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Racing B!tch



 In every business, it’s always been about customer demographics, understanding and respecting them, and how this is the heartbeat of knowing your business- and how these business needs change.

Time stands still for no one and businesses must evolve if they are to be successful.

When with advertising agency DDB, getting to know your customer was the first thing drummed into us fledgling creatives, especially those of us working on the still relatively new McDonald’s business.

Driving us and the Board Of Directors was Keith Reinhard, below, the head DDB and legendary adman who pretty much created the brand personality of the Golden Arches.

Perhaps to alleviate boredom during the pandemic, and these post pandemic times, we have seen the influence of social media create a clutter of information and misinformation and a breakdown in teamwork never made available before.

In a nutshell, no one was listening to anyone because everyone thought they knew everything.

No one does.

Every single business has been affected and infected by “the new marketing”, and it’s no secret that way too many have ignored this need to understand customer behaviour in today’s technology driven world.

Why else would the music industry welcome Spotify and now see how much music has been devalued through streaming and that the new unknown artists have been bamboozled by fake numbers, views and “likes”?

Were the old boys clubs at the music companies asleep at the wheel- or did they not care because they had their golden parachutes strapped on and knew they were just playing for time?

I have personally seen corporate organisation charts that have no relevance, especially in these muddled times when everyone is in “marketing”, but there’s no one creating the content that needs to be marketed. 



Whose job is this?

The CEO because no one wants to be held accountable?

Just maybe in the world of horse racing, as in other industries, there are so many “caste systems” when it comes to creating a connection with the consumer that nothing has been prioritised- or modernised- by the board of directors? 

Maybe horse racing is a promotional driven business that doesn’t need anything more than a commercial with The William Tell Overture or “We Are The Champions” and the obligatory crowd shots and cheering and crying owners and the slow motion victory shot?

Where’s the surprise factor to any of this cornball bunkum?

Isn’t this what anyone new to the game is thinking: How boring it all is?

There’s the hardcore punter and powerful horse owner whose one objective of being in horse racing is to win the big races with the best horses because money buys status.

There’s then the serial networker looking for opportunities and longing to belong in the selfie world.

There are also those asking why they should join some club like their parents and grandparents did for status reasons when it was a far more simple world?

If this latter group is racing’s primary market, what’s out there that’s going to get them excited if they’re uninterested in gambling and those who only indulge in horse talk?

What’s else is there to keep them interested enough to join the goings on?

Why would anyone go where there’s nothing to interest them?

When in the advertising and music industries, we never wanted a racing club as a client mainly because their internal hires came with  no ideas of marketing.

We in ad agencies could not see how to work with these people- these racing people.

Were we arrogant? Probably.

Selfish? Sure.

We had our own career plans to think about.

What we were thinking about was how to create award winning international work for horse racing until realising that this wasn’t a priority to those running a racing club?

There was then seeing how easily KPIs- Key Performance Indicators- were met in the online world by simply having “experts” buy followers and views etc.

Those in charge didn’t care about anything else except looking after numero uno and so the games continued unchanged.

Last week, Andrew Jones resigned as CEO of Victoria Racing and the usual cackle in Australian racing circles was that he didn’t “know” horse racing.


And who hired Andrew Jones other than the board of directors?

When running Universal Music for this region, I didn’t “know” music, but learned how the business worked and took it further.

It’s why we stopped working with research companies being paid millions by head office to tell us what we should already have known.

  Perhaps we hired research companies because we didn’t want to be held accountable?

Wouldn’t “research” from a third party only muddy the waters and maybe make us even drown?

It’s the same thing with Human Resources, which is another position we put to rest.

After all, if department heads didn’t know who we wanted, how could someone else with a fancy title and roller deck?

How many in horse racing clubs today “know” who makes up the best teams and the holistic business model of running a racing club beyond being tipsters and maybe hiring a DJ?

What do these teams actually do other than be highly paid and sycophantic order takers for leaders who can’t lead by example?

Is the real problem that in 2024, no industry is attracting the sons and daughters of Don Draper because the businesses appear old school? 

Are they even interested in understanding what it means to be saddled with The Peter Principle?

Any interest in watching “The Social Dilemma” to see how we got to this point of seemingly no return

I don’t know Andrew Jones, but I have heard that he’s a pretty good businessman.

As a side note very successful on a television game show.

Maybe he’s not right for horse racing, but who is in this day and age?

Could another boys club be the answer- or might this be more of the same without what every industry needs: OBJECTIVITY and CLARITY.

    It means being able to read the tea leaves in the latte.

Has Peter V’Landy taken a break from horse racing to focus on making the NRL big business in the US?

He could always read the tea leaves and never ran with the herd unless it worked for him.


At a time when almost every business is on a steady decline in a down economy, perhaps it’s high time to remove the blinkers and see that this is a new world- a world led by streaming and algorithms and gawd knows what else with the old timers trying to play catch up and speaking in clichés.

   They could learn many things from Sir Winston Churchill.

What’s needed are those who understand this, see what lies ahead and are able to fight scams with smarter scams and create a clear path to new business opportunities.

If this means getting rid of old organisation charts and the old board of directors and members and old school plodding corporate hurdles that are financially haemorrhaging, listen to Nike and just do it.

Go outside of the box instead of staying in there and being too scared to move.

There will always be those crazy ones- those individuals with rational new thinking who are capable of working alongside those with the experience and knowledge of being able to see where we skipped a beat and are looking Neanderthal.

IF this can happen, these new independents will be like Django unchained and bring a completely new customer experience to a pastime even as flabby as horse racing is looking

Perhaps this might be something that could be branded completely differently with new technology business partners and powerful consumer brands with their own experienced marketing teams and strong, creative and independent thinking executives.

What’s not needed is something else one dimensional and with a new generation of consumers trying to be attracted by another version of Dad’s Army created by the usual matchstick men.

Hans Ebert


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