Tag Archives: ad campaigns

Spring Meet Opens @ Pimlico This Weekend

So, we wrote a whole big blog post last year about how we were going to put on our Sunday best and go to Pimlico and piss away a few bucks and fake-it rich. As it happened, we got called up last minute to help a friend move. We swore we’d get up to Old Hilltop the next week, and then one thing led to another and long story short, we never made it to the races at all last year.

Well, the Spring meet is here again, and this year, goddamn it, we’re off to the races. We suggest you check out some live racing too, any day except the Preakness. Don’t go to Preakness.

Kegasus, and by extension the Preakness itself, is an embarrassment to our city before the eyes of the nation.

The Preakness organizers have failed miserably in recent years, and this year they’ve more than outdone themselves with the God-awful, thoroughly embarrassing Kegasus campaign. We’ll say first off that we’re no big fan of Danny McBride or any of the white trash, delusional, substance abusing memes surrounding his characters. It was bad enough when Keystone Beer ripped him off entirely, but this rip-off of a ripoff with a horse twist is more watered down than Keystone Beer itself.

Unfortunately, the Jockey Club and their ad firm Elevation Ltd. have decided to make an ‘outside run’ at the highly prized 18-25 male demographic, and don’t mind alienating anyone and everyone who doesn’t fit that demo along the way. The funny thing is, they had those customers locked up in the BYOB days, and blew it all to hell by discontinuing that policy. We understand that they’re trying their hardest to divorce the Preakness from actual horse racing by making the infield a generic rock music-and-shitty-beer festival, but as we’ve already pointed out, there are hundreds of festivals in Baltimore every Summer. Frat boys don’t need Preakness as an excuse to get drunk outside.

The way we see it, the Jockey Club blew a golden opportunity last year when they came crawling back to 18-25 year old males. They should have followed the example of Churchill Downs and divided their infield into sections.

Note: this is not actually Pimlico.

Even a very simple division like this one would make a lot more sense than having a handful of random frat bros wandering dumbly from tent to tent looking for the shortest beer line. We would have liked to see them make the backstretch the collegiate/rock concert/ all you can drink area while reserving the third and fourth turns for the Media pavillion (to which tickets could also be sold, because that’s a lot of real estate. Make the clubhouse turn some sort of family friendly picnic-type area, and market tickets to church groups and the like, and make the home stretch and starting gate area some sort of liquor company sponsored glutton’s paradise with food trucks, tents set up by regional restaurants, mircrobrew beer gardens and the like. Sell passes to each section at different prices, with premium charges for “2 section” passes, and even an “all access infield” pass for people who want to see the bands and get the best fare and best views.

Is this a brilliant revolutionary idea? No. But it’s a good idea. It’s a workable idea. It’s an idea that would make us seriously consider buying Preakness tickets, and it took us about one minute to think of it. If the Maryland Jockey Club would trouble themselves to think seriously about the Preakness for one fucking minute, their sport and our tradition would both be better off.

As it is though, we’ll be watching our racing with the pensioners on the non-stakes days, Irishing up our coffee and going two across the board on a maiden.

2 Comments

Filed under Baltimore Events, Festivals, Other

House Rules: The Soft Opening

For some people a new year can also mean a new business venture. Whether you’re a national bank or restaurant chain buying up properties in a new market or a little guy opening a humble shop on a main street corner, your first instinct might be to hire a PR firm and an ad agency, build a lot of buzz, excitement and goodwill, and pull out every gimmick in the book from free iPads to air dancers and spotlights to midnight madness doorbusters. We say save it.

The Chop fully endorses and approves of the soft opening.

Baltimore is a city of small businesses and corner places in which you are your reputation, and reputations are still made by word of mouth. People in this town tend to be pretty savvy about what works and what doesn’t, even to the point of passing judgment on certain shops, cafes and bars without ever having been inside.

Word of mouth can make a bar legendary. Worked for this place.

This might seem counter-intuitive, but this is also a town of very few surprises. We’ve been just about every place that’s worth going, and the truth is that we’ve seldom been surprised. If someone says a spot has the absolute best bloody marys, they probably do. If the word on the street is that the service is terrible, you can believe that it is. And if a place gets a reputation as a neighborhood’s best kept secret, you’d be much encouraged to get yourself in there as often as possible.

Granted, in this day and age word of mouth is also word of email. It’s word of tweet and word of status update, as the folks at Cafe Hon are finding out. The bottom line remains the same though, if you’ve got the goods you’ve got a good reputation. You can hire all the PR people and social media strategists you want, but none of them can do for your business what a few good words, honestly spoken from a trusted source will do.

So we say skip the big grand opening, no matter what you’re opening. Don’t bother with the 60% off sales and the double-happy happy hours. Forget about the groupons and ad campaigns and luring critics in the door and all of that nonsense.

Just hang out your shingle, open your doors, and offer your offerings as best you can. Baltimore will do the rest for you.

2 Comments

Filed under House Rules