Can a Racehorse Count as Media?

It Can and Does in New Zealand

Published on .

Brand: Don't drink and drive campaign
Brand Owner: Land Transport New Zealand
Category: Government/public sector
Region: New Zealand
Date: April-August 2006
Media Agency: Clemenger BBDO
Media Channels: Category buster

Sometimes a stunt can be more than a one-off, and this campaign is a perfect example of a bit of smart thinking that has a long life as well as some strategy behind it.

Horse racing is a popular social sport, and people in New Zealand congregate in bars to drink and bet on the outcomes of races. The problem comes when they try to get back in their cars to go home.
The horse, Don'tDrinkandDrive, wears the colors of New Zealand's highway patrol.
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larger photo.
faux hr

In order to deliver a timely message in a way that fit with the environment, Clemenger BBDO found a way to create a message that would cut through and be effective on more than just a single occasion.

The solution to this challenge was to buy -- thanks to a donation to charity -- the naming rights to a top thoroughbred racehorse, via the GG Syndicate that owned it.

The horse was named "Don'tdrinkanddrive," and the jockey was given silks that matched the colors of highway patrol cars.

So not only does the horse get name-checked every time it races, by the commentators as well as on-screen and in the racing papers -- all for free -- but the sight of it coming up on the outside neatly mimics what happens when the police decide to ask you to take a Breathalyzer.

The name change was supported by some paid media at the time of launch, and the first run out naturally attracted a great deal of media attention and coverage.

The "Don't Drink and Drive" brand will remain active during the horse's career -- all for the equivalent of just 500 euros.

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Cream is a U.K.-based magazine owned by C Squared Communications aimed at highlighting the best in creative media worldwide. All media ideas are part of C Squared's Creative Media Database.
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