By Hans Ebert
When lost, one takes a scattergun approach hoping for the best. We’re buried today in hashtags, clutter, transparent hypocrisy, and sanctimonious bollocks which is bought without questioning.
Here and now “righteous” indignation has become a trend before being swallowed up by whatever will trend next. Trending is another word for hype and social media is the rallying call for the herd mentality to follow like sheep.
Hype is a dangerous thing because it always leads to cheap politics and where the Big Picture often becomes blurred through too many wishing to have their say about everything. There’s very little selective thinking. This is freedom of speech to which everyone is entitled. The problem is that too much of everyone needing to say something often dilutes the real problems at hand. Jumping on the bandwagon gets so overloaded with the superfluous that priorities are run over by oncoming tsunamis of nothingness.
Look at all the indignation that exists today in Hollywood with just about everything- sexual harassment cases going back over twenty and thirty years. Are we meant to believe that all these women and actresses suddenly awoke from decades of forgetfulness and decided to wear haute couture black dresses and show off their best assets while projecting moral indignation and demanding female empowerment?
What about the actresses and singers- male and female- who were only too happy to lie down on the casting couch to further their careers? Isn’t this how Hollywood started and starlets became stars?
Think of the UK and the Profumo Scandal and how far up the food chain that went and the role played by the extremely brave Christine Keeler, below.
Actresses, actors, singers went along with all manner of abuse because they were scared of the power brokers? Please. They were willing partners in order to further their careers as is the corporate practice that exists today in every industry called The Art Of Kissing Arse.
Today it’s guilt through association. Individual agendas at work and always financed by Big Business. And more hashtags. Everything needs a hashtag. The hashtag is the new soapbox. From all the world’s a stage, everything has been reduced to a hashtag.
For the past few days, it’s all been about #TimesUp and #MeToo and Oprah Winfrey’s Yes We Can speech at the 2018 Golden Globes. Was it really that riveting and life changing, or did it simply dovetail into whatever was trending in Hollywood?
The Oprah Moment, however, seems like an eternity ago. Now comes the backlash because that’s how things happen today. As Don Henley sang all those years ago, Build ’em up to bring ’em down.
Hollywood is about creating illusions, often promoting mediocrity and dumbing down the world order by glorifying materialism and promoting the Fame Game to an obscene level of importance.
If horse racing is to be seen as a global industry that’s more than the breeding industry, there’s a need for its leaders to understand that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and that so many still do not understand how horse racing is a sport and how they can participate.
This huge potential customer base is shut out- many of whom can’t help following everything that’s “trending” on social media. Perhaps horse racing and a day at the races can offer them a break from all this clutter?
In the music industry, when under siege for releasing any controversial product or undesirables entering the business, we rallied around the flag and created campaigns like “Save The Music”. Global campaigns. It was putting up a brave front to preserve the integrity of the industry with musicians joining in to give it credibility.
These campaigns helped damage control. It afforded us breathing space to absorb it all and return with solutions- not a chain reaction of different problems.
Has horse racing ever had a global campaign to enhance the image of the sport? What could this look like? Will it travel?
In some racing jurisdictions, the business model is not only cracked, it’s perilously close to being a hashtag that’s dragged through a Heavy 10 track. There’s a need to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. A GLOBAL thematic campaign can help even as a stopgap measure.
Yes, there are international awards for being The Best Of The Best, but these are known only to those who follow horse racing. That’s fine, but where’s the Feel Good factor in horse racing and how is this being marketed on a global scale?
If there is one, what’s the medium of the message? What’s the concept? Who’s its audience? Does it speak to potential sponsors in a language they understand?
None of this is going to happen from a meeting comprising only racing executives just as this didn’t happen at worldwide marketing conferences. It happened during special breakout sessions set aside with a handful of senior executives and where outside help was enlisted to ensure we weren’t talking to ourselves. Listening to the sound of one hand clapping never worked.
Surely the role of racing executives is to create the very best racing product possible to attract and grow that customer base and ensure that turnover continues to pay the rent? Their role is to police and ensure that horse racing doesn’t veer off course. Are they all doing it well? Hmmmm.
As for this global thematic campaign for horse racing, it might make sense for at least one racing jurisdiction to open the barriers by opening their minds.
By working with those who can bring New Thinking to the sport, it might just make it more than what it is today- and inspire others to follow suit. Gawd knows we’re short on inspiration.
It’s at least worth trying instead of sitting there and going around in circles and playing the blame game with only a hashtag for company.
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