Preak Out

A new ad campaign recently debuted, designed to increase infield attendance at Maryland’s Preakness Stakes. The campaign, created by Washington based creative agency Elevation, uses variations of the headline “Get Your Preak On” to play up the always festive, occasionally raunchy atmosphere of the infield.

When I think of Triple Crown horse racing, I think of two things. Well-heeled women wearing big hats in the stands, and drunken yahoos making jackasses of themselves in the infield. This campaign is clearly focused on the latter. To the dismay of some in the community, it appears to be working. Critics have called it everything from lame and embarrassing to staggeringly dumb. It may be all of those things, but it also appears to be working. Infield ticket sales are up 5 percent compared to two years ago.

While sexually suggestive ads are the lowest common denominator in the ad industry, this one succeeds in doing exactly what it set out to do. It gets the attention of the largely blue collar audience that has dwindled in the past few years and creates a memorable, albeit lowbrow impression.