The Cheltenham Festival is one of the highlights of the racing calendar and of significant importance to all bookmakers. With well over half a billion pounds staked across this four-day event, the festival has a fundamental impact upon the annual financial performance of the industry and its key players. Given its significance, marketing activity is both noisy and competitive with punters overwhelmed with conventional free bet offers with little or no brand distinction being created.
We worked with Agency Space and creative duo Rob Syme and Stu Minshaw, with the ambition to run a different race; one that would mark them out amongst the sea of same bookies and get an online audience talking, sharing and betting with Coral.
The idea was to play with horse-racing tradition and create a tongue in cheek tribute to the actual festival itself. Introducing Coral #CheltenHAM, a content-led festival of micro-pig racing to rival the real thing.
Eight micro-pigs, complete with silks, competing over a specially designed miniature Cheltenham racecourse featuring the famous Cheltenham hill, jumps, spectators area and a winners enclosure.
Races were filmed and edited into a variety of long and short format social films, including shots from a mounted ‘Ham Cam’ and expert racing commentary to create more drama. The resulting films were released at the start of each day’s racing and seeded across Coral’s social channels using the hashtag #CheltenHAM, supported by posts and photo content to build campaign presence. It was made more interactive by offering punters had the chance to win a free bet on the actual festival if they backed the right runner. Twitter was used as the primary social channel, reaching over 7m users, with traditional PR creating broader interest for our micro-pigs with a combined media reach of over 220 million including a prime-time TV slot on the BBC One Show.
This highly disruptive idea brought home the bacon for Coral with #CheltenHAM contributing to a 60% y-o-y increase in total bets staked on the festival, a 95% y-o-y increase in bets placed on mobile and a 478% y-o-y increase in socially referred traffic to the Coral website.
The campaign helped Coral achieve the highest social share of voice (28%) amongst all bookmakers. It also romped home on the creative awards circuit winning over a dozen accolades including an IPM Grand Prix, an MAA Best Award for Effectiveness and four European silver awards.
Coral #CheltenHAM Festival remains one of the most successful ever marketing campaigns in the betting industry and demonstrates, with the power of creativity, that pigs do fly.