Advertising Strategies Used By The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most famous horse races in the world, and it’s not just the thoroughbreds that get all the attention. The event itself is a masterclass in advertising and marketing, with a carefully crafted image that has made it a cultural icon.

After all, this is the longest-running American sporting event having been held every year since 1875. 

You cannot achieve that only with the natural popularity of the sport, you’ll need some clever advertising strategies that will keep the buzz for the event going for a long time.

So, in today’s article, we will take a look at some of the most effective strategies that are used by the Kentucky Derby officials to grow the popularity of the event.

Advertising Strategies to Learn from the Kentucky Derby

It is All About the Tradition

The Kentucky Derby is steeped in tradition, from the garland of roses presented to the winning horse to the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home” before the race. 

But it’s not just the on-track traditions that make the Derby so iconic – it’s the off-track ones as well.

From the fashion (hello, extravagant hats!) to the food and drink (mint juleps, anyone?), the Kentucky Derby has created a cultural image that is instantly recognizable. 

By emphasizing and celebrating these traditions year after year, the Derby has cemented itself as an event that is both timeless and quintessentially American.

Sponsorship and Partnership

There is no doubt that the Kentucky Derby is one of the most popular horse racing events in the world. There are more than 150,000 people attending the race, which is coming from every corner of the planet.

This kind of attention sounds very attractive to sponsors and partners.

From the official bourbon (Woodford Reserve) to the official airline (United), the Derby has secured some high-profile sponsorships that help fund the event and promote it to a wider audience. 

The Derby also partners with a number of other organizations and events, like the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the Kentucky Derby Festival, to create a whole “Derby season” that keeps the excitement building leading up to the big day.

You can find some more information about the Derby here: 

Social Media and Digital Marketing

We know that we are talking about a 150-year-old event that carefully nurtures tradition, but this doesn’t mean that it cannot adopt modern-day advertising strategies. 

After all, the Kentucky Derby needs refreshment in its fan base by attracting a younger audience, in order to keep even alive for another 150 years.

In recent years, the event has embraced social media and digital marketing in a big way. From live streaming the race to creating Instagram-worthy photo opps, the Derby has found new ways to engage with a younger, more tech-savvy audience. 

The event also creates engaging content, like behind-the-scenes videos and profiles of the horses and jockeys, that keeps fans engaged year-round.

Celebrity Endorsements

Celebrities adore the Kentucky Derby, and the Kentucky Derby loves celebrities. Basically, it is a win-win situation.

On Derby Day, Churchill Downs is always packed with celebrities, from athletes to actresses to musicians. 

Yet, celebrity endorsements are used to promote the Derby in addition to obtaining prominent faces in the crowd. 

Woodford Reserve, for example, has enlisted the services of Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey as a brand ambassador, and he’s promoted the brand and the Derby through his social media following.

Experience-Based Marketing

At its core, the Kentucky Derby isn’t just a race, it is an experience – and that’s something that the event organizers have leaned into in recent years. 

From VIP packages that include exclusive access and experiences to on-track activations like the “Infield Party,” the Derby has created a multi-sensory event that engages all of the attendants, it is a day that everyone wants to remember for the rest of their lives.

So, what did the Kentucky Derby organizers do? Well, they started selling the experience more than they sold the actual race. 

This is an incredible strategy that has proven to be quite successful in the story of the Kentucky Derby. By doing this, you are not only building a brand but also making the Kentucky Derby more attractive for people that share no interest in horse racing.

the authorABHIYAN
Abhiyan Chhetri is a cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Abhiyan is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.