarter-horse racing, and the province’s 16 racetracks and raceways into one meaningful, new brand that could attract a new generation of fans to the sport.

Horse racing’s small current base suggested that, rather than try to convince everybody, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and agency BBDO needed to identify a specific audience (Experiential Entertainment Seekers) and build a strategy to attract them.

This group makes up 26% of Ontarians and is defined as young-minded adults who are drawn to entertainment experiences in which they can actively engage, and not just observe - such as live music, axe throwing and cooking classes.

The team’s goal was to position horse racing as an immersive, experiential event that’s unique amongst entertainment options.

Unlike other spectator sports, horse racing is uniquely participatory in nature – the act of choosing your horse is a personal experience that immediately binds you to the animal.

Once the choice is made, you’ve invested a bit of your intellect, money and reputation into that horse. As a consequence, for the few glorious moments of a race, that horse is now very much your horse.

The creative idea was to bring to life that feeling of seeing your horse race down the track. Horse racing in Ontario had never been marketed holistically before. Until now, each of the 16 tracks in the province did their own thing on a local level. The OLG decided to create a new brand from scratch, which included a brand name, logo and launch campaign.

Ontario Racing was anchored it in a new visual identity that suggested motion, racetrack cues and Vegas-like excitement. The brand was launched with a 60-second film that literally put the spectator in the jockey’s saddle. It launched in movie theatres and ran in 60 and 30-second spots on television.

The product didn’t change, neither did the tracks or the betting odds. However, OLG saw a dramatic increase in “intent to visit” from 52% to 74% following the campaign. The percentage of visitors willing to wager also increased from 54% in 2015 to 70% in 2016.

Most importantly, after decades of declining penetration, attendance increased from 4.6% in 2015 to 6.2% in 2016. The campaign also exceeded OLG’s norms on “providing a positive impression of racing” and “something to do with friends.”

Brand: Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG)
Agency: BBDO
SVP, director of account planning: Ed Caffyn
SVP, CCO: Todd Mackie, Denise Rossetto
ACD/CW: Rana Chatterjee
ACD/AD: Jeff Cheung
Sr. designer: Mike Nugent
Agency producer: Dena Thompson
VP, group account director: Rebecca Flaman
Account supervisor: Deanna Tatham
Production company: Partners Film
Director: Laurent Chanez
Producer: Kelly King
DOP: Stuart Graham
Editing house: Rooster Editorial
Offline editor: Marc Langley
Transfer: Company 3
Colourist: Tom Poole
Online edit and restripe: Fort York
Music: Grayson Matthews
House performer: Chris Hazzard

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Rowan Traynor at 1-416-408-2300 x213 or rtraynor@brunico.com.