September saw the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) launch an integrated campaign called ‘It’s Time To Re-Wild’ which invited racegoers to experience a different kind of horse racing Spring Carnival encouraging them to break out of a collective post-covid, post-Winter malaise and embrace a vibrant and unexpected world of food, fashion, fun and racing at Caulfield.
The MRC, one of the three big Melbourne metro race courses in Melbourne (Australia), developed the campaign in harness with creative collaborators East of Everything and TABOO to promote the annual Caufield Cup Carnival.
Aiming to encourage first time and regular racegoers to let down their hair and embrace their wild side, the creative brief was to avoid the typical horse racing clichés and stereotypes and bring to life MRC’s ‘progressive spirit to change the world of racing’ by being more open, more inclusive and more welcoming to everyone – not just committed racing fans.
The resulting campaign was based around creative by New York artist Spencer Gabor featuring colourful, fantastic worlds of entertainment and experience spanning TV, online video, social, large format OOH, impulse media, street posters, murals, print, radio, digital display, experiential and on-track activity.
Gabor’s original artwork was then bought to life across multiple channels and in multiple formats by award winning Melbourne animators SOMA Studios with music by Squeak E Clean.
The ‘It’s Time to Re-Wild’ creative platform included TV ads, social spots, outdoor murals and posters and also extended through on-site to the race day experience itself.
“As a business and brand, we are dedicated to opening the sport up to more people through unexpected and immersive experiences. We knew to drive engagement and reach new audiences, our marketing and on course experience needed to challenge the old ways and be unashamedly future focused,” outlined MRC Chief Customer Officer Jeremy Francis.
“We’re eager to push the boundaries with this year’s Caulfield Cup Carnival campaign, and approach not only the way we market racing, but sport more broadly,” added MRC General Manager of Marketing Ashley Curnow. “Engaging an artist like Spencer Gabor was key and allowed us to employ a more modern lens on our campaign. His stunning, abstract work is the perfect creative to attract new audiences and reiterate MRC’s point of difference in the racing category.”
]“No slow-motion horses, stock photography or grandiose music, this isn’t your typical Spring Racing campaign. Building on the brand strategy we were tasked to come up with something that felt different for the category. Everyone came together to build this wild world – from TABOO, Spencer, Soma, Squeak E and the fabulous crew at the MRC,” continued East Of Everything ECD and Co-Founder Grant Rutherford.
TABOO Creative Director Melba Gounas commented: “In an era where local sporting events play on a global stage and are upping the ante with all-around experiences, MRC doesn’t aim to simply join the crowd. Rather, our ‘It’s Time to Re-wild’ campaign is inspired by the liberating spirit of festivals. We aim to engage audiences in new, positive ways – encouraging everyone to unleash their wild side, however they define it.”
The campaign was created for and briefed in by the MRC marketing team of General Manager (Marketing) Ashley Curnow, Heads of Marketing Sarah Addis and Ellen Wilson, Creative Director Nic Lehman and Marketing Specialist Ebony Ross.
The project team at creative consultancy East Of Everything was led by Strategy Director Kat Kelly and Creative Director Grant Rutherford, while the group developing the campaign at agency Taboo included Managing Director James MacKinnon, Creative Director Melba Gounas, General Manager Kate Prowse, Designer Trent Bucknell, Group Account Director Lauralee Cuzner, Account Manager Emma Golding and Producer Hannah Cleary.
Artist, collaborator and illustrator Spencer Gabor created the core creative, while a team at Soma Studios animated the work where the group included Creative Direction/Animator Oz Smith, Producer Charlotte Parsons and Animators Jeric Ilagan, Shashank Mani and Gabriel Gareso.
Squeak E Clean Studios handled music composition and sound post production with Music Producer Richie Buxton, Music Composer Oliver Duke, Senior Producer Laura Hesse and Sound Designer Dee Gjedsted.
Media was planned and executed by HALF DOME.
The campaign introduces an extended Caulfield Cup Carnival programme which in 2023 included a brand-new race day in November: extending the carnival to four major Saturday race days at Caulfield Racecourse in its Spring Racing calendar. It also sought to directly drive ticket sales via Ticketek.