NTRA 2002 Ad Campaign to Debut in April

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's 2002 advertising campaign will be visible in some markets the weekend of April 6, and in full gear by the time the Kentucky Derby rolls around May 4.

This year's television, radio, and print campaigns are "more member-friendly than in previous years," said NTRA senior vice president Keith Chamblin, who heads NTRA Creative Services. "At the same time, though, we're not losing any of the production quality."

The television spots feature music and footage of activity at Gulfstream Park on Florida Derby Day. Actors were used in some scenes. Songs by ZZ Top and Cyndi Lauper provide the musical backdrop for two of the ads.

"The wagering focus was not enough to get people to the track," Chamblin said of some earlier campaigns. "We tried to pull the lens back a little bit and show groups of people eating, drinking, and betting."

Special cooperative advertising spots will be available for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Racetracks have the option of using local tags on all the ads.

The co-op program, perhaps the NTRA's most popular endeavor from the racetracks' point of view, allows for tracks to be reimbursed from 37% to 74% of annual dues. The more money spent on advertising, the higher the return for a racetrack.

The co-op program has been expanded this year to include research, promotions, and e-mail programs.

On the print side, the NTRA is negotiating for space in USA Today from the summer through the World Thoroughbred Championships. Chamblin said there also could be some media buys in major metropolitan markets.